If you keep up with the blog or the SC Hog Removal page you know we’ve been getting calls from local farmers with hog problems. We’ve been staying after these hogs as it seems they can reproduce nearly as fast as we can get them off a farmer’s property. It’s a full-time job to keep them at bay and we are having fun with it.
Big & J Hog AttractantsWe have been using the Big & J hog attractants “Hogs Hammer It” and “Pigs Dig It” in combination with corn and I can tell you that the hogs do like it! When they come in they stay until all the corn is gone and leave the place looking like a tractor had plowed through it. Here again leading up to this hunt we’d put out the corn and attractants and hoped things would line up.
Labor Day WeekendI had to hang around for a day or so this Labor Day weekend and so why not see if the hogs were moving I thought. It was also the first day of deer hunting season in my game zone so I went deer hunting before dark, got some food afterwards and then headed out for hogs.
As it was a holiday weekend some of my hunting partners were unable to go, but at the same time some of my friends were back at home for the holiday. I was able to talk Garth Knight into going hunting with me. I let him know the hogs had been acting oddly lately as far as their feeding schedule so I was not sure what would happen.
A Short Hog Hunt!Garth and I set up overlooking a field that was not far from a swamp. We’d been getting hogs on camera at all hours of the night. Sometimes they would be solo and sometimes they’d be about 15 of them so I didn’t know what to expect. We got there and got setup around 9:15 or so. I was telling Garth about all the lessons we’d learned with night vision technologies, guns, and the way the hogs had been acting lately.
Every few minutes I checked the bottom of the field looking for heat signatures. We’d been there about 45 minutes when I was telling Garth about how the scope can live-stream hunts to the phone. I got up to turn the Wi-Fi on and as I looked through the scope I saw some bright spots coming through the woods. I told him they were on the way! So we finished streaming the video to the phone and just watched as the hogs approached.
I wanted to give the hogs a few minutes to ensure there were no more coming because sometimes there would be large groups trailing the hogs. So we watched the hogs eating the corn for a few minutes. Nothing seemed to be coming behind these hogs so I decided it was time to take action. I asked Garth if he wanted to shoot and he said he’d hold off this time. It took me a little bit to pick out which hog was bigger and I flipped into black hot mode once to see if that would help. Finally, I was able to figure out the hog on the left was the bigger hog and I told Garth to get ready.
A few seconds later, thanks to the Anderson Rifles AM-10 308 Hunter + Pulsar Trail XP 50, the bigger hog was on the ground! Not bad for the first day of deer hunting season right 😉
We’ve hunted in the WeHuntSC.com Predator Challenge for 7 years. We’ve hunted hard and have yielded minimal results other than being frustrated. Lately we’ve heard a lot of people telling us how effective they have been with hunting coyotes with night vision. This year we aimed to reduce frustration and get more coyotes on the ground by upgrading to a night vision setup. This journey would lead to many lessons learned, which I’ll share in the below blog entry.
After doing some research it seems most hunters are using AR’s for their choice of weapon when coyote hunting. The AR model frees hunters from having to manually chamber another shell as this is done by the gun. This allows more rapid fire at targets which is beneficial when hoping to shoot multiple coyotes … if you can get multiple to come in.
I’d recently heard about Anderson Arms having a unique AR setup. Anderson uses a nanotechnology called RF-85 on their guns that makes it to where you never have to oil the gun. It’s pretty sweet technology. I went with the Anderson Arms AM15 optic ready. If you haven’t checked it out, head on over to https://www.andersonrifles.com.
With the gun selection done it was time to move on to the scope. This meant I had to learn about night vision. It seems in the night vision world there are 2 routes one can go – infrared or thermal. I’m sure you can get into religious debates about the advantages & disadvantages of each, but in the end I chose thermal. Once I decided on thermal I needed to pick out a brand. I had previously purchased a FLIR monocular for spotting scope which I use for tracking wounded animals and ensuring I’m not spooking deer on my way in or out of the woods. It’s very handy, but not very clear. I wanted to try a different brand to see if it was any different. PULSAR seemed to be a popular brand based on the research I had done. I ended up going with the PULSAR Apex XD38.
