This past weekend the wife and I went on a quick vacation to the beach?yes, Myrtle Beach! We had planned this trip for a while and it turned out that Scott Ledford of Ledford Outdoors was going to be at the Bass Pro Shops store in North Myrtle having sign-ups for their upcoming, annual, Youth Dove Hunt. Since we were going to be in the area, I told the wifey that she could shop while I looked around BassPro and talked with Scott about the details of the event. It wasn?t hard to get her to say ?yes? to going to any kind of mall.
We caught up with Scott around mid-day on Saturday and got some details of Ledord Outdoors? upcoming event. On September 11th, 2010 Ledford Outdoors, along with several sponsors, is putting on a very neat youth dove hunt in Horry County, SC. Youth ages 9 ? 15 are eligible to win this exclusive dove hunt. Ledford Outdoors is going to draw 15 winners from the entries and these 15 youth & teens will be the ones who win and get to go on the dove hunt. So how do you enter?... you either sign up on Ledford Outdoors? web site or you fill out the form and register at Bass Pro at Myrtle Beach if you?re in the Myrtle Beach area. Keep in mind that, to participate, a parent or guardian must be on hand with the youth and the parent/guardian must hold a valid South Carolina hunting license! Youth and teens can register for a chance to win a spot on the dove hunt from August 6th ? 22nd. Also, you don?t have to be from SC to register, you can win from another state, but you would have to buy an out-of-state license for the hunt if you win from another state.
The best part about this event is that it is directly geared towards the youth and there will be give-aways, food, entertainment, and tons of family fun. Scott even mentioned where they will be giving away a shotgun and maybe more than one. This event has been backed by some good sponsors who are enthused about encouraging youth to hunt so I?m sure it will turn out to be a positive event that 15 lucky youth/teens will really be happy to win.
Below is a quick video I shot of Scott talking about the event. If you are a youth/teen or if you know a youth/teen who would love to get in on a hunt?then forward them the link so they can register for a chance to win!
It was around this time last year when we got the green-light and started the Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey. The first blog entry aired last January and I didn't know what to expect, but I knew I had a lot to learn. Around 25 blog entries and a year later, we've had some successes, some failures, some lessons learned, some memorable hunts, and some really good looking food plots.
I?ve posted some pictures below of the spring/summer and fall/winter food plots.
I'm no guru by far, but even from my little bit of experience over the last year I can tell you that the soil was one of the most important factors in our Food Plot Journey mix. We planted food plots in several different areas and the areas where the soil was best fit for the food plot were the areas where we had the best food plots. Of course rain is crucial, but rainfall is something we can't control. Essentially the soil acts as the "transfer agent" through which your plants will get the nutrients they need to thrive. One of my takeaways will be the quality of the soil. You can get a high quality seed or a low quality seed, but it's all moot if you don't have fertile soil.
If you've been following along then you've seen everything that we've done via video, pictures, and the text in blog entries. I created one last video of some of the before/after shots that happened along the way.
I've had a great time learning, creating, and documenting the food plots in our Food Plot Journey and hopefully I haven?t bored you with it all. A big thanks to Tecomate Seed & the GroundHog MAX for working with us to sponsor the Food Plot Journey.
And if you are on your own "Food Plot Journey" then it won't be long before it's time to start the soil samples again. I know that we're already making plans for the upcoming spring/summer and next fall/winter plots?
A while back someone on twitter saw a link to our site and checked it out. Their response tweet was that they liked the design of the site and that it fired them up and made them "want to go kill something?" Obviously this individual doesn''t have a clear understanding of what hunting is all about as his words were a window into his personal view of hunting ...or should I say his trouble distinguishing the difference between hunting and killing.
I often meet people who are non-hunters and sometimes over the course of conversation we end up talking about hunting. Inevitably the conversation trends towards the hunting vs. killing debate. It usually surfaces in the form of "How can you shoot those helpless little creatures?" or "You try to kill Bambi?" This statement is typically a strong indicator that the person asking the question has never hunted.
