SCDNR would probably have wished for a little nicer weather but my son, Riley, and I didn't let the rain put a damper on our time at the 27th Annual Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic. If you're like me these events are an adrenaline rush. I guess it's just being surrounded by things that get me fired up and this year the rain couldn't put out the fire on this event.
As noted earlier, I had Riley with me so I didn't have too much of a plan for how we would explore the event. He is 4yrs old, so I figured we would play it by ear. Just a few minutes into our journey through the vendors we came up on a pop gun that Riley had to have. I thought this was a good idea because it would keep him occupied. Well, after a few pops from this thing I was searching the vendors for a silencer! He was in heaven, so I didn't stop the popping, although we got some evil looks. Riley made sure he gave those evil eye lookers an extra pop. Oh boy!
As we made our way down the isles of vendors, I had my eyes peeled for products that not only caught my eye but ones that would make me a more efficient hunter. A few of these that I noted were as follows:
McNett Camo Form
This protective camouflage wrap caught my eye as I am always looking for ways to conceal my gun, camera, and stand. This is a stretch fabric wrap that reminded me of an ankle wrap or ace bandage. It is not tape so it doesn't leave a residue and it can be reused. I found this product at the Shooter's Choice of West Columbia stand and after the gentleman with them wrapped my arm with it I was sold.
If you've ever hunted on the ground you know that the ground is not so forgiving. Well, when I sat in the Hammock Seat I was ready for a nap. This thing was very comfortable and swiveled to allow a shot at any angle. I've killed a couple deer from the ground and I wish I would've had this seat then.
As I stopped to take a picture with Riley and a wild boar, I caught a whiff of a deer scent that put me in search mode. Man this stuff was strong. I finally found the source and it was a scent called Buck Smoke. It was a wax looking substance contained in what looked like a shoe polish container. I was intrigued because this was a no liquid and therefore no mess scent. This scent was being sold at the Big E Outfitters stand. They had some amazing animals displayed at their stand.
Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag
Scent control is a must in the deer woods and I am definitely going to try this bag out this coming season. I often find myself searching on the way to the stand for some pine or cedar to rub on my clothes before a hunt. That is definitely not an efficient way to control my scent. For me this bag is going to make it much more easy to seal my clothes up and control my scent before a hunt. Definitely a must have for me. The Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag vendor stand also was displaying the Jake Intimidator and Crossover Camo. A dangerous looking combination.
Gator hunting has been the new rage in South Carolina the past couple years and this vendor caught my eye with the gator skull mount sitting ready to chomp. Not that talking gators could get any better but they also were displaying custom truck seat covers. This was a pretty neat looking set up that I'll have to check out this coming gator season.
A couple other vendors that caught my eye were Pin Oak Taxidermy with the Camo Skulls and Hunter's Comfort with the Rack Shack hunting houses. I was also impressed with the versatility of the Hunt Pac and the guarantee made by the X-Factor crew on their bow sound and vibration dampeners. Riley got a picture with Brad Hoover of the Carolina Panthers at the Buck Yum stand. I also picked up a Winn Tuck t-shirt and hat. Winn Tuck had a really neat set up as you will see in my video. I am also a sucker for things that are handcrafted. A couple that stood out were the longbows made by Saluda River Bows (Doug Warren (803) 924-4285) and the kayaks made by Pledger's Craft. These looked like works of art made for the great outdoors.
Overall, we had a great time. We closed the day with some cotton candy and a few more pops from the pop gun. Did anyone else get out in the rain and check out the Classic? Check out the recap video below.
As hunters we?re always looking for new products, ideas, concepts, and gear. I guess it?s just our nature to want to know what the ?next best thing? is or to be able to see trends just around the corner because we want to better ourselves and be well rounded outdoorsmen. Having a lot of hunters on one site allows us to learn from each other and to share information. Through information sharing we make the most out of our time in the field. And on the information side of things?I?ve got some info on a new camo that is just coming out that I would like to share with you in case you like to try out new products.
CrossOver Camo is a new camo that has a really neat pattern that I think will mesh well in some of the outdoor backdrops of South Carolina. CrossOver Camo is a Christian based organization that aims to take the Gospel around the world and share in its fellowship. CrossOver Camo is based out of Delaware and is already making a splash in the outdoor industry.
CrossOver Camo?s pattern is based off a design called ?Reactive? Camo. I took a quote off their web site to explain a little bit about their ?Reactive Camo? pattern? ?Hunters know nothing hides like a deer. The deer?s hair absorbs and reflects light to aid in their ability to blend so well in the environment. Our New Reactive ®Camo pattern evolved from two and a half years of research and field testing. Designed utilizing five different deer hides which provide various colors, sizes and patterns, enabling you to be disguised in the environment like never before, getting close and staying undetected.? One neat thing that I like about the camo is that the cross is integrated into the pattern. Also, the pattern has some dark, vertical lines in it that are similar to the lines in the bark of a pine tree.