I worked with the crew at Reel Determined Outdoors to get this rig set up. If you haven’t checked out Reel Determined or the team up there you should give them a shout.
One initial note about night-vision gear. I was surprised at how expensive these technologies are so if you’re looking for a cheap night vision solution get ready to be surprised. However, I can tell you that once you use a night vision setup for coyotes you will never go back.
Sighting In a Thermal Scope
With the gun in hand and scope mounted on it we were ready to venture into the world of thermal night vision. Before we got to shoot at any coyotes however, we needed to sight it in. This is where we really started learning some stuff.
When you take a thermal scope out and look at a target you don’t see the lines on the target. This is because the scope is responding to heat signatures and, as you would imagine, the lines on the target aren’t putting out any heat. Yes, this would seem obvious, but to some rookies we didn’t think ahead about this too much. On our first attempts at sighting this thing in we ended up cutting the center of the target out and putting up some tin foil as the tin foil maintained different temperatures and we could *vaguely see the contrast in the scope. It was all we needed to get excited and get started though.
Once inside the scope I realized that we’d have to learn the menu systems inside of the PULSAR scope. At first sight it was a little overwhelming because I had no idea what all the icons represented. Yes there is a book that comes with it explaining it and yes we didn’t really read it before getting started! In retrospect the best thing I did was watch some YouTube videos of people talking through the menu items.
The menus are not difficult to understand I was just in initial shock of trying to understand them all. The icons make sense and there are 2 menus inside of the software. Yes, software… the thermal scope is essentially a computer system on your gun that’s giving you a screen with information on it and view into the dark. As such, it does require some time to boot up when you press the on button.
The thing that is important to understand about the menu is that you zero the sights in in the menu, that it can hold “sight-ins” for 3 different weapons, and there is a reset button. Sometimes I got lost in the menus and didn’t know what I was clicking and changed the weapon number and even clicked reset. This did indeed make for a frustrating time sighting in the weapon. Once I learned what buttons not to click things got easier.
Gavin and I ended up sighting this gun in about 3 or 4 times as we learned more, messed things up, saw that our scope wasn’t tight on the gun, and figured out the menu items. Once you understand how it works sighting it in is fairly easy. Another trick that made sense was to use hot-hands hands on the middle of your target. If you want to go the extra mile, soak a pizza pan in ice-water and then put it behind the hot-hands on the target. This creates a cool circle encompassing a hot center, which in the scope creates a good contrast for you to aim at.
After several times out with the gun and sighting it in we finally started hitting the target where we wanted to… in the bullseye.
Videoing with a Pulsar Recorder
One neat thing about digital night vision is the ability to record the footage from inside your scope. Since it’s a computer, why not right? PULSAR has different models and with the more recent models the video recording capabilities are getting even better and more user friendly. Our experience with the video recorder left some to be desired and required some learning on our behalf.
The video recorder for the model scope I have is the CVR 640 and it mounts on the weaver/picatinny rail… that is it can be attached to anywhere you see the grooved sections on the gun. In my scenario this meant I could attach the recorder on the side of the scope or on the front of the gun. I initially attached it on the front of the gun because this made ergonomic sense. The recorder holds an SD card and you simply pop the SD card out to download the footage. The recorder plugs into the base of the scope and screws in tightly. The odd thing about this is that your gun literally has cables running down & around it (however you handle your cable management that is).
I was very excited to video all the coyotes we would be busting in the near future! Sure enough it wasn’t long before we had coyotes in the scope and started pulling triggers. The first time I was sure that I was recording when I shot. I looked at the video box and noticed the blue light wasn’t on anymore. How terrible luck was it for the batteries to die right before the shot! So I got new batteries.
