This past week I attended the 2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited banquet. This is my 3rd time attending the event and this year’s banquet did not disappoint. Robbie Boone is the Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Chapter President and he and his chapter members always run a well-organized, good eaten’, packed out event.
Every year I always look forward to the event because I know there are going to be a ton of great prizes, some awesome Jo Jo’s BBQ, and a good time with friends. If the event keeps growing they’re going to have to find another event venue. Also important to note is the reason for the event. The event was created to help raise funds for Ducks Unlimited to help protect our wetlands and to ensure the overall health of duck hunting as a sport for years to come. DU Chapters all over the country host these events and the money goes to the larger Ducks Unlimited organization. These events are what help keep duck hunting stay a managed and successful sport for outdoorsman. Along with the overarching reason for these events the banquets also provide an upbeat, entertaining environment where attendees can walk away with some great prizes.
When I arrived to the event there was a line waiting to get in the door. At that point I knew it was going to be another packed house. Upon entering the venue, the walls were lined with prizes, auction goods, vendors, and some very nice duck prints, decoys, and even corn hole boards. My favorite item that I saw was a neon green & yellow Ducks Unlimited light. I’m always inclined to like some kind of gadget and I could envision that neon light on my wall (although I’m sure my wife would have greeted me with a “Hey, um, that’s not going in this house” type response). Though, I didn’t end up going home with the neon green DU light as it went for more than I was willing to pay. However, some of my friends were more fortunate though… Derrick Outen left with a nice shotgun, Gerald Cato won a boat, and some others from the Pageland area walked away with various hunting items and gear.
I don’t know exactly the levels of funds the chapter brought in as a result of the event, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were one of the most successful chapters in the region. It was a great event, for a great cause, and everyone seemed to have a good time. My only critique is that I wish they would have dropped the AC a few more degrees lower!
Kudos to the Lancaster County DU Chapter for hosting another great event! I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.
This past weekend Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited had its 1st annual frog gig. It's the first one ever in the state and it turned out really well. Some have asked and perhaps you are reading this and wondering… why a frog gigging tournament? So before we get into the details of the competition I’d like to give some backstory to this event.
A few months ago the guys and I were at a Ducks Unlimited planning meeting sitting around thinking of ways we could raise some money for DU and we were specifically brainstorming ways we can raise support other than having a dinner banquet or a hunter’s party. We wondered what we could do to attract some new people. We had to think outside the box. After thinking a little while I said “Guys what about a frog gigging tournament?” They all kind of questioned it, but the more we read into in and studied frog gigging the more we found people doing it. And that was all we needed to get the wheels in motion.
So we all set the date and event venue. We decided to do it in July because it's hot out and the ole bull frogs would be out on the hot summer nights. We set the venue to one of the committee members’ farm and that proved to be a perfect location. The weigh-in site was a big open pole barn with a large man cave attached to it. We advertised about the frog gig a lot of folks showed interest. We were fortunate enough to have Heybo Southern donate some of their famous frog gigging tees and hats. They are a faithful supporter of our DU Chapter in all our events. So with all of the promotions and logistics set the only thing left to do was to have the event and gig some frogs!
We had 32 teams enter the contest which exceeded our expectations. We had first through third place for the 20 biggest frog and a cash pot for the biggest frog.
The Winners were as follows:
The prize packages were as follows:
Everyone I spoke with said they had a wonderful time at the event and they also mentioned that they look forward to doing it again. We made DU some good money and we all had fun doing it. And one of the best parts was that there were a lot of parent-child teams. We always love to see youth involved in the outdoors.
Thanks again to everyone who participated
This past Saturday morning my friend Chad Channell (aka “Slowpoke”) and I set out to check some duck boxes we’ve been working on. He met me at the house and we loaded up the Team Carolina Power Sports Polaris Ranger and a few supplies and headed out. If you’ve read any of my blogs thus far then you our first stop was breakfast! A lot of my friends and I love to eat at Buford’s Little General on Saturday mornings. Not only is the food great, but there's always some good discussions going on amongst the crowd.
After that wonderful breakfast we headed out to our first stop. We unloaded the Ranger and loaded a few supplies and started out toward our first duck box. After a short ride we arrived at a duck box on one of my private ponds. We walked up to the box and easily opened the lid and checked for a hen duck or the presence of any eggs. The first box showed neither so we topped it off with more shavings and moved on to the look for more boxes on the next property. The next box also showed no hen or eggs. So we made some minor adjustments to the box and again topped this one off with some more fresh shavings. We were 0 for 2 at this point, but you can’t really predict or control nature.
We then took a short ride through a freshly cut field to another pond. As we approached the box a hen flew out of it. I was excited! Slowpoke saw it as well and said “What was that?” This is his first year helping with duck boxes so he’s still learning bits and pieces here and there. I told him that it was a hen wood duck and that she was laying eggs. We opened the side door and there was a mix of feathers, shavings, and eggs. I snapped a quick picture and closed the door and we walked away. We just wanted to know if eggs were present, but we didn’t want to disturb them or bother the hen duck. We had all the info we needed at this point and we moved on.