I'd like to take a look into the hunting vs. killing debate from a hunter's perspective. Let's use a critical lens to analyze and deconstruct the meaning of hunting and also killing. What are the differences between hunting and killing? Where do the differences lie? What are the signs of both a "hunter" and a "killer"? Let's start the investigation by looking at hunters.
Hunters, first and foremost, have totally different motivations, thought processes, and core values than a "killer" does. The fundamental values of a hunter affect the way he/she views the sport. A hunter's beliefs and values prompt actions that are direct indicators that the individual is a true hunter. Over time these fundamental differences are outwardly manifested in the activities in which hunters engage. For this reason, you will find hunters involved in activities in which you will never see "killers" involved. These belief-motivated actions can be noticed both in-season as well as during the off-season.
In the off-season a hunter still enjoys many aspects of hunting. This is because being a hunter doesn't come for a season and then leave, its not seasonal, it's a way of life. Some examples of these off-season activities are those such as "shed" hunting where finding a deer's shed antlers is the goal, or with training any hunting dogs that a hunter may have, doing off-season scouting, competing in target shooting competitions and/or calling competitions, attending trade shows, moving deer stands, building duck blinds, practicing calling techniques, researching, planting and maintaining food plots to help with the health and nutritional diet of the deer, turkeys, ducks or other game in the hunter's area, or even watching hunting TV shows.
During the season a hunter doesn't merely look to harvest anything that walks through the woods, but rather is selective about the game that he or she does choose to harvest. A hunter won't shoot more meat than he or she needs in his freezer. Hunters also help less fortunate people by donating deer meat to them. It's common to find hunting clubs or deer processors working with local organizations supporting the needy. A hunter takes pride in being able to watch an animal mature over time and is challenged to hold the game in their area. A hunter also has a true appreciation for nature and the patterns found within nature denoting intelligent design from above. Hunters grow to appreciate the stillness of being in the middle of the woods, field, swamps, etc where one can momentarily elude the business and noise of everyday life. Sitting on the ground, in a stand, or in a blind offers one the time and place to ponder the wonders of the universe or anything else that may come to mind. The serenity hunters find out in nature can't be found in too many other locations and gives some hunters a natural high. This tranquil and peaceful place is where the hunter remains until he/she either encounters the game or the end of the hunt. Sure, a hunter wants to harvest an animal, yet he/she still enjoys the hunt whether an animal was harvested or not. When the game does arrive, whether it is a duck, boar, turkey, deer, etc hunters enjoy the instant rush that comes over us. The instant rush of adrenaline, rather than the kill, is what gets hunters hooked.
A hunter also has the discipline to watch their game for hours and never pull the trigger. When a hunter does pull the trigger, it is a calculated moment that has been in the making for some time rather than being a moment that randomly happens by chance. Harvesting an animal is the culmination of many factors some of which are: off-season scouting, scent control, successful hunting tactics, food plot, land/game management, successful calling, well trained dogs, and yes, an accurate shot. All of these factors coming together at once is not an easy feat to pull off. Therefore, when an animal is harvested it's the intersection of preparation, patience, and nature.
Hunters usually have hunting partners with whom they go hunting and spend time. Having a hunting partner is a good safety measure, it helps when any work needs to be done, and offers a chance for fellowship while participating in an activity that both individuals enjoy. It's commonplace to find fathers and sons hunting together. You see hunters also care about passing the tradition on to younger hunters. Because of the burden to share the sport and experiences in the outdoors, hunters strongly support activities which promote and educate hunting to youth. Fathers also appreciate the opportunity that hunting gives them to spend time with their children.