A few hunts later the same thing happened. Did I have a bad batch of batteries or what? After 8 live-action shots that were recording, but yet failed to record I had had enough. I’d put in numerous new batteries and nothing worked… I was going to get to the bottom of this. We had some hunts coming up and I left the gun with Gavin during one of our re-sight-in attempts. Gavin and I were both doing research on this issue. Gavin noticed that even though the recorder has a weaver rail and mounts to the gun it was NOT rated for recoil. I told Gavin to remove the video recorder from the gun, put it in his pocket and record himself sighting the gun in and see if the video stopped recording. BINGO! We’d found the culprit. Gavin said the video recorder continued to record during the shots when not attached to the gun. This let us know that the video recorder will record if it wasn’t attached to the gun when shooting.
The First Coyote on The Ground With Night Vision
With multiple times to the range figuring out the sighting in process and now with the video issue out of the way we were ready to rock and actually get some footage. We had been bummed about previous footage attempts because we had some great encounters. We were about to change that.
Gavin and I were requested to help a local farmer out who has a hog problem. We had indeed gotten hogs on camera at the location and were headed in to assist. When we arrived to the location we went in to the field scanning with the monocular as we walked toward our stand. Gavin saw that hogs were already in the field. So we dropped down to a knee and just watched. Right then a coyote started howling very close to us. To our surprise the coyote howl startled the hogs and they exited the field that they had just entered. I was surprised that hogs would be intimidated by coyotes, but thinking back on it the hogs has some young ones with them and maybe their leaving the field was to protect the young ones.
I told Gavin we should go to the area on the other side of the field where there is a deer stand and just be patient. I was sure the hogs would return. We agreed and slowly retreated to the other area of the field. We were just sitting there talking letting time pass when coyotes started howling very loudly again. This time there were more than one howling. We were hog hunting, but we did have the coyote call in the truck. Frustrated at the situation Gavin said “I’m going to the truck to get the call”.
After returning back from the truck Gavin set the call up and said “Get in the gun because when I hit this call they are going to come in”. So I did as Gavin instructed and turned the scope on.
If you’re wondering why my scope would even be off… night vision and thermal optics flat eat batteries. If you’re going thermal do yourself a favor and order the extended battery pack so that you are not like me and have to carry around packs of batteries in your pockets and constantly replace them.
Back to the story... Gavin told me to get in the scope and I did just that. Gavin played some coyote whimpers and a coyote duet, new sounds we’d just downloaded to the FoxPro before leaving. I was scanning left and Gavin was scanning right. We stopped the calls and it was quiet, crisp, and clear out. Nothing responded… no howl backs, no barks, nothing. Then all of a sudden Gavin whispered “There he is” and at that I turned to the right and saw a coyote crossing my face from right to left. I followed this coyote waiting on it to pause so that I could squeeze the trigger. Gavin said “What are you doing turn right turn right”. What we didn’t know until afterwards was that Gavin didn’t see the coyote I saw. He had seen another one, a bigger one, to our right. I told Gavin “Shut up” and he said “There’s a big one here on the right”. I said “Make him stop, say something, bark” and he responded “A big one on the right”. It was not easy to pull the scope off the one I was following and turn right, but I did. What I saw was indeed a larger coyote on our right. I put the crosshairs on him and squeezed off. I could tell from the video that I hit him! I then swiveled back left and got back on the coyote that I had seen earlier. It paused just enough and I dropped it on the spot.
It all happened so fast. My heart was pumping and adrenaline was racing, but one thing was for sure. We definitely had the scope sighted in correctly this time. And when I pulled the video recorder out of my pocket it was still recording! We had footage to review!
We looked and looked for the first coyote, but could not find it. We think it ran off and died somewhere, but we did recover the second coyote and got some pics. Man it was a fun hunt.
And now you can re-live the hunt with us in the below video:
Tips For Hunting With Thermal Night Vision
Throughout this process we’ve learned a good deal about AR-15’s, night vision scopes, PULSAR, and recording video. Here’s a list of things we’ve learned and hopefully they are helpful to you in some way:
It’s been relatively warm in our area of South Carolina thus far this year, but this past weekend we had the first cold snap of the season. And that’s all our family needed to get pumped up to go deer hunting!
