As deer hunters we often game-plan our hunts based on available food sources and rut activity, but we don't really factor in water sources that much. Not including water sources into the game-plan may be a mistake on our behalves. Think about it, food and water are the most elemental needs of a deer with water being the more critical of the two. Trying to look at deer hunting from a "water", perspective can prove beneficial,especially in drier areas.
Deer get water from a variety of sources, such as ponds, streams, and lakes. They also get water from the dew on plants and the water contained within plants. In some articles I read it was noted that, if lush forage is available, deer may be able to meet their body's water demand solely from the water within plants. This has not been scientifically proven, but it appeared to be a believed concept.
Also, typically the richest soil in a given area will be near a water source. The moisture in the water helps the soil be more fertile. This richest soil will grow the best forage and this provides deer with succulent forage to browse on along with providing great cover. These aspects of areas near water sources are very attractive for deer?naturally they will want to be near these areas.
It?s going to be like a second Christmas for the winner of the 2011 WinnTuck Waterfowl Competition! WinnTuck, Hobo Calls, & Lodge Creek Calls all donated the products that comprise a great prize package for this year?s winner so thanks to our sponsors for making the competition possible.
Thanks to all the hunters who participated and posted pics. We really had some good entries which made it tough to select the best. We had a tough time narrowing down the finalists and we decided to narrow it down to a top 5 instead of a top 3. Now the fate of the winners lies in the hands of the voters!
Voting will be live from 2/9/11 throughout 2/12/11. The winner will be announced on 2/13/11 and the prizes delivered shortly thereafter.
The top 5 pictures (in no particular order) were:
Be sure to go and cast your vote for the WinnTuck 2011 Waterfowl Competition winner!
The top 5 are below
Gavin Jackson and Justin Gainey
The Wrecking Crew
Dale Knight & Travis Johnson
About 2 years ago our office decided to go on a ?team building? trip. As many of you probably would be, I was very ?excited? about this great day away from doing anything that I really needed to be doing at work. We all knew we had to go, but we didn?t know where we would be going at first. Initially, I envisioned a lame day that would only get me further behind at my job and that would have me playing catch-up on emails the following day. Boy was I wrong.
Our boss took us to the US National White Water Center which is located just southwest of Charlotte NC. It?s right off both I-85 and I-485 (the belt loop around Charlotte). See directions to the White Water Center. It?s actually very close to Belmont, NC if you know where that is. Anyway, this place is awesome and I do mean with a capital A! I was very surprised at how something this cool could be tucked way back in the woods and yet not many people know about this facility. The location is also an Olympic training center where rafters and kayakers train. When we walked up to the facility we were walking uphill and then when we got to the top we saw the whole place and it is a very nice setup. Somebody put some time, money, and thought into this facility.
To attempt to describe the view?the scene consists of the white water rapids that are directly in front of you with the rock climbing towers to the left. The aroma of the food coming from the restaurant (which serves a really good menu...including sweet potato waffle fries) comes from the right. The restaurant also has a balcony where people eat, sit, and watch others raft. Also from this vantage point you can see the long zip-line that goes across the water to your right. There is a big platform where you can see them start the zip-line. Yes, you can get hooked up and zing from one side of the facility to the next. On your left near the restaurant is the White Water Store where you can buy any kind of shirt, hat, or outdoor oriented gear. Beyond what you can see are a lot of biking trails, hiking trails, and ropes courses. I?m telling you, this place is jam up?.not to mention that they have bands out there to play all the time and they?ve got a stage for the bands too! If you want to bring your dog, no problem?the facility is dog friendly as we saw a lot of people walking their dogs around the park. They also have huge rocks scattered throughout the center where you can sit and watch people do whatever activity they?re doing. I mean really you can sit about 5 feet from the rafters as they go buy. You could probably high-five one of them if you wanted. It?s neat to see them laughing, yelling, some crying as they hit the rapids.