To see what happens when a non-hunting, father-son, duo goes hunting and realizes the rush of the hunt and the experience that they'd just had together see the below video
Hunters also get involved with organizations that support their sport and focus on the conservation of the sport so that everyone can continue to enjoy the outdoors. Organizations like Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Ducks Unlimited (DU), National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are ones that you'll see true hunters get involved with. These organizations bring a wealth of research, information, and synergy to their respective sport of hunting and work for the greater good of the hunting community as a whole. Hunters get involved with these organizations because the core principles and values of the organizations align with the core principles and values of the hunter.
The last thing I'll mention is that, due to the strong differences between hunters and killers, you'll seldom find hunters associating with killers, the two just don't mesh. Sure they may bump into each other at a processing plant every now and then, but you won't see them together much other than that. The old saying goes "You are what you hang around" and because of this notion, hunters are careful about the company they keep. Take a look at the people around you who hunt and think about who they do and don't hang around to see if it holds true.
We all have different perspectives, but the above is my perception on what makes a hunter and how you can identify and distinguish a hunter from a killer. Since I've elaborated on what I believe comprises a hunter, now let's look at the other side of the fence. Let's look at characteristics that I believe make up a "killer".
A "killer" is essentially the opposite of all the characteristics mentioned above that encompass a hunter. In my opinion, killers give hunters a bad reputation. In the same way that you'll see a hunter involved in specific activities and carrying out certain behaviors, you'll see killers not taking part in certain activities and also engaging in contrasting behaviors. Most of the time a killer's behaviors are in stark contrast to those of a hunter.
In contrast to a hunter, a killer does not appreciate the hunt because the hunt is what stands between them and a kill. Killers don't genuinely appreciate the wait, the silence, and the necessary time in a stand/blind that most hunters love because a killer doesn't really enjoy the peacefulness of nature, but rather is in a hurry to pull the trigger.
Killers don't respect the land they hunt on or animals they harvest. They don't mind littering or damaging the land they hunt on because the environment and conservation is not of their concern. Killers are also what we like to call "trigger-happy" and will shoot the first deer, turkey, duck etc. that they see. In the deer hunting world killers live by the motto "If it's brown it's down" because they're not concerned with game management or limits. I remember an instance related to this topic that happened when I was a kid that still sticks out to me.
In the mid 90's we were at one of our locals processing plants and everyone was talking about deer hunting while the guys were cleaning deer. The environment was the normal, upbeat, good-humored, environment that you've probably experienced before at a processing plant. We had been there about 20 minutes when some guys came up and bought in a very young doe. The deer was so small that it looked like it had just got rid of its spots. At the time I didn't really know what was going on because I was so young, but I distinctly remember the old man that was processing the deer's reaction to the situation. The guys drug the small deer up and immediately the whole processing plant went silent. Tension was in the air and it was thick. I vividly remember the awkwardness of the moment. The guy who shot the deer said he wanted some "tender meat" and that did not go over well at all with the processor. He gave the guy a death-stare and then shook his head in disappointment to let him know that what he had done was wrong. After that the whole place remained quiet until the individuals who brought the deer in left. Being young, I didn't exactly understand what had just taken place, but my dad explained it to me on the way home. In retrospect, I now respect the processor even more because even he didn't want to make money cleaning a deer that was so young because he respected the game and disliked doing business with a killer.
Another sign to look for that denotes a killer is what they do in the off-season. Killers rarely participate in, and do not enjoy, the off-season work that hunters love because its actual work and it doesn't involve or even come close a kill. Hunters know that working in the off-season can help their game and also keeps the hunter's flame burning year round. Killers on the other hand may do some off-season work, but from what I can tell, they don't seem to be too motivated about it.
After a killer does harvest a deer, they commonly boast about the kill as if it builds social status whether their animal was a trophy animal or not. Of course a hunter may brag about a nice deer, duck, turkey, etc they've harvested, but they won't go to the extent of self-promotion that a killer will. A true hunter doesn't need any self-promotion and doesn't thrive on his reputation because to a hunter it's not a competition, but to a killer, it is.