I guess I should back up a little though… We live in Chesterfield County tucked just inside the SC line right along highway #9. Just across the NC line a new outdoor store called Reel Determined Outdoors has opened and people from our town have slowly been checking it out. Last Friday I went up to the store and learned that they were hosting deer competitions so I signed me and my son up! I signed myself up in the adult division and I signed my oldest son up in the youth division!
Reel Determined was giving away cash for the biggest buck and biggest doe in the adult division and a crossbow for the biggest buck and biggest doe in the youth division! Needless to say this had us pumped up even more to go hunting and to harvest a great deer!
Saturday morning finally arrived we all got up early and put enough clothes on to keep us warm with the freezing temperatures. Caiden, my oldest son who is 8 years old, wanted to hunt a tripod stand where he had killed some does earlier in the year. Yes, he hunts by himself with a 308 rifle! Over the past few years we have worked hard with him to learn about hunting and firearm safety and the right and wrong of a firearms.
His papaw Tim took him to his stand and got him situated. His Uncle Cody, his Papaw, and myself went and got in our stands that pretty much surrounded him. We specifically told Caiden not to shoot anything unless its body was bigger than the deer he shot earlier this year. We told Caiden that the bucks should be moving and to try to hold off on a doe if he could stand it.
In the stand it was cold and I just knew one of us was going to be successful. I got in my stand and had been sitting there for about 20 minutes and I decided to hit the grunt call! It worked just like it was supposed to. A nice buck with a one side of his horns broke off came running in like clockwork. I froze up and didn’t know what to do!! I pulled up on him and clicked the safety off but just couldn't bring myself to shoot the deer because I couldn't see exactly how big he was! Oh what a mistake after the fact. Yea I so wish I would have pulled the trigger but hey the good Lord has bigger plans for me!
My morning didn’t go so well. The rest of the morning I didn’t see or hear much until about 7:30am when I heard Caiden shoot! I was so happy and thought sure he had killed a monster! So I took off towards him and I find his Uncle Cody there also wanting to go see why he had killed. We got to him and asked what did he get and he tells us “I don't know but it’s a lot of meat for the freezer!” Oh Jesus not what I wanted to hear!
We went down to where he shot and we find a 112 pound doe! Yep he couldn’t stand it long enough to hold off for a buck, but I’m sure we all remember those days. And in retrospect I’m so glad he took the deer.
We got the deer loaded up and took it up to Reel Determined Outdoors to be weighed in for the competition. They weighed it and put his name on the board and at that time he was in first! We were going back Saturday afternoon to try and get on the board again but it didn’t work out for us! After our afternoon hunt, Caiden's papaw and his uncle took him up to Reel Determined to see if he had won.
They called me at 8 pm and told me that Caiden had won and he got a Carbon Express Covert Crossbow! Wow what a setup! They told him to come back and get it sighted in and instructed on how to use it. Of course on Monday we were on our way right back up there to get it all taken care of so he could shoot it. The guys at Reel Determined Outdoors were so professional and patient with us. They gave us a Crossbow 101 and I am very pleased with everything. If you get a chance you should really stop by and see them. Not only do they have a nice store, but they are willing to help you with any of your hunting and fishing needs.
And we sure do have one happy young crossbow hunter in our house now. Thanks Reel Determined Outdoors!
If you are in the Rock Hill, SC area and like to hunt then you've probably heard about (or been to) Nichols Store. Nichols Store is a corner store that has transformed into a 1-stop-shop for all things hunting. Need a deer stand, rifle, scope, seed, bad-boy-buggy, deer processor, corn, clothing, boots, etc., etc… they have it all. Though this blog entry is not so much to talk about the products available at Nichols Store, but rather to focus on 2 customer service experiences that are the reason I keep going back. Nichols Store is on the south side of Rock Hill which makes it the furthest trip for me. I drive right past Dick’s Sporting Goods and the new Academy Store and keep driving about 10 minutes just to get there. And there is a reason for me not minding those extra miles so let’s get to it.
