As you can see, this past weekend was a full weekend for me. By the time Sunday got here I was dragging pretty good. Though, we still had some work to do. We returned back out to the remote food plot to put down some lime.
To recap a little in case you are unaware of what?s going on? We are about mid-way through our Tecomate Seed online ?Food Plot Journey?. Tecomate Seed and GroundHog MAX are sponsoring this online documentary. The blog series consists of a yearlong blog where we take someone who is totally clueless about food plots (me) and document an installation of a food plot. To this point we have collected our soil samples, had the readouts returned, cleared the land, and disked it up with the GroundHog MAX. It is now ready to be limed.
As a web developer, I started out totally uninformed about this whole process, but I have been learning a little. It turns out that the soil preparation step of the food plot creation process is a critical step in the journey. For a remote food plot, installation and soil preparation can be labor intensive. We took soil samples back in January and sent them off to the Clemson Agricultural extension. One of our locations came back with a pH of 7.0 because it had been prepped last year. So with that one area, we are right on track. Though, with other areas we are not as on target. The pH in this specific location for this blog entry ended up being 5.2. This is not a terrible pH, but the closer we can get the pH to 7.0, the more fertile the environment will be for our food plot products.
This is where lime comes in. Lime helps reduce the acidity in the soil. So if you have a low pH, then you?ll need to add some lime to raise the pH level. How much lime should you add? The result returned to you by the agricultural extension has the recommendations of lime and other minerals you may need. Keep in mind that lime needs some time to go to work in the soil. It?s not like you just put out lime and overnight the pH in the soil is adjusted. Successfully changing the pH in the soil is comparable to making a u-turn in the Titanic?it?s not going to be quickly done. It may even take us putting the lime out a few times over a few seasons to get the pH to reach our goal of 7.0. In our specific case with this location, we are actually somewhat late in putting the lime out. Many factors contribute to our lateness such as me being slack, a long cold and snowy winter, wedding planning, etc. So because of our timing, we have kind of put ourselves in a tight spot with regards to giving the lime time to go to work.
Lime is fairly cheap. We got our lime from Lowes and it was pelletized lime. Initially in my mind I had pictured lime being a grayish powder. I?m not really sure why, but I had this image in my mind. The pelletized lime we got was actually darker in color and it had a unique smell to it. It didn?t smell bad, but it was unlike anything I?ve smelled before. I think you can actually get the powder looking kind, or pelletized like we got, or even liquid lime. I believe I?m accurate in that?if not, just respond to this blog and let me know.
Actually dispersing this lime was a quick and easy task in comparison to clearing out the land and running the GroundHog MAX over the dirt. We had a spreader attachment that we hooked up to the 4-wheeler and all we had to do was drive. The spreader had a gap in the bottom of it where the operator can control the rate at which the seed was dispersed. Essentially, if you left a big gap in the bottom, then more seed would come out and if you adjust the gap to be narrower, then less seed would hit the spinning metal piece below and get spread in the area.
This whole process only took about 20 minutes to do. I think it took us just as long to unload and get everything out there as it did to actually spread the lime. I will also add that when we got out to the remote food plot area, we saw a lot of deer tracks in the mud where we had previously cleared the land. It had to be recent due to all the rain that we?ve been having. Either way, I believe the deer are a little curious as to what is going on out in the middle of the woods. Hopefully they?ll walk back through there next deer season and stop in order to eat some Tecomate Seed food plot product! Though, we have to get something to grow in there first! While riding the 4-wheeler, I stopped and took a picture of one of the freshest deer tracks. I wish I would have put a quarter down beside the track in order to give you some perception of how big it was in comparison to the relative size of the quarter. I?ll just tell you that it was a good sized track.
So now that the lime is down, the next step will be to actually spread the seed. The goal is to spread the seed after the last frost of the winter. This is usually around the end of April to early May. So in a month or so, we will return to spread the seed. We will also take another soil sample in the fall to see where our pH levels are and to get lime and fertilizer recommendations for our fall food plots.
One of my Christmas gifts was a gift certificate for a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee River with fishing guide Robbie Burr of Pee Dee Fishing Adventures. I was excited to get this gift, but had never really heard much about catfish on the Pee Dee River. I mean I knew the river had some catfish, but we always go down to Santee to fish for catfish in the summer. I guess catfishin? the Santee is kind of an embedded mindset when I think of going catfishin?. I was eager to see how a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee would pan out.