I've been checking out CrossOver Camo for a little while and have been testing it to see how it blends in with a couple different backdrops here in SC and its done well. I?m going to wear it turkey hunting this spring and see how it goes and will try to keep you posted via future blog entries. You can decide for yourself after you see the below video.
If you?re interested in seeing the pattern up close for yourself then you can find it this coming weekend at the Palmetto Sportsman?s Classic in Columbia at the McKenzie Scent Fan Bag booth. Be sure to stop by and check it out. If you?re not going to the classic then check out CrossOver Camo?s web site at www.CrossoverCamo.com.
Most of you probably think about turkey season, green grass, and fishing as the winter turns to spring. I think about Poison Ivy! I was reminded of it this past weekend as my son and I walked through the woods behind my house.
As Riley and I cruised through the mature oak hollow I soon realized that we had managed to walk into a maze of tiny red leaflets. This new growth seemed to pop from the earth and surround us just for spite. I picked up Riley and he got a free ride out of the woods. The bad part was that there was nothing free about my journey through this maze of poisonous plants. You?ve probably heard others say, ?If I look at poison ivy I get it?. Well, that saying seems to apply to me. You would think that after years of dousing calamine on my skin I would learn, but it seems that this pesky plant always gets the best of me.
After maneuvering through the woods I thought it would be a good time to teach Riley about poison ivy. The one thing my Dad always told me that seemed to stick was, ?Leaves of three, Let it be?. Others that I?ve heard are, ?One, Two, Three, Don?t touch me?, and ?Red leaflets in the spring, it?s a dangerous thing?. These mnemonics are a neat way to teach kids about the outdoors.
As we enter springtime and make plans to chase turkeys through the countryside these plants are often hidden and harder to spot. Check out the video below and see how it's hard to see in early spring. These are the times that it usually gets me. I?m pretty conscious of it in the late spring and summer when the leaves are broad and green and cover the edges of the timber, but I often forget about the early spring when it's hard to see. Believe me when I tell you it's not any less potent in early spring. I?ve found that washing the areas of the skin that have contacted the plant as soon as possible helps. One tip would be to make sure you take off your watch when washing your arms. I have made the mistake of not doing this in the past and paid the price. I haven?t really found a cost effective remedy as I?d almost rather go to the doctor to get rid of it.
Does anyone have a good remedy to share?
How does this pesky plant affect your hunts? I have buddies that get on me about how aware I am of it. They seem to be able to sit in the middle of it with no consequence. I have learned to respect it on the other hand.
SCDNR has some good info on poison ivy. A couple tidbits I picked up from reading their website is that only 70% of the U.S. population is allergic to poison ivy. That means that 30% of the population is very very lucky. Also, I didn't realize that poison ivy produces a fruit that is popular with wildllife. Maybe it is not so bad after all. Scratch that last statement. Caution - Poison Ivy is bad!
Never would I of thought that staying up late at night and sometimes early into the next morning chasing dogs through the woods would be any fun, but it was surprising how much it appealed to me. One night last week after baseball practice I got a call from some good friends of mine named Sam and
After about a 45 minute ride to Buck Horn Hunting Club in Summerville South Carolina, we finally turned the dogs loose. As soon as we turned the dogs out of the box they began to scan the hardwood bottom for any fresh coon tracks that were nearby. We just sat back and enjoyed the crisp breeze and gazed at all the stars while we waited for the dogs to locate some tracks and/or coons. Coon hunting was very relaxing, that is, until the dogs trailed and treed a coon. Daniel and Sam could pinpoint their dogs and tell me exactly
An old oak stump looked like a good hiding spot for a big bass waiting on an easy meal on this brisk day. It looked so good that the three of us fishing threw to it time after time. After about twenty casts to the stump one more wouldn't hurt would it? Absolutely not! My black shad Culprit worm sailed through the March wind like an eagle diving down to catch a summer trout. It landed softly on the bank padded by a layer of oak leaves. One twitch and it slivered into the cold water. At that instant a swirl of the water signaled that this Culprit was in trouble. A couple more twitches and then a sudden thump. An easy pull on the rod to get the slack out and then I dropped the hammer. No doubt that this was going to be one to talk about.
I'll pause the story for a split second to give you some insight on why this was going to be an even better fight. We were fishing in kayaks! If you've never done this I would definitely give it a try. It takes a little while to get used to it but once you do it is a blast. When you're on the water it almost feels like you're floating. Imagine sitting at water level with an eight pound bass tail-walking across the water and pulling you around like an Alaskan tugboat. Good Stuff!
