The 7 day Waterfowl season is not going as I planned, but I have definitely learned my lesson. This past Saturday, as most of you know, was the opening day for ducks here in South Carolina. Nick and I were excited to get out on the water and try to harvest a few ducks, but due to poor planning and time management, our season hasn?t gone as planned. We don?t like to hunt rivers too often due to the crowds there, so as part of our strategy for duck season Nick and I get on Google Earth and scan the Francis Marion government woods for locations where ducks would reside such as swamps, ponds, etc. When we find a location that looks good we mark the coordinates and punch them in our hand held GPS, ride out to the area, and check it out. Before the season started we executed this plan and marked some spots we wanted to check out. Due to poor time management by Nick and me, we only got around to 3 of the 7 spots we marked down. The days got closer to the season and eventually opening day arrived and we still hadn?t checked out all our previously identified spots. So we grabbed our guns and headed out to one of the spots on Saturday afternoon. (Saturday morning I was unable to hunt because I went to my girlfriend?s North/South game) Well to make things better there wasn?t any water in the swamp we selected to hunt. We had just wasted a trip so we left to visit a spot we knew had water, but a lot of people hunted it and we roosted some ducks. The next morning we went back to the same location, and again, poor scouting got us. The birds were flying all around us but not where we had set up. We didnt kill any birds that morning either. Though, the next morning I went back and set up were we had seen the birds coming out of the roost the day before. On this hunt we finally killed some birds! We ended up with 2 Drakes and a hen.
Throughout all of this we still had fun chasing ducks around in the swamps. One thing I did learn is to get all my scouting in before the season is in!!! We still might not kill any, but at least we know where the birds are lol.
If anyone is into filming there hunts you need to take a look at Deer Ridge Innovations Camera Mount. It simply attaches to your shotgun, rifle, or bow and you can film anything you shoot at. In the clip below I used it in my duck hunts, and it worked very well! I?m pleased with the purchase and suggest it to anyone trying to self-film. I self-film my deer hunts with a portable camera arm, but this Mount is going to be much easier for me to setup and use in my future hunts. I?m sure y?all will see more videos from me while I use the Deer Ridge Camera Mount.
Deer Hunts This Past Weekend
Trail Camera Bucks This Past Weekend
This past week I attended the 2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited banquet. This is my 3rd time attending the event and this year’s banquet did not disappoint. Robbie Boone is the Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Chapter President and he and his chapter members always run a well-organized, good eaten’, packed out event.
Every year I always look forward to the event because I know there are going to be a ton of great prizes, some awesome Jo Jo’s BBQ, and a good time with friends. If the event keeps growing they’re going to have to find another event venue. Also important to note is the reason for the event. The event was created to help raise funds for Ducks Unlimited to help protect our wetlands and to ensure the overall health of duck hunting as a sport for years to come. DU Chapters all over the country host these events and the money goes to the larger Ducks Unlimited organization. These events are what help keep duck hunting stay a managed and successful sport for outdoorsman. Along with the overarching reason for these events the banquets also provide an upbeat, entertaining environment where attendees can walk away with some great prizes.
When I arrived to the event there was a line waiting to get in the door. At that point I knew it was going to be another packed house. Upon entering the venue, the walls were lined with prizes, auction goods, vendors, and some very nice duck prints, decoys, and even corn hole boards. My favorite item that I saw was a neon green & yellow Ducks Unlimited light. I’m always inclined to like some kind of gadget and I could envision that neon light on my wall (although I’m sure my wife would have greeted me with a “Hey, um, that’s not going in this house” type response). Though, I didn’t end up going home with the neon green DU light as it went for more than I was willing to pay. However, some of my friends were more fortunate though… Derrick Outen left with a nice shotgun, Gerald Cato won a boat, and some others from the Pageland area walked away with various hunting items and gear.
I don’t know exactly the levels of funds the chapter brought in as a result of the event, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were one of the most successful chapters in the region. It was a great event, for a great cause, and everyone seemed to have a good time. My only critique is that I wish they would have dropped the AC a few more degrees lower!
Kudos to the Lancaster County DU Chapter for hosting another great event! I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.
This past Saturday and Sunday (February 5th and 6th) were designated as Federal Youth Waterfowl Days. Youth 15 years old and younger could hunt waterfowl when accompanied by an adult and only the youth could hunt! "These hunts offer the perfect opportunity for youth to be introduced to waterfowl hunting in a positive manner" said Dean Harrigal, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) biologist.
With a busy schedule this past weekend I wasn?t sure if I was going to be able to make it, but it turned out that I could and I was excited to see what some of our youth would do. As I drove down the night before it rained for a solid hour without letting up. It wasn?t a good sign and I hoped that it would quit before the morning, but we didn?t end up that lucky. It rained throughout the night and for a couple of hours in the morning. As ?Murphy?s Law? would have it, the rain slacked up once the hunt started winding down.