Killers aren't interested in taking others hunting because it only lessens their chances of making a kill. Sure everyone hunts by themselves at some point in time, but (if okay with the hunting club and/or land-owner) a hunter is always open to taking another person hunting, especially a kid because a hunter wants to share the enjoyment of the sport. A killer's viewpoint on that matter is the opposite because he/she isn't interested in sharing the sport as much.
Killers aren't concerned with adhering to the state/county regulations on game and don't mind breaking the rules because they don't respect the game, land, or sport as much as a hunter does. Due to this lack of adherence to rules & regulations killers will do things such as spotlighting deer at night, shooting before legal shooting time, hunting on land that isn't theirs, harvesting more animals than they are legally supposed to, etc. For whatever reason, a killer seems to feel above the law.
In the above paragraphs I've used a critical lens to compare, contrast, and note my view on the characteristics of both the "hunter" and the "killer". Looking deeper into the debate and deconstructing the meaning from a hunter's perspective provides unique insight with which you have the right to agree or disagree.
The term "Epistemology" refers to one's "way of knowing" and really forces one to ask the question "How do I know what I know to be truth?" Knowledge is derived from the merging of what we know to be true (truths) and what we believe (beliefs). This is demonstrated by the graph on the right.
Given an epistemological viewpoint, one can be more informed about hunters from understanding a hunter's core values and beliefs. One must know the truths about hunters and understand the sport from a hunter's perspective in order to be knowledgeable and informed in the debate. Looking at hunting from the vantage point of a hunter offers valuable insight for non-hunters and those who are critical of hunters.
Determining whether an outdoorsman is a hunter or a killer is a judgment that can only be made on an individual basis. Stereotyping hunters as blood hungry killers is unfair because many times that is simply not the case. I'm not denying that there are some killers out there. I'm just saying that you can't call us all killers until you get to know us and understand us a little.
One of my most favorite parts of working on the web site is to be able to give the competition winners their prizes! One of the winners quoted this past weekend ?Shooting the deer was good enough, now this is just the icing on the cake!? and that?s what it?s all about! Seeing the winners smile while they get their prizes makes us feel good and is rewarding for us too!
Again our winners were (See pics of the winner's deer):
The winners received some great prizes from our sponsors and each left with a handful of goodies to play with and we hope to get some ?field test? reports from them as well. I think in total we gave out just short of $2,000 worth of prizes to the winners. This is pretty good for the site just being a little over 1 year old and we hope it will get even better in years to come.
We did get some interviews from this year?s winners so check it out in the video below. Thanks again to the sponsors and to everyone who participated. Be sure to tune in early next season to see what competitions we?re hosting, what rules we?re enforcing, and what prizes you can win.
I recently met our 2011 Montana Decoy Turkey Competition winners to give them their prizes. As you are most likely aware, our site audience voted and Mark and William emerged as our winners. After the announcement we had to schedule and coordinate a meeting place to deliver the prizes. Since Mark and William hail from areas distant from each other we had to line it up for different days and it even was raining as Mark received his prizes. Nevertheless we still got it done, but we didn?t shoot much video? just pictures. It was definitely a good day for William Babb and Mark Cody when we met and they were all smiles as I got the prizes out of my car.
Below are the pictures and videos from the winners receiving their prizes.
Below is a video of the winners receiving their prizes
Thanks again to our sponsors and to everyone for participating in our 2011 Turkey Competitions! Without our sponsors and participants none of this would have been possible!
We left out early this morning and headed down to the Florence Civic Center for the 2010 Pee Dee Deer Classic. It didn?t take long for the place to get packed and it was buzzing with people both young and old. The rain held off just long enough and hunters and vendors from all across the state (and from many other states) were on hand to mix and mingle. The place was lively all day long and you could feel the energy in the air.
