The 2017 Predator Challenge was another successful event. We had hunters from SC, NC, & VA competing this year with a total of 86 teams and 281 hunters. We had been preparing to both host and participate in the competition all year and looked forward to its arrival. Out of all the years we’ve hosted the event it seemed like this year saw the most activity and movement from coyotes. Everyone we talked to seemed to have enjoyed the event regardless of how many coyotes they ended up getting on the ground.
As many of you know and as we mentioned yesterday at the check-in we don’t charge a fee for the competition and we don’t make money from it. We are regular hunters just like you who hope to protect our deer, turkey, duck, and others species for future hunters. (Hunting coyotes also helps protect local farmer’s livestock).
We would not be able to host the competition without the generous donations from our sponsors. They donate their products and services for free for the winners. They don’t have to do this! We ask that you patronize the sponsors by buying your goods, products, and services from them. Be sure to be vocal about our appreciation for their sponsorships. Without the sponsors we would not have a competition.
Competition Volunteers Thanks
Hosting a competition is not an easy task. There are tons of details to consider, emails to be sent, sponsors to connect with, hunters to explain (and re-explain) rules to, etc. You get what I’m saying… a competition doesn’t just host itself. With that said I’d like to also thank Gavin Jackson and Adam Smith. Gavin and Adam are the main guys behind making the competition possible. They stalk and wrangle sponsors, handle the Facebook promotions, constantly talk with hunters, promote the competition to everyone, build the check-in setup, handle the weighing of coyotes, and handle all the details that you don’t see on the surface. If you all see, know, or communicate with these guys be sure to thank them.
Did Changing the Date Result in Better Numbers?
Based on feedback from last year’s competition participants we moved the competition from January to March. This was done for the sake of listening to our participant’s feedback. This change allowed for the use of night vision for hunting coyotes as SCDNR has implemented a night-hunting program where hunters can register their lands for night hunting and use infrared and/or thermal optics to hunt coyotes.
Moving the competition to March ran the risk of much warmer weather, but we lucked out this year as it was cool the entire weekend. We were interested to see how moving the competition would affect the numbers at the check-in. Of course, there are more variables than just the time of year, but we really can’t control the weather. We anticipated a good turnout at the check-in as we received messages during the competition of people seeing a lot of coyotes while they were hunting. It seemed they were moving well this past weekend. It would turn out that we had a total of 57 coyotes checked-in, which is more than all previous years combined. Whether it was changing the competition from January to March or just a lucky streak of movement we don’t know, but we were pleased with the outcome.
This years winners were:
First Place – Jim Shepherd, Concord, NC - 12 Coyotes
Second Place – Carolina Coyote Slayers, Denver, NC - 8 Coyotes
Third Place + Big Dawg (42.8 lbs) – Wind Walkers Kryptonite, Lucknow SC – 7 Coyotes
Sportsman's Warehouse Gun Give-Away Winner - Ben McAlister, Monroe NC
Thanks, Surveys, & Video
Thanks to everyone who hunted in the competition. We appreciate your support and hope you enjoyed the event. We’ll be sending out emails asking for feedback very soon. We’ll see you next year at the check-in.
We've been hosting the Predator Challenge for 6 years now and we've seen it constantly grow in numbers and popularity. The awareness of what coyotes are doing across the state to both game & livestock populations is spreading quickly and as a result so is the sport of predator hunting. We're happy to continue hosting the competition and we hope you'll join us this year.
SCDNR Coyote Incentive Program
Since last year SC DNR has implemented a Coyote Harvest Incentive Program! If you are not aware of this (and registered in it) please take a look at SC DNR's site. You could win some cool stuff from SC DNR simply by shooting coyotes! Visit the Coyote Harvest Incentive Program page.
Learn more about the competition and register your team for the WeHuntSC.com 2017 Predator Challenge
See you at the check-in!
This year turkey season came in on a cool and windy Sunday morning. A cold front came in that brought some really strong wind with it and conditions were not the best for turkey hunting. On top of that we couldn’t hunt too long as we needed to head to the early church service too, Palm Sunday. Nevertheless we still wanted to give it a shot.
As most of you are aware I’ve been working on the Tech-Turkey this off-season and was ready to give it a test run. My friend Will List picked me up early and we headed to the woods. We’ve got some turkeys on the land we hunt that consistently come out in the field in the mornings.
When we parked the wind was really gusting and pollen was in the air. I didn’t know if we would be able to have any success with the wind blowing so hard. On the way into the field we found a nice shed rack which I always enjoy finding. I was hoping it would be a sign of good luck.
We set up on an island of woods that overlooks a field. I went and put the decoy out about 35 yards away from us. Once set up I logged into WeHuntSC.com on my phone and tested connectivity and movement. The turkey was moving around just as it should. We were good to go and the sun was rising.