If you?ve read these blogs, then you know my schedule has been kind of hectic lately as the wedding draws near and as a lot of time is going in to our ?Food Plot Journey?. For these reasons, it was difficult for me to actually schedule this trip. Robbie is in high demand and finding a time when I could break free and go proved to be difficult. This year?s reoccurring snow and cold weather also made scheduling this trip easier said than done. However, we finally got a date that we both had open and I booked the trip and prayed for a day with decent weather.
The crew that I rounded up for the trip was Richard ?Big B? Blakeney, Coach Mangum, Jason Fararooei and me. Both Big B and Coach Mangum are well educated on catfishin?, but Jason (The WeHuntSC.com videographer) had never been before. We all wanted to see how Jason handled his first catfish and the overall trip in general. For a non-southerner, he did pretty well. Though, Jason did manage to fall asleep one time when we were moving the boat. Since he fell asleep, I got some good video of exactly how strong the gel in his hair is! Lol! Also, you?ll see Big B imitating Pageland?s very own ?Smiley? in the video as he was wearing a toboggan and a hat. You have to be from Pageland or have ridden through Pageland at some point to understand that one. So this was the crew that you?ll see in the video later in this entry.
Ultimately, the weather turned out perfect. We met Robbie at a boat landing at 8 in the morning and got everything together and headed out. We would end up fishing in two different locations?one shallow water spot that didn?t have much current and then another location that was deeper that did have a stronger current.
I was surprised at how clean, quiet, and scenic the river was. We put in at a small landing and slipped quietly through an access creek that met the river and within 5 minutes we were out in the open water. We almost had to stop in the creek a few times because Big B kept saying he swore there were some bream in the creek, but somehow we convinced him to continue on to bigger waters! It?s just hard for Big B to pass up stopping and trying to find a bream bed. Being out on the water, we almost felt like we were in unchartered territories because hardly any other boats were on the water and it was quiet and calm for the most part. If you?re use to going to Santee and having to wait at the ramp to put in, use to seeing a lot of boats out on the water, and generally having the feeling that you?re competing with a lot of other fishermen, you should consider the Pee Dee sometime. There was no feeling of the area being crowded with other fishermen and/or boats ?at least the area we were gave me this feeling. It was almost as If we had the whole river to ourselves. This was a unique feeling that added to the overall quality of the trip.
Robbie was a great guide and from talking to him and watching him operate his rig, it didn?t take long to figure out that this wasn?t his first rodeo. Robbie handled all the setup of the rods, reels, anchoring, etc. He took care of the whole nine yards. Of course we helped him with anything that we could?we weren?t going let him do all the work. He knows exactly what needs to be done and was on top of things all day long. Robbie has his boat customized for catfishin?. That is, he cut out some sections and made it easier to move freely across the boat + he?s got a jet engine on the boat which allows the boat to get into extra shallow water (if need be).
Throughout the day we caught a couple of fish at each location we that we fished. The catfish seemed to be more active in the morning than they were in the afternoon. We were bottom fishing with shad as our bait. We would move around to different locations and drop 3 anchors so that we wouldn?t spin around when the wind blew. We had about 8 rods out of each side of the boat at any given time and we were just watching the tips of them waiting on one to take a quick surge downward.
One neat trick that I learned on this trip was something Robbie called a ?cheater hook?. Robbie ties a treble hook onto the larger circle hook and lets it hang about 3 inches below. When he puts bait on the hook, he?ll put the larger circle hook into the ?meatiest? part of the bait and then hook the ?cheater hook? a few inches into the opposite end of the bait. This way if a catfish pecks at the big hook, but misses, you still have a chance at landing him on the smaller treble/cheater hook. You?ll see in the video where Jason (whom I?m calling terror-squad in the video) caught a fish on this ?cheater hook? and you?ll hear us talking about it when I say ?it paid off this time?. Throughout the day we caught about 14 fish and I think about 4 of them were on the ?cheater hook??so I?m glad that Robbie had our rig set up this way. While this may be a common practice for many, I?ve never used a set up like this. I guess we live and learn right! Though, if you aren?t using this rig, I suggest you give it a try sometime and see if it doesn?t pay off.
