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!
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?
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.
The below blog entry is a guest blog entry posted by Andy Hahn
When friends work together toward a common goal we can accomplish amazing things. I have severely limited mobility because of ALS, but my good buddy Ron Wagner always finds the time and energy to help me enjoy the outdoors. In April 2009 we were hunting at Bang?s Paradise Valley Hunting Club in Ehrhardt, South Carolina, when I told Ron I wanted to take a hog with my Horton Hunter HD 175 crossbow. Our timing was perfect because another guest at the lodge was Matt Miller of Covington, Virginia, who works as a pro-staffer for Horton Crossbows. Although he was at Bang?s to pursue turkeys, he gave up his own hunting time and volunteered to help us that morning. Another friend, Matt Lindler (editor for National Wild Turkey Federation publications), joined us to take photos. Our guide, Tom Collins, mapped out a game plan in the dirt like a sandlot quarterback.
?There?s a game trail here...Set up the blind on this side of it. The hogs bed down in the swamp here. I?ll give you guys 20 minutes, then I?ll come in from this end to push the hogs your way.?
Matt M had the pop-up blind open by the time Ron had wheeled me through 50 yards of mud and deadfalls. Ron quickly assembled my BE-Adaptive gun support and stood by to aim the crossbow with my scope camera/monitor system. Tom tromped through the swamp and his plan worked?sort of. Several hogs went past us, but they ran by too quickly for a shot. Then Tom called on the radio to tell us he saw two hogs hiding in a brushpile. Knowing that hogs tend to sit tight when burrowed into cover, he asked, ?Can you guys get Andy over here?? If the hogs hunker down, we?ll go after ?em; we call this method ?squat ?n stalk hunting.? Ron grunted my wheelchair through 150 yards of palmetto scrub, over logs and around fallen branches while Matts L and M carried the crossbow and other gear. One of my tires went flat from a thorn we picked up somewhere along the way. When Ron apologized, I told him flat, muddy wheelchair tires are much better than clean ones that never go outside.
When we found Tom, he pointed at a nasty brushpile and said, ?One of the hogs is right there.? Where??? Oh...There! All I could see was a dark spot through a 10-inch-diameter opening in the tangled branches. Ron affirmed he could thread the needle at a range of 20 yards and send a bolt through the narrow gap. I trust my point man, so we set up for the shot.
Studying the image on my scope cam, we held a powwow with Matt M to determine where to aim. We estimated where the ribs would be, but the shadows made it a tough call. I squeezed the cable release and the bolt disappeared in the brush. We saw the hog?s rear legs twitch, but we couldn?t see the bolt. Had we hit it?
Our second bolt deflected off a branch and careened away harmlessly. The third one stuck the pig but we couldn?t tell exactly where. We had no more bolts, so somebody would have to walk up and check things out. Matt L stood to our right, with his pistol drawn. Tom stood 20 yards to our left, holding his .44 mag revolver. Matt M, carrying Ron?s 9mm pistol, went behind the brushpile.
?I see tusks on that boar,? he warned.
Then he jammed a 7-foot branch in the pile to flush the hogs. I said, ?Somebody yell PULL! When the pig runs we?ll have pulled pork.? A 130-pound sow stepped out, looking for a victim. She paused, chose Tom and charged directly at him. He tried to sidestep but the hog veered to keep him in her path. POW! Tom fired at a range of 3 feet and closing fast. He hit it between the eyes and had to jump aside as the hog, dead on its feet, tumbled under him. The other hog, which turned out to be a 135-pound boar, never moved. We discovered that the first broadhead had penetrated the skull just behind the right ear for an instant kill. (I guess we can call that shot a ?no brainer.?) Our third shot had struck the hip of the already immobilized hog.
Back at the lodge I almost fell off my wheelchair when Ron asked, ?Hey Bang, do you think Jeremy [of Three Mile Creek Taxidermy] can mount that boar with the arrow stuck in its head?? When we returned to Bang?s later that year, we found that Jeremy had indeed prepared the mount to meet Ron?s request.
Here?s how it looks: Our Squat ?N Stalk Arrowhead Hog.
The below blog entry was submitted by Jimmy Bradley of Pageland, SC
I?m like many people reading this blog entry. I?m just a good ?ol country boy from a small town and I love to hunt. I spend my time chasing deer, turkeys, and everything else around South Carolina. I?ve hunted in South Carolina all my life and I?ve never paid to go on a guided hunt before, but my recent trip to Iowa was my first exception. I was really excited to be going and, as you may imagine, I also had a lot of concerns because I had no idea what I was getting into.