As it became lighter in the sky we were able to see the trees swaying back and forth in the wind. We hadn’t heard a gobble in the distance and really couldn’t hear much other than the wind. Usually by this time we would have heard some gobbles in the distance. We stayed and waited it out hoping for some gobblers to come around.
Will wanted to video the turkey from his phone and he asked me to make it move. So I made the turkey move and he videoed it. We were both looking down at our phones and I looked up to see 2 coyotes coming straight for the decoy. We didn’t hear a howl or have sign of coyotes coming, they came in silent and were focused in on the decoy. The wind that had been blowing so strongly was directionally blowing across our face so the coyotes couldn’t smell us. I couldn’t believe how close in they came.
Since Will was looking down at his phone I said “Will” and I turned the camera on. Will grabbed his gun and I was videoing. The coyotes came within 35 – 40 yards of us and like 10 yards from the decoy. Will debated letting them get even closer, but if he waited we may have been leaving with a mangled up decoy. In the video you can see the coyote pause for a second and that was the moment that Will pulled his gun up. Then seconds later he shot twice and hit the coyote both times. The coyote was flat getting out of there, but Will’s 20 gauge, 5-shot wasn’t enough to bring him down. It was definitely an interesting hunt. I think the coyotes will think twice before rolling up on a turkey again though!
So as you can imagine this wasn’t the hunt we had hoped for and it’s definitely not a good sign to have coyotes aiming for turkey decoys and our turkeys in general. Though, for the part of the Tech-Turkey decoy it is a good sign that the coyotes came to it because it was realistic to them. Usually coyotes are very keen on things and it’s a positive sign that they came in.
Hopefully next time we’ll be able to get some turkeys to come in.
On the morning of August 16th I was heading into hunt. Here in the low-country deer hunting season comes in earlier than in most area. On this particular morning I was running a few minutes behind.. I rushed to grab my Cross Over Camo from of my Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle bag. The unique pattern of CrossOver Camo combined with the scenting abilities of the McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle bag meant I would be well camouflaged and smelling strongly like the scent of a pine tree. I also sprayed my snake boots down with Atsko?s scent killer to help minimize any human scent or scent from my vehicle.
My scent and gear were under control I was ready to head in. I grabbed my flash light and headed out in to the darkness. As I was walked down the edge of a corn field toward my stand I heard a loud crash just ahead of me. I shinned my light in the direction of the sound and there were two does standing in the edge of the corn looking back at me.
As I continued walking I thought to myself that this early encounter was a good sign that the deer were moving.
I arrived at my stand at 5:45. By this time I could see into the wide open field, but it was that time where the light was bright enough to see but not bright enough to make out exactly what I was seeing. Objects looked somewhat fuzzy as I scanned the edge of the field. I thought I could see movement but I wasn't sure what it was. The sun finally began to peek over the tree tops when I looked straight in front of me. I saw something moving about 150 yards away. I was getting excited to see movement since it was the second day of the season and the sight of a deer walking out in front of my stand was a sight I had not seen since in a long time. I flipped the camera on and zoomed in on the object. It turned out the animal was actually a coyote. I have never seen a coyote when I?ve been deer hunting before. I actually had to take a double take thinking maybe it was a house dog, but as it moved closer toward me I was sure it was a coyote. As I was picked up my rifle the coyote started to lie down in the field. I decided to watch it for a minute to see what it was going to do. After a few minutes of lying on the ground, I decided I was going to take the shot. Just as I was about to pull the trigger it got up and darted into the woods after the other coyote standing in the edge of the woods. I was thinking to myself I should have shot earlier while I had the chance. About 5 minutes later a bigger coyote emerged from the woods. The first coyote returned and they started playing with each other running around in circles. They played for a bit, but when the big one stopped I took the shot. I reloaded and tried to stop the other one as it ran straight toward me but I couldn't get a shot on it. I enjoyed watching them, but I?m also glad I got the opportunity to take one out. They are a big problem around the area I hunt.
I have also been filming a few deer since the start of the season. The problem I?m facing this year is the deer are walking right at dark. I can see them through my scope but it?s too dark to film a lot of the deer I have been seeing thus far. I?m going to keep after?em though and hopefully I?ll be able to get some good film in the near future.
This past weekend some of the WeHuntSC.com team members went coyote hunting with Terry Williams. Last deer hunting season we got a lot of coyotes on our game cameras and frequently see dead coyotes in the road on the way to and from a certain track of land. So, this year we decided to try to hunt some of these ?Wylie Coyotes?.
Terry's coyote decoy
Terry's custom coyote "Howl Call"