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