It was a long trip to arrive to Iowa, but the whole time my mind was thinking of the hunts that potentially lied just ahead of me. When we arrived to the lodge I was very pleased with the place, it looked like a picture out of a magazine! The rooms had two bunk beds along with two private showers and a bathroom. I looked at the craftsmanship of the beds and noticed that they were uniquely built. An Amish guy local to the area of the hunt had built the beds and he also built a huge dining table along with a lot of trim work on the inside. The hand crafted wood work was really nice, almost to the point of artwork. As one would imagine, there were plenty of nice deer heads on the wall and around the fire place too. It was what you would imagine in a quality hunting lodge.
Tom Bomell was our guide and he was also the main person who set up all the trail cameras on the property. He did plenty of scouting and research and had several monster bucks on film for us to look at on the computer before we even arrived to the lodge. It was very important for us to know what animals were on each farm so we could look for specific deer. Tom worked very hard taking us out to the stands and picking us up after the hunts. He was also a very big part of why our trip was so nice! On a side note Tom was very proud of some of the nice bucks his son has taken. He showed us some pictures of two awesome bucks that his son had recently taken one. He son shot a really nice buck with his bow. I can?t blame him for being proud about those and I?m glad he shared those images with us.
Our host was a gentleman named Brenton Clark along with his wife Rachel. They were very friendly and were always ready to help us in any way they could! Brenton really takes pride in getting his guests trophy bucks and he and his wife do everything possible to ensure guests have a good experience. Their hospitality was part of what made our trip special.
Every morning we had a buffet breakfast usually consisting of eggs, bacon, ham or sausage, and pancakes. They made sure we didn?t hunt on an empty stomach! For lunch we would have a lighter sandwich type meal. Since we hunted from day light to dark we carried our lunch with us out on the hunt. At supper time we returned back to the lodge and met in the dining room for another great meal and everyone talked about the day?s hunt. We all discussed what happened on our hunts and we usually had a lot to talk about!
The hunting was as good as it gets. We hunted out of nice, huge box blinds with heaters in them. These stands overlooked corn fields, soybean fields, and several types of planted food plots. It was not uncommon to see 30 + deer a night in these fields! After being in a stand for the first 30 minutes of the first day, I knew I wasn?t on my typical kind of South Carolina hunts.
They also had ladder stands and lock-on stands that overlooked trails and food plots. The guide took us in every morning and he would either pick us up at lunch or at night depending on whether you wanted to hunt all day or not. I wanted to get the most out of my trip so I hunted all day long on 4 of the 5 days we were there.
There were a total of 13 guys in two different camps and we had 5 deer killed over 140 inches and one that went 166! Then we had another 2 guys miss and one made a bad shot and just winged the front leg on another buck. Some great deer were harvested while we were there.
I should mention that we also had a camera man with us at the lodge. One of the best parts of my our trip was meeting editor and camera man Nathan Delong! He works with Lee and Tiffany Lakosky and the show ?The Crush? with Lee and Tiffany! Nate lived only a half a mile from the lodge we stayed in and was like one of the family there. It was a pleasure to meet him and he gave his testimony with us and shared his story of how he became a part of the show. He also told us all about Lee and Tiffany and how hard they work to make their farms so good. He told us how they work from day light to dark on their food plots and also how strict they are on what they shoot! He told us about the various food plots they plant. He also told us that Blake Shelton is a hoot in camp and always ready to make you laugh! My friend Tony said he could have sat and talked to Nate all day!
I saw 16 deer the first day of my hunt, 3 of which were good bucks, and I was in hog heaven. I saw 3 bucks and 2 does the second day and on third day I saw 21 deer! The third day brought 5 bucks and 2 of those were over 140 class, but I could not get a shot! On the fourth day I saw 15 deer and had a nice 130 class 8 point walk by me at 30 yards! On the final day I saw one doe on the morning hunt then we changed farms and went to one that had not been hunted for the afternoon hunt. This location had two stands on it and I went to the bottom stand and at 4:15 had a 170 class buck called the ?Big 10? come out 40 yards from the other ladder in the field! Yes I was SICK!!!!!! He never came my way though because he got busy chasing a doe and left with her! My heart was in my throat. It was an awesome experience in the woods.
Over the course of my trip I never pulled the trigger. Even though I did not kill a deer this was still the greatest time I have ever had deer hunting! It was so amazing to sit in a stand and know at any time you could see the deer of a lifetime. The owner and his wife made every effort to see that I killed a deer and it just didn?t come together. The food, the lodge, the hunts, and the hospitality was awesome and I?m already scheduling my trip back next year. If you are looking for a hunt let me know they only take a certain amount of hunters and it fills up fast. The cost to hunt is $3,500.00 and the tag is like $590.00. Yes, it is a lot of money, but it is also a chance to have a hunt of a lifetime.
Going on a guided hunt to somewhere you have never been is hard and it keeps you wondering the whole time did I make the right decision? Well I can honestly say in my case I did and I was very pleased with the whole experience!
For more information check out http://www.seiaoutfitters.com