Back to the story. I set the hook and the fight was on. I recall Eric saying "Man what do you have?" I just knew it was big. Back and forth like Ali and Frazer we went. Eric eased his kayak over to stabilize mine. After what seemed an eternity the bass surfaced and I lipped it with the quickness. As I pulled the bass up the hook fell out. Talk about just in the nick of time. Did I mention that this was the second lunker of the day!?
Although the day was slow it was definitely productive. We caught three nice fish. Eric and I caught eight pounders and Eric's nephew, Alan, caught a four pounder. The water was a little stained from the recent rains so black seemed to be the most productive color. Eric was fishing a texas rig black Zoom Finesse worm and I was fishing a black shad Culprit with a shaky head jig. As noted in the story the fish were on the bank but you had to be patient. We would hit a spot over and over. I'd say it worked out. Check out the video. Who else enjoys hooking big bass?
When I was growing up I went fishing and hunting a lot with many different people. Jason Love was one of my good friends who I spent a lot of time with out on the water and in the woods and this past weekend we made a ?throwback? fishing trip out on the Wateree. We looked forward to catching up and hanging out and thought that maybe we?d catch some fish as well.
This trip with Jason was different from the ones of the past because we weren?t borrowing Mr. JE?s boat, the paddles had been traded in for motors (one of the front and one on the back), the rods, reels, and tackle seemed more abundant than it was back in the day! It soon became obvious that Jason?s knowledge and fishing intuition had gotten better as well. Oh and we both were just a few pounds heavier, but nevertheless just as good looking even though our hair is now racing toward our necks! We were going to have a good day whether a fish bit or not. I wasn?t prepared for what would happen shortly after we got anchored.
We headed out to Lake Wateree and got there before daylight. Of course we started the morning off right with a Bojangles biscuit and we were set to go. We got the boat in the water and then went and caught some ?Gizzard shad? with a throw net. Mixed in with the shad was the occasional crappie, one of which was pretty nice size. We got a good number of these small fish in the boat, put them in a zip lock bag, and used them as bait for the rest of the day.
After we caught the bait we headed out to deeper water. Jason really had a good feel for the lake and the depth finder helped us navigate the lake and see the topography of the bottom of the lake. It also showed us where some fish were too! There was a storm front moving into the area and the wind was blowing really badly. We put an anchor off the front side of the boat and one off the back end and got stabilized. Jason cut some bait up and one by one he cast 6 rods out and placed them in rod holders along the edges of the boat. I was sitting in the back and Jason was in the front. We had anchored in about 18 feet of water along a slope leading into the river channel. Off the front side of the boat was deeper water?about 25 feet deep? and off the back it was about 13 feet deep. We had hoped to fish in both shallow and deep water and find some fish moving in one of the two areas.
We finally got situated and were sitting in the chairs just waiting. I started asking Jason questions about random things and I imagined we would be sitting there for a while so I was ready to talk about life and solve all the world?s problems. I imagine you may have solved a few while out on the water as well. I didn?t even get to start on a conversation good when the rod to my right almost doubled over under the boat. The ?Ugly Stick? took a very quick dive down as something on the other end had smashed it and was pulling very hard. Jason immediately jumped up and said ?Big fish Clint, big fish.? I grabbed the rod out of the holder and started reeling. No I didn?t set the hook because that?s not how we do it catfishing. I got him on?then I set the hook and I started pulling. The fish made several ?power surges? towards the bottom. Jason was over my shoulder coaching me through it the whole way ?Keep the line tight? keep tension on him? you got him?! I sat down so that I could dig the pole into my hip and use it for leverage. The fish made another surge downward and my wrist felt the pressure. I had to ?choke up? on the rod just like you ?choke up? on a bat in little league. I had to get better leverage on whatever was pulling so hard on the line. We had a battle for what seemed like forever, but it was probably only a couple of minutes. I was hoping to land that rascal because I?ve caught fish before, but nothing this big.
Eventually the fish got tired and I brought him to the top?he was huge! Jason had the net and was trying to net him and missed on the first pass. Initially I wasn?t sure if the net was big enough, but it was and Jason scooped the fish up on the second pass and got him in the boat! I just smiled and let a big sigh of relief. I had just boated the biggest fish of my life and we hadn?t even been out there anchored more than 15 minutes. So we broke out the cameras and video and took some pics and then weighed the fish. He wouldn?t hold still at first to get an accurate weight, but after he settled down he was 30.6 lbs and was hard to hold. After we weighed him we threw him back! Yes, we threw it back? (Don?t tell Big Richard or he?ll be mad at me). We weren?t keeping any fish and wanted to ?let him go so he can grow? even bigger. Maybe one of you will catch him later on. It was a really neat experience and one I won?t forget.
We fished on throughout the rest of the day moving to different locations and we caught several more fish, but none compared to the size of that first one. It was a good day out on the water and one I won?t be forgetting!
Below is a video I put together of the trip