Over the course of the day we caught a lot of fish and I?ve got some of those catches meshed below in the video to give you a feel for what was going on. At the end of the day was when Big B reeled in the biggest catch of the day... a 19lb cat while we were anchored up in the middle of the larger body of water. While a 19lb cat was pretty big to me, Robbie says that they frequently get them way bigger on the river.
Overall the trip was great and Robbie really took good care of us. I think he even laughed at some of my corny jokes so you know he can handle just about anybody on a boat. We fished, talked, solved some of the world?s problems, learned some things about catfishin?, ate a high class ham sandwich & lance cracker lunch, and had a great time!
If you want to know more about Robbie Burr?s guide service and Pee Dee Fishing Adventures check him out at www.pdfishingadventures.com. Not only will he put you on some fish?he?ll even clean them for you too! Now that?s my kind of guide.
At the end of this video, I?ve got a short clip of the catfish being cleaned so if you are squeamish then you may want to click stop!
Bud and Betty Game Calls Exhibit
Today Will and I road down to Columbia to check out this year?s Palmetto Sportsmen?s Classic. As soon as we pulled up it was obvious that a good crowd was already on hand. The parking lot was crowded at around 3:30 in the afternoon.
Will and I asked the first few Game Wardens if they knew Charlie Caldwell and? of course they did. So far in my life, no matter where I?ve been in South Carolina? it never fails... If you ask a game warden anywhere around the state if they know Charlie Caldwell, the answer is always yes! What can you say, Pageland people leave their mark. We looked for the bald one around the event, but were unable to spot him. Since we couldn?t find Charlie C to entertain us, we decided that we might as well walk around and check the event out.
I was impressed with how well the event was laid out and also with the sheer amount of vendors that were on hand. I know this was not a national trade show, but for South Carolina it was more than I expected! There were literally hundreds of vendors, displays, attractions, and people to see at this event. Anything you could imagine in the realm of products from tree stands, 4-wheelers, game-cams, feeders, turkey calls, fishing lures, decals, T-Shirts, hunting guides, raffles, food, cooking spices, fishing guides, archery contests, real estate brokers, antler decorations etc?they were all there. Any new products that are being featured were there and the place was as busy as a bee?s hive. Today was Friday and so I imagine that Saturday will be even busier.
If you like to see neat items or any neat concepts involved with hunting and/or fishing, then it?s definitely an event that you would want to attend. Hoot, I must say that I did not see any rabbit exhibits, but I was unable to really focus on all of the displays because it was such a busy place. While at the event, we were both inside and outside looking at a smorgasbord of exhibits that would get the attention of any hunter.
If you?ve ever been to any event similar to this or attended something of this ?expo? like atmosphere, you probably left with knowledge of many new or trending items, but there were just a few that really stuck out to you. Well the same was true for our trip today. I will say though that not only did these items stand out, but even more so the people behind the booths were memorable. Maybe it?s just me, but when I meet someone (in any setting) and get a real genuine vibe from them, I usually connect with them in a different way, like on a more real level. There were tons of salesmen pushing all kinds of products, so what could make some stand out more than the others? I guess if I had the answer for that question then I would have a money-maker on my hands! Though, the ones who stood out to me today were a few different vendors all based out of SC. I can tell you that all 3 of these organizations are not only passionate about what they do/produce/sell, but they were easy to talk to and came across to me as good, down to earth, genuine people. The vendors I left impressed with were Cornell Huntin Products out of Honea Path, Bud & Betty Hunting Calls out of Pauline, and the Target Taxi out of Little River.