Last year my wife got me a gift card to Nichols Store for Christmas. I held on to this gift card and didn't use it until turkey season was just about to start up. I drove down to Nichols and bought several items and when I checked out the young lady at the register told me that beyond my gift card I still owed $60 dollars. I did find this odd, but didn'tthink too much about it as I hadn't really added everything up in my head. I was more excited about using my gift card and knew I was saving money so I just handed her my credit card and she charged me $60 and I was on my way back to the house.
Later that evening I got a call from a number I didn't recognize in Rock Hill so I just let it go to voice-mail. When I checked the voice-mail it was the bookkeeper from Nichols Store. She left me a message saying that she was running numbers and realized that they overcharged me $60 dollars and that I could come back down or she could send me another gift card. I opted for the new gift card, but when I heard that message I knew that there were some good people at Nichols Store as they definitely didn't have to call me to give me money back. I’m sure many of you know that this was the right action to take, but you would probably also agree that good business practices aren't always common place this day in time. I was glad to know that honesty prevailed in this situation and I won’t forget it anytime soon either.
Seeing as how I’d had a good experience at Nichols Store I returned several times throughout the spring & summer buying mineral licks & trophy rocks for some of the bucks I’m working on this deer season. During one of my trips I saw a pistol that I liked and after doing some research I went back and bought the pistol. It was a 9mm Springfield EMP and man is it nice. It just feels good in your hand and is also concealable. I did like many of you probably would and went to shoot it the day after I bought it. I took it out with a friend of mine and on the 3rd shot the gun jammed. Odd. We got the gun unjammed and then shot it again and it kept jamming. This was rare for a Springfield and it got to where the action wouldn't even totally close when it had bullets in it. I called Nichols Store up and we took the gun back the next day. The gun specialist at the store agreed that this was abnormal and that the pistol should not be jamming like it was. Nichols sent the gun back to Springfield Armory and I waited on the returned pistol.
A few weeks later I got a call from Nichols saying my pistol was back and that it had been worked on and had new parts in it. So I went back down to Nichols to pick up the pistol. When I talked to the guy at the counter he told me that I’d need to pay $20 in shipping and noted that it wasn't Nichols Store fault for the gun jamming. Well it definitely wasn't my fault! So I told him I wasn't going to pay for the shipping and that Nichols should I push that cost back on Springfield. He really couldn't disagree with me since he knew I’d just walked out of the store 2 days earlier with the gun. At this point we went and found the store manager who instantly corrected the situation and said not to worry about. I wasn't too upset with the guy at the counter because he was just doing his job. Once the situation made it to management then the correct action was taken. I walked out of the store with the updated pistol and it’s been working fine since.
In both of these scenarios the people at Nichols Store ultimately made the situation right. That’s what sticks out to me because it didn't have to happen and that’s the reason I’ll keep going back. Good customer service is not easy to find in today’s day and time, but when you find it… it makes all the difference in the world.
Beyond the good customer service experiences I also see Nichols Store proactively engaging with hunters and outdoorsmen. They are always at every trade show or hunting event that you can find. They are avid supporters of the local Ducks Unlimited Chapter and they interact with hunters online on FB, Twitter, and anywhere they can find.
When I look at all these factors combined I see an organization that cares about their business and the community they support. They could easily have wronged me in those 2 situations and went on with things, but they didn't. They could also not be supportive of local organizations and reach out to hunters like they do. The care factor + the support of the hunting community are what makes Nichols Store different to me.
So if you’ve haven’t been to Nichols Store, be sure to check it out if you’re in the Rock Hill area and be sure to tell them that WeHuntSC sent you!
Hello everyone! It's been a while since I have posted and just this past week something hit very close to home. The article below happened right across the river from our hunting land in Laurens County. We have killed a few hogs on our own land so this was very scary. My Dad called the Laurens County Department Health Department to confirm this and called our Game Warden we are friends with who said this type of disease 'brucellosis' is all over the state of South Carolina with hogs. I highly recommend you all read it and take the necessary precautions when hog hunting. What are your thoughts?
