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.
Coming in first place was Jimmy Bradley of Pageland, SC with a nice 4-bearded gobbler
2nd place went to Bruce Puett of Marlboro County
And 3rd place went to Tony Pope of Kershaw County
If you were a winner please contact me here through the site and we'll get you your prizes shortly!
Thanks again everyone..
Turkey hunting season is just about here for most of the state. I, and many of you, are itching for Spring to turn the corner and to get out there and chase some gobblers. And with turkey season comes our turkey competition! We're excited to be hosting our 2013 Turkey Competition this year courtesy Columbia River Knife & Tool.
We'll continue to add sponsors throughout the month so the prize packages should get better in time. Be sure to take some good pics of your turkeys and BE SURE TO HAVE THE DATE IN THE PICTURE!
You need to be registered to the site to post pictures in the competition.
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!
I just returned from a weeklong trip (where I didn?t have much connectivity) and one of the things I was interested in seeing when I returned home were the results from our 2011 SC Turkey Competitions. When I looked at our site metrics and checked the results from the competitions I saw a big surge from one city which correlated with a ton of votes for one of our entries in the Montana Decoy 2011 SC Turkey of the Year Competition! Then in our Montana Decoy Youth Turkey of the Year Competition we ended up having a pretty close finish.
So without making you read a long entry I?ll get to it! Our winner of the 2011 Montana Decoy Turkey of the Year Competition is Mark Cody from Chester SC! Mark obviously had some loyal voters because he won by a landslide with 458 votes with the nearest competitor only having 30. We saw big traffic spikes out of certain cities where Mark received votes.
Then in our 2011 Montana Decoy Youth Turkey of the Year Competition William Babb edged out Alex Carnes in a close race. William received 60 votes and Alex received 42. William hails from Marlboro County and the bird he won the competition with was the first gobbler he?s called up and harvested by himself.
Thanks to everyone for entering this year?s competitions. Without your entries and participation we wouldn?t be able to host these competitions on the site. And congratulations to Mark and William!
Now we?ve got to deliver the prizes to Mark and William so? when you read this?send me an email (clint.patterson(at)WeHuntSC.com) and we?ll work out the details!
See the results of the competitions
After a successful first weekend of turkey season hunting with Mr. Puette I was looking forward to, and hopeful about, the next weekend I would be able to turkey hunt. The weather had been tricky a little lately, but it turned out to be a nice day on Saturday. I would be venturing out with Jason Love and Mark Turner trying to track down some gobblers. And after seeing the pic of JDHeatmag?s snake that struck at him, I went and got me some snake proof boots so I was ready to roll.
We met and headed out to the hunting land. We got there a little later than when I had arrived the week before. We parked near the entrance and headed out. We walked in along some really white looking sand which made our journey in really stealth. We were listening as we walked in hoping to hear a gobble from afar. We made it in near to the area we would be hunting and we stopped and listened for a bit. We gave the turkeys plenty of time to call if they were going to call. We held up at the edge of the woods in hopes of not spooking the birds by walking in early. The crows were calling and owls were hooting, but we hadn?t heard any turkeys. Jason made some louder calls with his crow call and still nothing responded. The initial thought was that the turkeys were deeper in the woods.
We walked further into the woods and set up. Mark put two hen decoys out while Jason put a short blind around the area where I would be sitting. We all sat at the base of 3 different pine trees. Jason was to my right and Mark was to my left. Mark had a better angle on the decoys and better vision. Both Jason and Mark brought their guns just in case the turkeys came from either direction, but Mark was the ?shooter? as he was kind of out on a point overlooking the cleared out area of the woods.
As we sat down we listened for a while and Jason randomly called. We still heard no gobbles anywhere. Even though I don?t know a lot about turkey calling, Jason?s calling was sounding really good to my ears. Our senses were on high alert as we listened for any sound and scanned the floor of the woods looking for movement. About 15 minutes after we had been sitting there all of a sudden a loud sound came from behind us and to the right. The area behind us and to our right was thicker and difficult to see through, but the sound we heard was a great sound to hear! We heard the wings of a bird flapping as the bird came out of the tree. A turkey had flown down to the ground and he was close enough for us to hear his wings, but yet we couldn?t see him and he had never gobbled. I say ?he? because I?m assuming/hoping it was a big ol? gobbler. When we heard this it got us fired up, but still we couldn?t figure out why we hadn?t heard anything. I looked at Jason?s and Mark?s faces and I could tell they were paying close attention trying to figure out what was going on. They both knew we had a bird somewhere near us that was on the ground and that wasn?t making a sound.
We continued to sit patiently and waited on anything to clue us into where the bird was. He had to have heard our calling if we were able to hear his wings fly down to the ground. After a while both Jason and Mark started calling?some overlapping each other and sometimes right after each other. It sounded really good and sounded like multiple turkeys in the woods calling out. They didn?t over do it, but made enough sound to entice any big boy to come on over.
A couple of minutes later we heard a stick pop really close behind us. At first thought this was kind of a jolt that makes you cringe because you know something is there and you really can?t move to see what it was. It didn?t take long to figure out though. We heard a dog growling! Two dogs had run through the woods and when they saw the decoys they started growling at them. Jason saw them first and when we heard the growl we all turned around to see what was happening because they sounded mad and in a hurry! When we quickly turned around and made commotion the dogs got scared and high-tailed it out of there. And that was pretty much the gist of our hunt. We left shortly thereafter.
