Hello everyone! It's been a while since I have posted and just this past week something hit very close to home. The article below happened right across the river from our hunting land in Laurens County. We have killed a few hogs on our own land so this was very scary. My Dad called the Laurens County Department Health Department to confirm this and called our Game Warden we are friends with who said this type of disease 'brucellosis' is all over the state of South Carolina with hogs. I highly recommend you all read it and take the necessary precautions when hog hunting. What are your thoughts?
Man Hospitalized With Illness After Hog Hunting Trip
This past weekend we had a great time at our youth duck hunt give-away! If you?ve seen the home page at all then you know that we hosted a youth duck hunt give-away this season. Youth had to submit essays about why they liked duck hunting & why conservation was important for the sport of water-fowl hunting. By the end of the weekend our 2 winners, Austin Bagwell & Luke Humanik, said that the pain of writing the essays was well worth it.
I should probably back up and say that this hunt wouldn?t have been possible without some extremely generous guys from the watershed hunting club who not only donated their hunting hole, but who also donated their cabin & even cooked 2 meals for the kids and everyone involved. A big kudos and thanks to them as well as WinnTuck who donated some really neat prizes to our winners. We should also thank Darryl & Blake Hodge for coming by and giving some calling demos & pointers to our winners.
Friday afternoon we all arrived to the cabin & hung out overlooking the lake. It was a very relaxed environment. Early in the afternoon Mr. Dale Knight did some work with his dog ?Shine? and it was really neat to watch the dog work. Shine is very trained and disciplined. It?s almost a work of art to see him listen & respond to all the calls and signals. Dale has definitely spent some long hours in training that dog.
After Shine put on his show we started building a fire in front of the cabin. It had been warm, but the temperature was starting to drop. The fire burned from the afternoon and kept it warm as the sun set. During the daylight we could see some ducks swimming around on the pond, but when the sun started to go down the ducks & geese really started coming in. We could hear the mallards just cackling on the water throughout the evening.
As it got dark Dale fired the grill up and started cooking. Some of the other members of the hunting club pitched in and helped cook as well. We had a big time eating and talking smack about duck hunting while we ate. One of our youth winners even brought a pecan pie that made for a great dessert. After we ate we went back outside to hang by the fire & Darryl & Blake Hodge stopped by. They did some calling demos and worked with Austin & Luke on their calling giving them some tips on making certain sounds with mallard, wood duck, & goose calls. I can tell you that Blake has some strong lungs with some of the notes he was holding on his competition calling demo set. Before it was over the guys were taking calls apart & looking at reeds & getting flashlights out to see more clearly than the light of the fire provided. After Blake & Darryl left the boys were practicing calling for a while.
It didn?t take long after that for everyone to wind down and get ready for bed. We would have an early morning & the quicker we went to sleep the quicker we would be in a swamp the next morning. Though, sleeping for some of us wasn?t as easy as we?d planned ;-) Let?s just say that we had multiple lumberjacks in the cabin sawing logs at different rates throughout the night! Eventually 5:30 came and it was time to roll out and get ready.
We all got up and got our gear on and headed to the swamp. It was cold, but not as cold as I thought it would be. We made our way into the swamp and Shine, the duck dog, was really anticipating the hunt. He was fired up and energetic to get out in the swamp (and we were too). I got situated to the right of where the hunters were in hopes of getting some footage & pictures of the hunt as it happened. Dale guided our youth hunters and their fathers deeper into the head of the swamp and got everyone set up in position. It was just a matter of time.
Mallards were already on the water when we arrived. We could hear them cackling as we walked in. For this reason we were as quiet as possible while entering. It was a little overcast and there were clouds in the sky which made it a little darker than normal. Though, as soon as I could barely see we had ducks flying all around us. There were 2 initial groups of ducks that got up and left the pond and then more groups started coming into the pond. I had hoped to get some footage of all this, but it was way too dark to get any of this on camera. The kids started firing shots and no one made a connection.
As it got lighter out the ducks continued to come in. Wood ducks were the majority of the early morning action then mallards & geese got into the mix. At one point one of the hunters hit a bird because we saw feathers come out, but it wasn?t good enough to bring it out of the sky! Shine was just itching to go retrieve something & would get worked up every time Dale started calling. We had a lot of mallards circling us and then they would land just on the other side of the area we were in. I bet there were 50 mallards over there just over a wood line. I watched piles of them come in there from all directions. That?s not to say that our boys didn?t pull the trigger on a few as they circled, but we only had a few come right down the pipe. One wood duck even slipped right down the middle of all of us while we were watching some other ducks circling behind us. It was ?Murphy?s Law? I guess.
Eventually we called it a day and started out of the swamp. As soon as the kids unloaded their guns, you guessed it, another group came circling in. The kids loaded up their guns, but it was too late. Everyone then re-unloaded and headed out. I got the guys to stop on the edge of the swamp for a picture & then we headed out. As we walked along the edge of the swamp we saw those coots out there again and were almost about to let them have it, but decided not to go after them as they were headed the other direction.
We then returned to the cabin for another great breakfast and more hunting stories. Nothing like having a hot breakfast waiting on you as soon as you get off the water. We all sat around for a bit and talked about the morning?s hunt. As we finished eating the youth hunters were back outside practicing their calling. We cleaned up the cabin as much as possible and then we all said our goodbyes.
Even though the youth hunters weren?t able to get any ducks it was still a great overall experience. We met some new friends and shared some great times out by the pond, by the fire, eating some good meals, and in the cabin. Dale & the guys from the watershed hunting club were kind enough to donate their resource to help put this hunt on in hopes of helping to pass on the love of the outdoors & the importance of wildlife conservation to younger generations. Hopefully these youth hunters that won the hunting trip and joined us will continue to value these principles as they grow and become adults. I also encourage you to do the same and find ways to help pass the love of the outdoors on to younger generations.
Thanks again to everyone who helped put this hunt on and to our 2 youth winners Austin & Luke!