Man Hospitalized With Illness After Hog Hunting Trip
There is more in the air than just a little chill. There is an excitement that only the opening of duck season can bring.
This year, we have an added element to amp up the fast approaching season. On November 5, 2011, Sandhills Ducks Unlimited would like to invite you to the 1st Annual Conservation Banquet held at Windy Hill Manor in Pageland. The night will begin at 6:00 pm with a buffet dinner served at 7:00 pm. A live auction will start between 8:00 and 8:30 pm. There will be a silent auction, many door prizes and raffle prizes. There will also be an all you can eat BBQ buffet and an open bar. The auction will consist of DU premium artwork, many guns, hand carved decoys, several hunts, sculptures, knives, jewelry, hunting accessories, and greenwing merchandise. Wrecking Crew Guide Service and Quack ?Em Back Duck Calls & Merchandise will also be set up as vendors at the banquet. Blake Hodge, duck and goose calling champion, will be giving a calling demonstration. It will be an entertaining evening with family, friends, fellowship and lots of fun!
All proceeds benefit the conservation of wetlands across America. Since 1989, DU has conserved nearly 160,000 acres across the Palmetto State, investing more than $40,000,000.00 in South Carolina projects through DU and its partners. During the past year we conserved 2,034 acres through conservation easements and habitat restoration projects on Santee National Wildlife Refuge, ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, and Botany Wildlife Management Area.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 6:00 pm
Windy Hill Manor
158 High Point Church Road
Pageland, SC 29728
$35.00 single ticket / $65.00 couple ticket / $20.00 greenwing ticket
*Includes annual membership
Tickets may also be purchased online here.
For more information, please contact me at (843)622-4938.
We look forward to seeing you all there!
Buck Yum Trophy Feed and Supplement Mixture
On an afternoon in late September, I pulled my truck into a nondescript warehouse in Waxhaw, NC. Waiting for me inside was my childhood friend Robert Burns, co-owner of Buck Yum. I hadn't seen Robert in at least a half-dozen years. The last time I saw him was over in our old neighborhood in Charlotte, which he was using as a base of operations for selling tree stands. Robert and I spent an hour or so catching up on the events of the past few years, telling each other about our families and reminiscing about some of the old times we had spent together hunting while we were growing up. I left his warehouse with a couple of hundred pounds of Buck Yum in the back of my truck.
The first time I used this new feed, I scattered a fifty pound bag around a small food plot on my lease, taking note of the extremely strong scent of peanuts that was present in the feed. After pouring it out, I quickly got in a box blind for the evening hunt. Before long, an extremely strong storm system passed through the area, and my food plot was soon a mass of mud and muck, and no deer appeared. The feed washed away in the rain, and I was extremely disappointed as I headed home - not in the product itself, but in the fact that I'd wasted fifty pounds of it.
The following weekend, I went back down to my club and used two more bags to fill up a pair of feeders that I had in different spots on the property. I chose to wait a week before hunting those stands. When I returned the following week, I was amazed at how different the ground around my feeder looked. Before Buck Yum, there had been some obvious signs of animals feeding, but the difference now was quite distinct. The ground around the feeder had been swept clean of pine needles, as you can see in the picture below. A week after that, there were green shoots coming up where some of the smaller elements of the feed had taken root and had sprouted, adding yet another reason for deer to come to the feeder.
My trail cameras showed a variety of deer coming to both feeders, and I knew that Buck Yum was a hit. Last week, I went to a stand that has not had a bit of Buck Yum near it all year, and I poured ten pounds out on the ground seventy yards from the feeder. Literally twenty minutes after I poured it out and got in my stand, a doe appeared and went directly to the feed. She started eating it, and within another five minutes she was dead on the ground, victim of my 7mm magnum. My experience with Buck Yum has been extremely positive, and I'll be replenishing my supply at the first opportunity. Congratulations to Robert Burns and Brad Hoover on an excellent product.