After talking about the situation we think the dogs are in that area and are bothering the birds. This may be why the bird never gobbled? because he had been chased by a dog before! Who knows, but it was a frustrating end to a good hunt! I had some really good footage of the guys calling and the setup and I was just waiting on the turkey to get in the picture too, but it never happened.
We started walking back out to the trucks. On the way out we saw some turkey tracks in that same white sand that we had walked in on earlier. Jason even noticed a turkey track that had stepped in Mark?s boot track. This meant that a turkey had crossed the same path that we walked in on and had done it after we went in the woods. The turkeys were in the area?and so were two punk dogs!
Mark headed home and as Jason and I rode back we figured we give another area a shot. We drove down the road and saw 3 different turkeys out in random fields as we drove. The turkeys were moving and we hoped for better luck and a hunt without dogs interfering! We arrived to a new location and walked down the edge of the woods alongside a dirt road. There was a field up ahead to our left that where we believed some gobblers were out strutting. So we set up in the edge of the woods hoping to call the turkeys our way instead of going out in the open and spooking them.
Me wearing CrossOver Camo on the 2nd Hunt
We sat down in some white oaks that were really near a creek bed. Jason sat to my right again and we both leaned on two oaks that were side by side. This time we had the Jake Intimidator set up hoping to cause a reaction by showing movement simulating a tom puffing up. We had him lying beside a hen decoy. We sat there and Jason started calling. We listened and listened and never heard any gobble. We were waiting patiently to hear a turkey when out of our left we saw a flicker. The flicker ended up being the movement of a doe just across the dirt road. I instantly turned the camera on and moved it to film the deer. This doe was the first of 5 deer that were heading our way.
I knew that we would have to be extremely still because the deer were coming our way. It was nearly 9:30 in the morning and the sun was out and it was shining right in there faces. The wind was blowing across our faces which meant the deer would have a tough time smelling us because they weren?t down-wind of us. The bad part was that I had my arm extended all the way out to my camera and the deer weren?t in a hurry. These deer slowly walked across the dirt road and came up the embankment where we were. It seemed to be 3 does with 2 yearlings. They walked closer and closer as they browsed the ground for stuff to eat. When they got closer one of the does saw the decoys and she didn?t like it. She started stomping the ground and got all tensed up. If you?re a deer hunter then you?re familiar with this site. I still couldn?t believe the deer got this close to us without detecting us yet.
Jason and I were whispering to each other this whole time. He said that he was going to start calling the turkey call just to see what would happen. Surprisingly when he started calling the turkey calls it didn't instantly scare the deer off. I think it may have calmed them some, but they were still in question of the decoys, but it seemed to relax the one just a bit. This whole time I was getting some great footage of these deer?and my shoulder and arm were shaking and burning about kill me!
A few minutes later I think the deer knew something wasn?t right and they bounded off back across the road. It was difficult to keep them all focused in the camera the whole time they were there. Just looking at the video you would think it should be easy, but when you?re sitting in the woods having to look in the small screen finder that was at a terrible angle for viewing since the camera was turned hard and to the left, it kind of made it difficult. Also, I?m normally able to smoothly move the camera head around when pivoting, but the I didn?t want any extra movement so the pivots are kind of jumpy because I didn?t want to spook the deer off.
So you?ll see more deer than turkeys in the video below, but nevertheless ? it was a good time in the outdoors and that?s what it?s all about!
Last season was my first season turkey hunting and I have to tell you? I really liked it. Mr. Bruce Puette was nice enough to take me on my first turkey hunt and it was a blast. He made it look easy and then we gave it a shot! We fell short a few times and learned a little bit, but by the end we were able to call some turkeys in and get them on camera. We even got one to talk back to us while using a shed antler! Now that I know a little bit more about turkey hunting and have a video camera that will actually zoom, I?m really looking forward to this year?s turkey season.
And speaking of turkey season, I just want to let everyone know it?s already decided that we will be having 2 turkey competitions in the upcoming season?a Turkey of the Year and a Youth Turkey of the Year. Yes, you will have to have the date in the picture again so get ready for it! Go ahead and think about how you are going to take your picture and be sure to carry your camera with you!
We are in communications with some sponsors and I can tell you that it?s looking like the prize packages will be good this turkey season as well! We'll post more information about the competitions in the weeks to come...
If you read these blogs then you know that we frequently monitor the site traffic to see what is going on with the metrics and to monitor our growth. We try to give periodic reports of site metrics to let readers and site visitors see who else is checking things out in South Carolina.
Turkey season did show growth in hits and we?re happy about that. From April 1 ? April 30th, in South Carolina, we had 987 visits from 60 different cities. The image below will give you a feel for the spread of hits that we received from South Carolinians.
See the detailed South Carolina report here.
On a national level we received 1,480 visits via 33 states, which is pretty good for just one month. It seems that others around the country are interested in what?s going on with the hunters of South Carolina!
The image below will give you a feel for the spread of hits we received from the national audience.
See the detailed national report here.
I also looked at the metrics from when we started back last September until now and we?ve had 10,395 visits and 77,568 page views with users spending an average of 6:53 seconds on the site. I?d say that?s a pretty good start for not even being up a year yet. So thanks to everyone who visits the site and contributes videos, photos, forum posts, blog responses, competition submissions, etc. The more traffic we receive, the better the competition prizes will be in the future.
And we keep pushing.