From a technical standpoint (because you know I?m always analyzing someone?s web site and all things technical) they have something very neat. Throughout the day while visitors are rafting, the center has photographers that walk around and take pictures. At first I didn?t know who they were, but after going through the whole process I quickly learned. The pictures that these people take are sent to a database and it is done very quickly. We rode the rapids (and oh yeah, my boss got tossed from the boat which was awesome) and then after we were through we went to leave. On the way to leave you have to check your gear back in and in that building they have all these flat screen TV?s where you see the pictures that the photographers took. We actually saw a pic of our boss eating it and we all just died laughing. Instantly you think about buying a pic, but you?re all wet and don?t have your wallet on you?no worries because they store those same pics on their web site and you can go back and look through all the pics and purchase however many you want. A well thought out process that is efficient and uses the web site to the max?impressive. You know I loved it!
I should mention that you aren?t just thrown out there on your own. Each boat has 6 people in it + a guide. The center gives you a guide who directs the raft and tells everyone who needs to paddle and when they need to paddle etc. Even before getting in the boat we had a 30 minute sit-down lecture where we had to sign our life away and learn how to properly wear our helmets, life-vests, and even how to get back in the boat should anybody have fallen out. Another safety thing I should mention is that throughout the rapids, they have people who are only there for your safety?that is, if you fall out, they literally ?throw you a rope? and pull you to the side. I think the ladies who went on our trip really found that comforting. Keep in mind that this whole facility is man-made and they create the rapids with a huge pump. So the environment is a controlled environment in a small sense, but I will also say that the rapids are no child?s play.
My wife and I went there last night just to eat dinner and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed going out there. She had never seen the place before so we decided to do something different and venture out. There was even a wedding reception going on while we were there. We ate on the balcony and watched the last few rafters and kayakers go through the rapids while the band played below. We enjoyed it and yes the food was good.
The White Water Center also has Catawba River access and a ton of activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, eco-trekking, rafting, walking/running/hiking trails, zip lines, mega-jump, and an adventure course. They host events, have a conference center, and all kinds of programs for everyone. Yes, I took that right from their web site which is here: www.usnwc.org. Check it out for more info.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone. If you like the outdoors and adventure, you will like the White Water Center. The only complaint I have about the center is that they charge you for parking. There is a $5 fee just to park. It doesn?t matter whether you?re going to eat, raft, walk, make a u-turn or whatever. They have a little guard shack out front who stops you and charges you. That?s the only thing I didn?t like. Other than that, I give it 2 thumbs up. I think this would be a great place to take your family, church group, office team, etc. It is definitely worth the drive from wherever you may be in SC to get there. Before you come though, you may want to call ahead and also look at the schedule. This place gets booked up in the summer so you want to be sure to reserve your time when they have available options. You can buy various combinations of passes with the most expensive (for one day) being $49. See their pricing options here. This will get you access to every activity they have.
If you do venture out the whitewater center, respond in the comment section below and let me know what you thought about it!
* All photos in this blog credited to the US National White Water Center
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
Schofield’s Ace Hardware in Florence, SC had their annual “Waterfowl Day” this past Saturday, and team Wrecking Crew (Ty Parker, Justin Thomas, Blake and I) supported their event along with having a Meat Duck Calling Contest for the youth and adults.
We brought our WC1 Xpress Boat powered by Gator-Tail 35, to use as a calling stage for the contestants. The kids really had a blast with the decoy display, layout blinds, and being able to step up in our Xpress boat. We tried to simulate a real hunt as much as possible and still have fun.
We had three calling contests: JR, Intermediate, and Adult contests, which Schofield’s donated lots of great prizes for the winners and all of the youth received gift cards for participation. Also, for the adults, Schofield’s offered a $20 gift card just for entering and how cool was that?
Along with the contests, our “crew” continued to support Schofield’s by representing our sponsor’s: RNT Calls, Drake Waterfowl, Yeti Coolers, and Mountain Khaki’s. We generated a lot of buzz with our Xpress Boat and Gator-Tail Motor and WeHuntSC.
It was a fun filled day, with lots of duck calling kids and adults, camo clothing and eyes in the skies, looking for the migration in the Pee Dee Area.
We appreciated everyone who came out to the event and would like to thank not only our sponsors, Schofield’s but our crew members(Ty Parker, Justin Thomas and Blake) who supported the event.
Good Hunting ~ Daryl
Team Wrecking Crew