Garmin Montana 650 GPS
Over the last decade, I've owned a steady stream of Garmin GPS units. My first experience with Garmin's products was an iQueue 3600 Palm Pilot GPS unit, which did an extremely good job providing directions on the road, but it did not have any off-road maps available and was thus useless in the deer woods. I replaced it with a Garmin Colorado, which I liked quite well. The screen was extremely readable in broad daylight, and it was very accurate when it came to marking waypoints.
The unit's software was somewhat lacking, and when the Oregon product line came out, Garmin did not provide any firmware updates for the Colorado for quite some time. I liked my Colorado, but wanted some of the features of the Oregon, so I sold the Colorado on eBay and upgraded to an Oregon 400T. This was another great unit, and was well supported by the Garmin team. The main issue with it was that the screen was much harder to read in daylight.
When Garmin announced the Montana lineup, I sold my Oregon and ordered a Montana from the REI store up in Charlotte. It took a couple of months to arrive, but when it did, I had found the GPS that I was looking for. The unit has an extremely solid feel, and the large touch screen is easily visible in the daylight.
This GPS is not, however, for everybody. It's quite bulky when compared to some of the other units on the market. I like the bulkiness of it myself; it's very rugged and fits well in my hand. It's got a built-in camera, but I would only use that when I don't have my normal camera with me. The pictures that it takes are fine, but I'm more interested in the GPS itself rather than the camera. Another downside is that there have been at least six firmware updates in the last three months. That's quite a lot, and it indicates that there are several bugs in the software. However, it also shows that Garmin is serious about supporting the unit, and is actively developing fixes. Most of the issues that have been fixed involve Geocaching, which I don't do, and I personally have not experienced any problems with the unit.
Having said all of that, I'm extremely happy with this GPS, and hope to get many years of service out of it. I carry it in my backpack every time I go hunting, and have used it to mark all of my stands and all of the roads on my lease. I'm using Energizer Lithium batteries, and I am on my second set after 4 months of average usage. The unit also functions well for on-road navigation provided that you purchase the appropriate City Navigator maps. If you buy the auto-mount base, you'll also get voice directions with the unit.
When it comes to flashlights, I'm something of an enthusiast. For the last ten years, I've carried a Surefire 9P light in my Jeep, and whenever I've gone hunting I've stuck it in my backpack for easy access. A week or two ago, I went to get my oil changed. As always, I took the Surefire from the little slot that it fit perfectly in on my Jeep's shifter area and stuck it in the center console. When I went to get it out later that night, it was gone, likely stolen by an employee of the oil change place. After calling the York County sherriff's office to ask them how to proceed, they said to go back over and talk to the oil change place along with a police officer. I did this, and we failed to recover my light. Fortunately, the owner of the place was more than willing to pay me for it, so I left with a check to cover the cost of the 9P along with the LED replacement head that I had installed.
When I went to order a new one, I found that the 9P was no longer in production. I decided to shop around. I've got a Fenix headband light which is incredibly powerful and flexible, so I decided to give them a try on their handheld lights. I ended up ordering three lights... an E-20 for my wife, an E-21 for my Jeep, and a TA-20 for my backpack.
I 've been using the lights ever since, and thought I'd share my findings. The E-21 has a max output of 150 lumens. While not as bright as my old 9P, it uses standard AA batteries and fits pretty well in the same slot that my Surefire did. It's a good enough replacement, and does the job that I need it to do. Turning the head of the light slighty will select beween the bright and dim settings. I've got a stanard set of Duracells in the light right now, but the instructions do suggest using a high quality set of rechargable batteries. I'll be giving that a try in the near future.
The TA-20 light has a really solid feel to it, and at 220 lumens is 10% brighter than my old Surefire, even when I had the high-output head attached. It's got 4 times the life at full power than the Surefire did. The light uses CR-123 batteries and has an easy-to-use selector ring to adjust the output from four lumens up to the full 220 lumen mode. The low level mode is great for use in the dark in a deer blind. It gives you just enough light to see without being bright enough to alert the deer of your presence. This light is definitely going to be a keeper.