Cornell Huntin Products had a product that really struck Will?s fancy. It is called the ?HuntPac? and is a very light, padded, chair that you can carry in on your back to sit on when hunting. Frequently Will complains about his seating arrangement in his ground blind and ?they had him from hello? with this product. It can support a very high weight capacity, is light, and almost perfect for getting you up off the ground enough to easily shoot in a ground blind. The crew from Cornell Huntin Products was very cordial and really easy to talk to. I encourage you to give their product a look. More on them at www.cornellhuntinproducts.com
See the below video of the ?HuntPac? demo
Bud & Betty Hunting Calls sells a lot of differing products, but turkey calls seems to be their specialty. The creator of the turkey calls is a National Wildlife Turkey Champion Hunting Call manufacturer. I didn?t know that we had such prestige and recognizable people here in the state! I guess I don?t get out enough. Anyway, Russell and Kathy were nice people and if you?re into turkey calls I would give them a look. Find more information on them and their products at www.BudAndBetty.com
Another vendor who made an impression on me was Jason Bellamy from Target Taxi. What is a Target Taxi you might ask? well it is the invention that you see and immediately say to yourself ?Why didn?t I think of that?? (Does that ever happen to you too?) The Target Taxi is a essentially a remote control car on wheels that you strap your decoys too and you drive it out, shoot your arrows or bullets at the target, then drive it back to see where you hit the target and remove your arrows. You can see from the below video how this thing operated. Not only was the product a neat one that stuck out to me, but Jason was a really nice guy! More on this product at www.target-taxi.com
See the below video of the Target Taxi in action
So all in all the SC Sportsmen?s Classic was a neat event to see. I am glad that I took that half-day off work to be able to make it down. We met a lot of people, saw some neat things, gave a few stickers out, and started forming some good relationships with people in the industry. We even had some people say ?Yeah I?ve seen your sticker somewhere before? which made me proud!
Here's the wrap-up video with a collage of what all was going on
If you have some free time this weekend you should check out the Palmetto Sportsmen?s Classic. The event is held this coming weekend (March 26, 27, & 28, 2010) at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia. Frank Addington Jr (The Aspirin Buster) will be on hand with his bow at the archery show. See information on Frank Addington Jr and more attractions
The Sportsmen?s Classic will host over 300 exhibitors with products and the latest technology in:
Admission for this event is free for children 10 and under, $6 for ages 10 ? 59, and $5 for ages 60 and up. See the list of exhibitors that will be on hand at the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic
Hopefully we?ll see you there at some point this weekend!
While Hoot is somewhere drying the tears from his eyes after the ending of rabbit season, a lot of turkey hunters around the state are getting prepared for a hopeful turkey season. The WeHuntSC.com crew is in that same boat. In between food plot work, getting the Hunter?s Night Out lined up, and the joys of wedding planning ?we?re trying to get everything lined up to go turkey hunting as much as possible. Our main man Lee Harrelson is getting ready and the WeHuntSC.com duck hunter, J-Duck, may even make some guest cameos on a blog or two (or at least hold a camera somewhere). At this point in my life, I?ve never actually been turkey hunting, but I believe I?m going to give it a shot this season and see how it goes. Adam and I recently had a conversation at the Sportsman?s Incorporated in Rock Hill, SC with a gentleman about turkey hunting and the guy told me that turkey hunting is addictive and even worse than ?Buck Fever?. I?m going to try to test his theory at some point during the next month. It would be neat to see one strut his stuff across a field or in some pines. We?ve got some things lined up for this turkey season and we hope to post blogs about everything soon. Remember, If you?re entering a bird in the turkey contest be sure to have the date written on a piece of paper in the picture or you won?t qualify! Don?t forget your cameras? Regards, Clint
The WeHuntSC.com team headed back out to do some more work on a remote food plot that we?re installing as part of our Food Plot Journey. It has finally started warming back up in our neck of the woods and I?m glad it has. In between wedding showers, parties, the weekends of honey-do?s + flower/tuxedo/ring/invitation/ selections, birthday celebrations, and all the recent snow, getting a weekend to work has been some slim pickings. With all of the business, it was good to get out and do some work and try to be productive again.
As part of our Food Plot Journey, we are planting several food plots for the upcoming deer season. Most of these food plots are located in fields that tractors can easily access. With this easy tractor access to the food plot areas, it?s not hard to plow the dirt up, spread lime, or get the seed out. Though, with a remote food plot, we specifically place smaller food plots in thicker, denser areas where tractors could never reach. Just to get to these locations is difficult sometimes. For this particular food plot, we had to cross a creek, a few mud holes, and ride through the woods for a good ways just to reach the stand location. As you are probably aware, deer like cover and so placing food plots deep in the woods is just fine by them. In some ways we are taking a food source to them instead of trying to get them to come to our food source.