As we got off in the distance I explained to Slowpoke why it was important to check boxes during the laying season. We try to proactively check duck boxes to help ensure that the sport we love so much will be around next year and for future generations of hunters. As hunters we can help contribute to the success of the species and this is one of the few things we can do to help. One of the reasons we check the boxes is because if a Songbird goes in the box and lays an egg the duck will abandon her nest. As you can imagine this is not a good scenario so keeping a close eye on the box can pay off. If you keep boxes checked and catch that scenario in time you can clean the nest out and usually another duck will come and use box.
We checked around 25 boxes that Saturday and had only one hen with a clutch of eggs. We were not discouraged though as it is still early at this point in the year. They usually start laying eggs around mid-March.
After checking duck boxes we walked and rode some trails on our hunting land. While exploring we found a few nice shed antlers too. All in all it was a great day and I enjoyed my time outside. My Heybo fitted hat kept the sun from burning my bald head and my WinnTuck sunglass lanyard kept my Costas in place to keep the sun out of my eyes. It was another great day in the outdoors!
Just wanted to take a minute to tell you guys bout my Arkansas duck hunting trip. We left out on a Monday morning with the truck and trailer loaded with gear. It was me and three other buddies and we set sail for Arkansas. All the information we had been given denoted that the birds were gone. I'd been watching the weather and saw where the cold front was moving down so I knew it had to be pushing waterfowl down with it.
So we drove into Mississippi on Monday evening and we stopped there for the night. We got up on Tuesday and drove on in to Dewitt, Arkansas. The Sky and waterholes were missing ducks and geese. My smile was turned to a frown. That Tuesday we got settled into the historic Schoolhouse Lodge and drove into Stuttgart to visit Macks Prairie Wings because two of my guests have never been to Arkansas so we had to visit Macks. We did our shopping and toured the town a little and headed back to the lodge for the evening.
The trip back to Dewitt showed a different outlook. There were tons of geese and ducks pouring in to fields and bodies of water that evening. I guess we had it timed right. We got up Wednesday and killed a 4 man mallard limit over some rice fields. On Thursday we got a 4 man 6 bird limit, which 1 bird was a mallard/ pintail cross over rice fields.
Got up Friday morning and did something a little different… we went goose hunting. We got a guide named “Hoot” and had to meet him at 4 am that morning. We assisted him in putting out 1200 decoys and layout blinds. Come shooting light we had our limit of specks and some snow geese in a soybean field. It was a great hunt!
Saturday morning we hunted a 900 acre private reservoir and didn't limit out, but we killed a nice mixed bag. After the hunt we packed up and headed back to South Carolina. Although the word on the street said that the birds were gone our trip ended up being a good one thanks to some colder weather pushing the birds down. It’s always good to hunt, have fun, and hang out with friends. I had a great time and we made some memories.
Below are some of the pictures from the trip
This past Saturday morning three friends and I left the house for a little North Carolina swamp (one of our honey holes) hunt around 5 am. My friend Kevin and I had scouted the hole several days before our hunt and it looked promising. We got to the hole that morning and geared up got in position. It was the calm before the storm as we were waiting for shooting light.
Once shooting light arrived we shot into several groups and had a nice harvest of green heads. Following the hunt we headed up to the historic Dukes grill and had breakfast then headed home. It was a good hunt with great friends and that’s what it’s all about.
Pictured below Robbie Boone, Kevin Stilwell, Hal Crenshaw and Ken Starnes
As the 2013/14 last season goose season came to an end, our "crew" headed out one last time. With all of the recent snow and ice, we knew it was going to be tough to get to one of our fields.
The forecast was for 90% chance of rain throughout the night and would be ending shortly after daybreak. So we hooked up to our Team WC enclosed trailer and headed out.
The weathermen were spot on this time with the weather. Once we got our decoys out, the wind picked up and the rain stopped. The wind actually got up to 25 mph. We heard a couple of flocks in the distance but never saw them. As the wind continued to blow the clouds out, the sun just popped out and had the snow shining like diamonds.
Around 8:00 we saw a single goose crossing the field at the other end. He was downwind of us and was able to hear our RNT Goose Calls. He made one wide circle and then starting cupping his wings once he saw our spread. We let him glide in to the 15 yd “in-yo-face” range and then we took him.
It was the only bird we harvested that morning and we were truly blessed to experience it here in SC and in the snow. It would have been easy to stay in bed with all the inclement weather we had, but we can say, "We never gave up". From opening day to the last day, we gave it our all. It's who we are!
Good Hunting ~ Daryl
We've been hunting with some good 'ol boys from Arkansas the last few years and have made lots of great memories. These guys are like family and have treated us as such. Taylor, Eric, Ethan, Bret, Cody, Grant, Mason, Lucas, Evan and "Delta" make up most of the "Cuttin Outdoors Crew".
Their love for the outdoors is just like ours and we really gel together. From sunrises, taking youth with limitss or not, it's all about having fun and sharing Gods Great Outdoors.