The floor and the walkway of the second level of the Civic Center was literally covered with vendors selling any and every product related to hunting. From knives, to guide services, to shirts, to scents, to 4-wheelers, to bows, to tractors, to food plot products, jewelry, and even fudge, you could find it all. There were even vendors there selling fishing and turkey products too! As full and busy as that place was it was almost overwhelming. That is, trying to take in the people, the information, the products, the messages, and the concepts is a lot to absorb at once. I think it wore me out after a while, but then again maybe I?m just lame.
The event was bigger than I initially anticipated and in comparison to the Sportsmen?s Classic I would say it?s a bit smaller. Though, this is just due to the fact that the event is solely targeted on deer hunting whereas the Sportsmen?s Classic features many more fishing and turkey hunting vendors and booths.
Vendors were on both the ground floor as well as the second level. The second floor is also where speakers presented on various subjects throughout the day. It was apparent that the ?Snake Master? was the biggest draw of the day as every time he spoke about snakes you couldn?t even fit around the corner due to the large audience that gathered to listen to him speak. Yes ? he did have live snakes in the building and no, I didn?t go by there messing with them?but a lot of people did.
I did miss out on one aspect of the classic though. (Fail again) I intended to see the archery competitions, but in between me not knowing the times when they started plus being busy shooting pics/videos, and talking to people I always seemed to find a way to miss them. However, it was obvious that there was a competition as you could see hunters walking around with their bow cases. I heard they were pretty good though and that the winners will be announced tomorrow.
There was another aspect of the show that I found neat. I?ve been to wrestling matches where the audience members bring their own belts to show off, but I?ve never been to a show where people walked around with their deer heads. At first I thought people were just showing off, turns out that I was wrong and they were just bringing their deer to be scored. The event featured on-site scoring of deer racks so if you wanted to know exactly what your buck scored, you simply brought it in and gave it to the guys with the tape. Cool beans! I took a pic of the guysthat were scoring the racks that you?ll see in the video below.
Going to these shows I usually see many products that I expect to see, but there are always a few products that stick out to me a little. I?m sure you may be the same way. In that regard, this expo was the same. I picked a few products to talk a little bit about that left an impression on me. If you?re a ?techy? or have similar interests as me, then you may like them too!
The McKenzie Duffle Fan Bag McKenzie Duffle Fan Bag The McKenzie Duffle Fan Bag is a really neat concept. After I saw it, I had the ?Why didn?t I think of that? moment. Essentially it?s a camo duffle bag with a fan in one end and a place to put a cover scent in on the other end. You turn the fan on and it pulls the scent through the bag scenting your gear with whatever cover scent you put on the other end. The bag can hook up to your truck?s cigarette lighter or an outlet in your house. Not only does it scent your clothes, but it also helps remove any moisture in your gear. There?s no doubt that this product works as whenever one of the bags is opened you can instantly smell dirt, dog fennels, or whatever scent was on the other end. Great idea created by a fellow hunter and fellow South Carolinian. I?m not sure, but I think the McKenzie Duffle sells for around $95. - www.mckscent.com
Mossy Oak's Video Recorder Eyewear Mossy Oak ? Video Recorder Eyewear Another memorable one for anybody who loves to video hunts. Though, you could really use this product to video anything. The gist is that it?s a pair of camo glasses that has an HD video camera located right between your eyes. If you see something coming you simply click a button right by your ear to start recording. The glasses use a very small sd card to store the video and can store 4GB of footage. I was skeptical about the quality of the footage given the small camera, but I have to tell you that I was impressed with the footage that came from this thing. The vendor had videos he had taken on display on a computer in his booth and the quality was really good. It also performed well in low light. I had a hard time not buying some of these, but the price is a little steep. They run for $269 online, so get your billfold ready if you want one of these. - Video Recorder Eyewear