Taking the food source to the deer incurs a little work on the hunter?s part though. I guess there are some prices to pay in order install a food plot back deep in the woods. Though, the prices you pay mostly come at the expense of your physical labor. Some areas are more open and naturally lend themselves to having a food plot installed in their locations whereas other areas may require a little more work. In our case, this area required some work. We spent a total of three days working on this remote food plot. This area is situated in some planted pines where a lumber crew had previously come in and thinned out the pines a few years back. The part that took the longest was cutting down the volunteer saplings that had taken up where the pines use to be. We cut these down and eventually had to get their root systems out as well because the pointed stubs in the ground are prime suspects for puncturing the tires of a 4-wheeler. Rakes, axes, bush-axes, sheers, clippers, shovels, chainsaws, you name it we used them all. Over the course of working out there I caught poison ivy once, dulled a chainsaw blade twice, and had several blisters on my hands. I think Will may have pulled an ab when he bent over once as well! Though, I guess typing on a computer every day at work doesn?t really prepare my hands for this kind of labor either! All in all, we had to put in some hours of work to get ground ready to be disked and I?m not sure if we could have done it without Sam Mungo in the previous week.
Since we had cleared the ground, it was time for Adam to come in with the GroundHog MAX and throw some dirt around. As we?ve mentioned before, the GroundHog MAX is an attachment (not a pull behind) that attaches directly beneath an ATV. People have asked me ?How well does that thing really work? (with an emphasis on the word ?REALLLY?) and after today, I can confidently tell you that it works very well. You?ll see the video of it in action below.
The area where we are installing this food plot has some thick clay beneath the surface and I was interested to see how the GroundHog MAX would handle the clay land. Another note that I mentioned in the video and will mention here is that Adam?s 4-wheeler is a 2-wheel drive. The GroundHog MAX would probably do even better with a 4-wheel drive, but regardless we were still able to get the job done with the 2-wheel drive ATV. We ran the GroundHog MAX lightly for a good while to get the top-soil broken up some and then later we dropped it down lower to get more traction with the soil. As you?ll see in the below video, we were able to get the dirt turned up well, plenty well enough to get some seed in the ground.
Apologies... for some reason I was shouting into the Flip Video Recorder - I'll try not to shout at you in future videos
With the ground now disked up and soil overturned, we are now ready to come back in and put some lime down. (NOTE: We know the ratio of pounds per acre of lime to put down based off the soil sample result that we previously had returned to us from our local Clemson agricultural extension.) Due to the snow and the aforementioned factors of a busy life, we are probably a little late getting the lime down as the soil sample reports indicated that the lime needs to be in place 3 ? 6 months before planting. Lime needs time to work and in this case of our remote food plot, we?re a little late getting it down. The pH in this specific location is 5.4 and (as previously mentioned in the soil sample blog) we are shooting for a pH of 7. Thus, we need to get some lime down and some fertilizer in hopes of getting the soil as close to 7 as possible. We may not get it to 7 quickly, but as we keep working this food plot the pH will get closer and closer to 7 every time we put down more lime. So, this will be a work in progress and a continued learning experience. Thanks to the guys for coming out and helping get this accomplished.
Next up will be a blog entry about putting some lime down. I continue to learn more about food plot installation, management, and Mother Nature in general. This time I also learned a little more about the GroundHog MAX.
*** Be sure to check out our Hunter?s Night Out that will take place on May 1st, 2010 where the inventor of the GroundHog MAX will be on hand speaking along with representatives from Tecomate Seed & QDMA.
Join us for our Hunter's Night Out
WeHuntSC.com is excited to host the WeHuntSC.com Hunter?s Night Out which will take place on Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at First Baptist Church Fellowship hall in Pageland, South Carolina. We received a lot of feedback from the ?Food Plot Journey? with people wanting to know more so we?ve asked the organizations involved with the Food Plot Journey to come and present and they?ve all agreed! The subject matters for the evening will be food plot creation + maintenance and game management. So if you?re interested in food plots or quality deer management, then round up your hunting buddies and come on out and join us. The event is free! The event will start at 5:30 and will last around 1.5 hours given the # of questions that get asked. We will also have some food and drinks afterwards for anyone interested. Featured Speakers Background: Keith Frachiseur ? Keith is the inventor of the a new concept in ATV plows..., his very own GroundHog MAX ATV plow. Keith is from Georgia and is an avid hunter. Keith invented the GroundHog MAX ATV plow while thinking of creative ways to get food plots in those remote places where the big bucks hide out. The GroundHog MAX ATV plow is owned by Monroe Tufline. Keith is also knowledgeable about tractors & tractor parts. QDMA Representative ? The QDMA representative will discuss the following:
Mike Lee ? Mike is the Southeast Territory Manager for Tecomate Seed and hails from Alabama. Mike is very knowledgeable about all things food plots! Mike has years of experience planting food plots of all types and has an in depth understanding of how it all works.