I was pumped about this hunt because I was going to be in the blinds with the guys. I knew I would be able to get some really neat footage from being right there ?in the mix?. I was glad that I was in the blind too because if I had been out in the open I would have gotten soaked even more than I did and filming wouldn?t have been possible. The blind offered some cover where I could keep the camera somewhat shielded from the rain.
In our crew we had 3 youth hunters, 2 adults who assisted, me, and a dog hunkered down in 2 different blinds. I should probably describe the blinds a little because they were unique, but the video will give you a better feel than my words can. The blinds were rectangle in shape and they were in the ground. When sitting on the benches inside the blinds, our eyes were just above the level of the water. The blinds were camouflaged really well with brush all around the top edges. The blinds also had tops on them that flip open whenever it?s time to shoot, but for our hunt we left them open so as to have increased visibility for the youth and for the camera. The blinds were situated side by side on a point in the middle of the waterway. In case the blinds flooded the blinds had small pumps that pumped the water out in the corners of them. While we were sitting in the blinds our boots were about ankle deep in water due to all the recent rains and it wasn?t letting up.
We got there early and some of the guys put out decoys while I was getting my gear situated in the blind. The rain was still falling and I knew it was going to be tough to film and take pictures in this wet environment. After a little while everyone was situated and we just sat there waiting on the sun to rise and we also listened to the driving rain pinging the roof just over our heads. With the blinds over our torso our legs were exposed to the rain and within time I got soaked! The water ran straight down from my pants into my boots and before too long I felt ?gushy? on the inside of my boots. It wasn?t fun and before too long everything from my waist down was soaked and it seemed like it weighed 10 lbs more than when I came in. I guess I should also mention that everyone except me had waders on! I?ll probably have to invest in some waders here at some point, but leave it to me to go without any and having a valuable learning experience from it.
After a little while some ducks started swimming across the waterway. I could zoom in and see them with the camera better than we could with our eyes and they were heading our way. I got some good footage of this and I told the guys that the birds were coming our way. The guys were ready and within a few minutes the shells were flying in the air and I think the kids got 5 ?Coots? in total.
We still had birds coming in even after the first round of shots and after the dog had retrieved all the ducks! We sat there for a while and I got some more footage of the guys in the blinds and the overall setup. As it got lighter out the video got clearer and you?ll that reflected in the video below. Randomly we?d have a group of ducks come in and I was able to get some footage of birds flying in and I also got footage of the guys missing some shots that were right down the pipe. We were all laughing and having a good time with it though. I couldn?t believe the number of ducks we had around us throughout the morning and it really compliments the guy?s hard work done in the off-season to that area.
By the time the hunt was over I was completely soaked and my cameras had water all over them too. I wasn?t sure if I was going to be able to pull footage off the camera, but luckily it went undamaged. After the hunt we all went up and ate breakfast and had a good time hanging out. Though it was pouring and not the best filming conditions, it was still a great hunt and a great time together in the outdoors. I?m glad that DNR has a youth day set up because it helps get the youth fired up and keeps the hunting legacy going.
The rain, mist, fog, and clouds made it a little difficult for me to film?especially when trying to pull focus on various objects. So, some of the shots you?ll see in the below video are a little blurry.
Thanks again to the guys for inviting me along!
There is more in the air than just a little chill. There is an excitement that only the opening of duck season can bring.
This year, we have an added element to amp up the fast approaching season. On November 5, 2011, Sandhills Ducks Unlimited would like to invite you to the 1st Annual Conservation Banquet held at Windy Hill Manor in Pageland. The night will begin at 6:00 pm with a buffet dinner served at 7:00 pm. A live auction will start between 8:00 and 8:30 pm. There will be a silent auction, many door prizes and raffle prizes. There will also be an all you can eat BBQ buffet and an open bar. The auction will consist of DU premium artwork, many guns, hand carved decoys, several hunts, sculptures, knives, jewelry, hunting accessories, and greenwing merchandise. Wrecking Crew Guide Service and Quack ?Em Back Duck Calls & Merchandise will also be set up as vendors at the banquet. Blake Hodge, duck and goose calling champion, will be giving a calling demonstration. It will be an entertaining evening with family, friends, fellowship and lots of fun!
All proceeds benefit the conservation of wetlands across America. Since 1989, DU has conserved nearly 160,000 acres across the Palmetto State, investing more than $40,000,000.00 in South Carolina projects through DU and its partners. During the past year we conserved 2,034 acres through conservation easements and habitat restoration projects on Santee National Wildlife Refuge, ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, and Botany Wildlife Management Area.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 6:00 pm
Windy Hill Manor
158 High Point Church Road
Pageland, SC 29728
$35.00 single ticket / $65.00 couple ticket / $20.00 greenwing ticket
*Includes annual membership
Tickets may also be purchased online here.
For more information, please contact me at (843)622-4938.
We look forward to seeing you all there!