E-Z Kut Pruning Sheers E-Z Kut Pruning Sheers I was really surprised at, yes, the ease of use of the E-Z Kut. I know it sounds cliché to say, but this product really is easy to use. You don?t have to have a strong grip at all to make this thing cut through limbs, twigs, or branches. The gentlemen selling this product was very nice and simply let the product do the talking. So I tried it out and I just squeezed and the clippers kind of clicked and as they clicked it seemed like it got easier and in a matter of seconds I was all the way through the limb. The E-Z Kut was relatively quiet, very smooth, and made a clean cut. If the wood was too big for your hands to grip you could just spin it in circles and as you spun it, it was cutting doing work until it got into a position that you could grip it. After gripping, a few more clicks and it was done. Seems to me like it would be something neat to carry in your hunting pouch and (after you got up the stand) you could simply, quietly, and quickly cut through anything that was in your way. Maybe a good stocking stuffer and sells for $29.95 online. - www.EZKutPrunners.com
Tag-Out Hunting Products ? Chameleon Blind Tag-Out?s Chameleon Blind is also a neat concept, especially for bow-hunters. It?s kind of a like a combination of a ground blind and a tree stand. The Chameleon Blind would definitely keep you dry in on a rainy day, but most importantly it conceals your movement. The Blind has vertical slits in the fabric to allow you to shoot out of any directions. The Tag-Out representative also told me that the blind has some weight at the bottom of the blind fabric in order to keep it from moving a lot with the wind. If you?re a bow-hunter looking to conceal your movement, this one might be worth it. Price point is $129
- Tag-Out Chameleon Blind
Havoc's Scent Sticks Havoc Scent Sticks Havoc Scent Sticks is a simple and neat concept. These scent sticks help you do two things, one of which has nothing to do with scent. The scent sticks are small, bright pipes that you place in the ground at different ranges. Since knowing your ranges can be critical you can set these up to assist you in gauging the range of your target. The pipes are tapered at one end to make for easy entry into the ground and they are hollow at the top. Once you get them into the ground you place a large cotton swab in the opening. Though, before you put it in you?re supposed to soak it in scent. The goal is simply get the deer to pause momentarily to smell the scent while you take aim. Price Point: $12. Good concept, cheap, easy to see. - Havoc Scent Sticks
The ladies behind High Maintenance Camo And for the women?High Maintenance Camo Representing a growing market share, female hunters no longer have to make due fitting into guy?s hunting gear. High Maintenance Camo has solved the diva dilemma and is making quality camo gear for ladies. They make camo to wear hunting, but they also cross over and make trendy, fashionable camo that women can wear out and about. This company is a family based company out of Florida and is run by some nice ladies. Guys, if you?re trying to sway your lady into getting into hunting, this may be the route to take?buy her some trendy camo! Ladies, if you?re tired of trying to fit your curves into men?s clothing?look no further.
Scott Ledford of Ledford Outdoors Scott Ledford ? Ledford Outdoors Along with products, there are always some people who stick out to me?whether for the right or wrong reasons! Today we met Scott Ledford from Ledford Outdoors (who stuck out for the right reasons). Scott is very connected in the hunting industry and guides clients on all kinds of hunts up and down the east coast. Scott is into video and has been trained by, and shot videos, for the pros...as in Waddell and the crew. Scott is also a PlotMaster authorized dealer so he?s into all kind of stuff.
Though, Scott?s connections and video work wasn?t what stuck out to me. There are a lot of connected and talented people out there, but rather his outwardly evident passion and genuineness was what impressed me. Scott seemed very passionate about hunting, quality game management, and mostly about getting youth involved with all things outdoors. Scott is also very upbeat about getting kids into hunting and so I expect to see him involved with a lot of big things in the future?especially in the youth realm. - http://www.ledfordoutdoors.com
I?ve created the below video to give you an idea of what the environment at the event was like in case you were unable to attend.
Anticipating the upcoming hunting season, it was good to be in an energized environment full of people who all share the same passion for hunting. For me it was similar to being in a pep-rally before the big game. I?m fired up and ready to go ?now I just have to convince the wife to share the same vision!