Event Summary Event: Hunters Night Out Location: First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, Pageland SC ? Google Map to Location Time: 5:30 Cost: Free Featured Speakers: Mike Lee (Tecomate Seed), Keith Frachiseur (GroundHog MAX), & a QDMA representative Subjects Covered: Food Plot Creation + Game Management Event Contact: Adam Smith (Adam.Smith@WeHuntSC.com)
If you plan on attending the event, please submit the form on the Hunter's Night Out page so we can get a head count on the # of people so that we can have the correct amount of food on hand! - Tell Us You're Coming Here
The WeHuntSC.com team is excited to announce that Thermacell is sponsoring this year?s ?Turkey Video Hunt of the Year Competition?. If you hunt turkeys in South Carolina and don?t know about Thermacell, then you need to be introduced? that is unless you just like to get bitten by mosquitoes. Thermacells are a must have to hunt in any warm weather period of the year. We use them during turkey season and early parts of deer season.
This year Thermacell is releasing a new product called the Thermacell lantern which is what the competition will get along with a thermacell! Here is an excerpt from Thermacell?s web site about their newly released lantern:
The Outdoor Lantern has many updated features: eight LEDs offer twice as much light as earlier ThermaCELL models; the easy-grip handle makes the lantern easy to carry or hang, and the lantern weight, at under a pound, makes transport a breeze. In addition, the lantern and mosquito repellent can be used separately or together. ?We have created a more rugged lantern for outdoor enthusiasts who want a portable, light-weight solution to mosquitoes. By offering customers a dual function lantern that has a highly effective repellent as well as illumination options, we are making outdoor activities safer and more enjoyable,? said Bill Schawbel, president of The Schawbel Corporation. The ThermaCELL Outdoor Lantern operates on a single butane cartridge, which heats a mat releasing allethrin, a synthetic copy of a natural insecticide found in pyrethrum flowers, creating a 15 x 15 foot comfort zone. Each repellent mat provides up to four hours of protection and each butane cartridge provides up to 12 hours of operation. The new ThermaCELL Outdoor Lantern features:
Eight LED lights, with two illumination settings
Twice as much light as previous ThermaCELL lanterns
Up to 98% protection from mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums
15 x 15 foot comfort zone
Easy grip handle
Rugged outdoor structure
Lightweight - 13oz
Mosquito repellent operates on a single butane cartridge
Light operates on four AA batteries (not included)
Available February 2010
If you follow the site, then you know that Thermacell has been with us since day one and we?re happy that they are sponsoring this year?s Turkey Video Competition. To learn more about Thermacell, just jump on over to their web site at www.mosquitorepellent.com.
We are excited to announce that GearFrenzy has partnered with us to sponsor this year?s ?Turkey of the Year Competition?! GearFrenzy is an up and coming online marketplace for all things hunting gear. GearFrenzy has a lot of video from some of the outdoor pros on their site and they specifically talk about the products they use within the site. If you haven?t checked out their site, you should give it a look at www.GearFrenzy.com An excerpt from the GearFrenzy web page:
At Gear Frenzy, we believe choosing the right gear shouldn?t be hard, but with so many options, it can be difficult to know exactly what to buy!
To help you get ready for your next trip, we are teaming up with the best hunters in the industry, bringing you expert advice straight from the people you know and trust. Not only can you see the gear they use, but you can also see firsthand how and why they use it. It?s an experience like no other.
Get invited into Michael Waddell?s hunting shed, sit in the stand next to Tiffany Lakosky and do laundry with Mark Kayser! These are just some of the experiences you will have while at Gear Frenzy. And the best thing about it? We are just getting started!
So now that you know a little bit about them, feel free buy products from their web site and tell them that WeHuntSC.com sent you!