Here is some footage from this year's hunts with Cuttin Outdoors and we hope you enjoy. Stay tuned for more "Wrecking" with "Cuttin Outdoors".
Good Huning ~ Daryl
Earlier this season our "Crew" hooked up with friends Adam and Buck Cumbo of
Longhshot TV to film some waterfowl hunts for Adam’s Longshot TV show, which airs on Sunday mornings @ 11:00 WWMB21. We were invited to hunt with Jason Smothers and Justin Wrampler of Graveyard Guide Service, in Arkansas over this past Thanksgiving. We posted some initial blogs here about our hunt and now we’ve got the full episode ready to present to everyone.
We met Adam and Buck in Columbia, SC at Clothing World Sporting Goods Store and headed out for our 13 hour journey. We arrived in Arkansas just before dark and got to witness several thousand ducks and geese going to roost. You see this early on in the video here below. It was a truly amazing sight.
After we arrived we were game planning our hunts, but the weather would soon throw us a curve ball. The temperature dropped into the 20's overnight (which locked up the rice fields) so we switched to plan "B" and hunted a bayou off of a river which had some open water.
The hunt started off a little slow with the wind changing directions which made our set up more difficult to get the birds in for good TV footage. At one point, we broke out the shovels to break up more ice to give us a bigger hole, which definitely helped.
As the morning progressed so did the birds and we ended up with a great hunt with friends and family. Man we really had a great time and can't wait to get back out there with Jason and Justin.
So set back and relax, grab some popcorn and enjoy one of our waterfowl hunts with some great guys from Graveyard Guide Service.
Good Hunting ~ Daryl
As the 2013/14 Waterfowl season ended, it allowed our "crew" a few days to scout and get ready for the Youth Waterfowl Day here in SC. We scouted public water, and some of our private land, and found birds in both locations, but felt like we had a better chance of getting our buddy Ben his first duck on our private land.
Since Blake had just recently sold 'Ol Red, we loaded up his new ride "Madonna"… and don't ask me why he names all of his vehicles. We attached the hitch and strapped our Drake Waterfowl stand-up decoy bag filled with Drake Waterfowl duck decoys and some GHG Goose Decoys. Due to the freezing temperatures we kept all of our Drake Waterfowl waders in the back of the Tahoe (Madonna) to keep them toasty!
A pic of Madonna
Once we got to our location, we started our journey in through the darkness. We had to break ice going in which just added to Ben's hunt. After setting up our decoy spread it was time to get "locked & loaded".
At first light, we heard the beautiful sound of woodies, squealing through the timber. Right at legal shooting time we had two woodies come in and I told Ben to wreck 'em, and three fast shots rang out with no feathers falling. Just a few minutes later we had a single woodie come by and the three shots followed. Again, with no feathers fell. You could start to see the disappointment in his body language and the "crew" kept talking with him to keep his spirits up.
We saw a lot more wood ducks but they were either too high or too fast but we held our ground. All of a sudden Blake asked, boys do you hear that? Yes, indeed we do. A mallard hen was quacking off at a distance. Not only Ben, but the whole crew shifted into another gear. Blake and I both picked up our RNT duck calls which were hand-tuned by Butch Richenback (founder of RNT) and we started a duet of hen calls. Once we spotted her she had company, a nice big greenhead. As they started working our spread, I stopped calling and coached Ben, and Blake continued to work his RNT Daisy Cutter.
The pair circled for three times before committing and then it was wings cupped & orange feet down. I told Ben to wreck him and wreck him he did. A fat 'ol greenhead in the decoys splashing was a beautiful sight for not only Ben but to the crew as well. We all high fived, and looked at each other hollering, “Who's your Drake???”
As we drove back to Ben’s house we talked more about the hunt and you still couldn't wipe the smile off his face. We are pretty sure this one's going to the taxidermist.
We've been blessed through the years to help many hunters young & old, to harvest their first duck or goose and we were fortunate enough to be able to continue that tradition this year. These moments in the outdoors are who we are and what we live for.
Good Hunting ~ Daryl
The 2013 deer season was another great year for the "crew". We managed to harvest several nice bucks through hard work, land & deer management, and yes a little luck.
For us hunting and being in the outdoors is a way of life. It’s a year round thing rather than being seasonal as most people think about hunting. We’re chasing bucks during deer season, but we are also scouting duck hunting holes towards the end of deer season. When deer season is over we’re hunting ducks and geese and doing a little predator hunting on the side. When duck season ends we start working on food plots (for deer hunting) and we also work on our deer stands in this time of the year too. Then comes turkey season and we chase longbeards. Right after turkey season we put more time in looking for shed antler racks. Looking for sheds is another great way to scout and spend more time in God's Great Outdoors and it also gives insight as to what you can expect for the upcoming deer season. No matter what time of the year it is there is probably something you can do to prepare for the upcoming season.
So before the turkeys start gobbling and the fish start biting, head back out in the deer woods and start preparing for the 2014 deer season. September will be here before you know it!
Here are some of the rack mounts from the 2013 hunting season from the Wrecking Crew
Good Hunting ~ Daryl