Over the course of the Food Plot Journey we?ve been demoing the GroundHog MAX as well as planting a lot of Tecomate Seed. We?ve demonstrated that average Joes (and rookie food plot web people like myself) can even use these products and get a decent food plot to come up. All of the products that we?ve used can be purchased online, but recently a new outdoor store right across the NC line opened up that carries these products and more!
The Springs Wild Game Center is located in Mineral Springs, NC and is run by Bryan McCarver. The Wild Game Center is a sister company to the local Feed and Seed company in Mineral Springs. It takes about 25 minutes to get there from Pageland and is also not a bad ride from Buford or Lancaster. It sits right off of highway 75 just across the train tracks. The store is relatively new and is really nice. From cities like Pageland?s perspective, it beats driving an hour to Rock Hill or to a store in the Greater Charlotte area and it?s a nice ?country? drive along the way (Google Map to Springs Wild Game Center).
The Wild Game Center carries both fishing and hunting products and is also going to carry guns in the near future. As I mentioned, the store hasn?t been open too long and has some plans for some really neat things such as an archery course and even a 3d archery course?so it?s good now and will only get better in time. The Wild Game Center is also one of the few places where you can find another emerging product in ?BuckYum?.
We had some WeHuntSC.com decals up there earlier, but they?re out now. We?re working to get some vinyl decals offered permanently in the store as well. Best of all you can go there and pick up a GroundHog MAX or a McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag and even some TrueTimber camo! You can give it a look and touch/feel it before you buy if you want. Bryan and the guys at the store can also get any flavor of Tecomate Seed that you want.
If you?re on the NC/SC border then you ought to give the Springs Wild Game Center a look at some point. We like to use our site to promote good places and good people and this place definitely meets both of those criteria! If you go, be sure to tell them that you heard about them from WeHuntSC.com! Once the 3d range gets set up I?m going to go back and shoot some video of the place to give you a feel for what it?s like too!
As you read from my previous blog entries, I?ve been duck hunting in a couple different swamps the past few weekends. I took my camera to record the hunts and I also took my tripod to steady the camera for various shots. After looking at my videos and pics, I realized that I need to camouflage my tripod a little because it was sticking out like a sore thumb. When I?m deer hunting, I usually have my camera behind some burlap, camo cloth, or clamped to a piece of wood. In those settings it usually works out well, but in more open settings like duck hunting it would be better if I could camouflage the tripod some.
The legs of the tripod go inside each other so I don?t want to bother the lower sections for fear that they would not extend smoothly or become tough to deal with. Many times I?m sitting on the ground or in a low spot and don?t need to extend the tripod out the whole way anyway. My first thought was to spray paint the top section of the tripod with black, green, brown, and grey paint which I guess could work, but I?m not sure if it would hold up over time with as many scratches and wear & tear that I?ll undoubtedly put it through. Would it be sticky, smell, rub off on clothing or my hands??? These questions were running through my mind when I thought about painting the tripod. It could work, but I didn?t want to risk messing the tripod legs up so I held off.
Later in the week I went to Dick?s Sporting Goods and found something that was the perfect fit. I picked up two rolls of camouflage tape. I used both kinds, but it was obvious that Hunter?s Specialties camo tape product called No-Mar Camo Gun & Bow Tape was the one to go with. I?d never tried any camo tape on anything before, but this stuff got the job done. I used both kinds of tape, but the No-Mar tape holds a lot better than the other (which I can?t remember the name of now), is more durable, and tears better. One roll cost $7 and I came home and covered the non-moving parts of the tripod and it looks really good. I went in circles on the first leg then realized that going vertical gave a better, smoother presentation. So on two legs it looks really good and not as good one the other! Though, I was really pleased with the overall outcome. I shot a short video and sent it to a couple people and some of them thought that I had bought a tripod that was painted camouflage! Obviously that is a good sign as it had them fooled! Hopefully it will also confuse any deer/ducks in the woods or swamps in the hunts to come.
Below is a video of the tripod after applying the Hunter?s Specialties No-Mar tape
Get you some Hunter?s Specialties camo NO-Mar tape and cover whatever you?ve got that?s making you stick out!