Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
If you’ve been a member of WeHuntSC.com for any amount of time then you know that change is somewhat constant. As technology evolves and new functionality becomes available I’m constantly working on and tweaking something with the site. Well the time came again where the site needed to be upgraded, updated, and leverage some new functionality.
In order to stay current the software that runs the site needs to be updated. I’ve updated the software to the latest version which should give us some speed & security improvements.
Spam User Blocking
We were getting hit with some spam account creation towards the end of last year. I’ve taken some steps to block the spam users from creating accounts. If you ever get friend requested from a spam user, please let me know.
Photo & Video Galleries
Users like the “Activity Stream” on the home page + Photo Galleries so I’ve updated the site with a photo gallery that will update the Activity Stream whenever images are posted. Going forward, whenever you want to post a picture you will no longer do it in the home page activity stream, but rather in the Pics section. When you post a picture in the Pics section it will automatically update the Activity Stream with a reference to your photo. Pictures can also be rated and each picture has comments available too. I also added a few “Recent” pics areas to the right of the home page activity stream to make it easy & quick to see recent visuals uploaded by users. Also, video continues to become popular among hunters. Each year more and more hunters carry video cameras into the woods. Once posted to YouTube the videos can easily be added to the site on the “Videos” page. I look forward to seeing some of your videos from this year.
With this update I’ve migrated all blog data to a new integrated blogging system. This system provides more flexibility for authors and previous blog entries should be a little easier to find within the blogging section of the site.
Fixed Data Corruption Affecting Search
Until I started the upgrade process I didn’t know there was any data corruption within the site. Soon though it became apparent that several blog entries and other site content was not being returned in the site search. I dug around the database and found the issues and have corrected them in this release of the site. Now all site content should be accurately returned in search.
All hunting resources and competitions still remain as well.
So What Was Removed?
In the last update both Group functionality and Gaming Mechanics were provided but neither were widely adopted and leveraged by site members. So I’ve removed those to reduce clutter and focus on the things that site members really like such as the visual aspects of the site – Photos, Videos, & Blogs and of course the competitions.
Still to Come
There are still some things that need to be updated and I’ll continue to work on that. I’m still working on a Q/A or Message Board functionality, but at this point I needed to turn the new site on. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks/months. In the meantime, hope you enjoy the new functionality.
As many of you know we had a booth & gave presentations on coyote hunting at this past year’s Sportsman’s Classic . While at the show I met a guy from an organization called “American Hunting Lease Association (http://ahuntinglease.org)”. Their COO, Sean Ferbrache came by the booth and connected with us. It initially took me a bit to understand what services they provide, but once I saw the light it made sense.
If you are a land owner who is hesitant about leasing your hunting land or if you are a hunting club who wants a written agreement between your club and a land owner then the information in the below video will be helpful to you. So without trying to explain everything in text here in this blog I’ll let Sean’s interview explanation do the talking. Ultimately I just wanted to make everyone aware of their service in the case that you have a need for it.
This past weekend we had a booth at the 2015 SCDNR Sportsmen’s Classic and we also gave 3 presentations (one each day) on coyote hunting. We had been looking forward to the Classic and preparing for some time so it was good to see March finally roll around. At the event there were hundreds of booths set up and there were products, services, and speakers of all types. It was really amazing and it was also a well organized event.
You can see our booth setup below:
Activity at the Booth
We had a lot of good traffic by the booth. Since we don’t do a lot shows there were numerous individuals we met who had never heard of WeHuntSC.com before. We had the coyote competition promo video playing on repeat (shout outs to Yellow Cape Communications for some awesome video work) and as people walked by they would see the video and hear the howl of the coyote and check things out. Several coyote hunters said they’d never heard of the competition and that they would definitely be entering it this coming year and some even said they would be the next winners!
One thing that was really amazing to me was to see how many farmers, turkey hunters, and deer hunters stopped by our booth and showed pics of dead coyotes on their phones. These people weren’t specifically coyote hunters yet they had pics of them on their phones. Regardless of the type of hunter nearly everyone at the show had pics of coyotes and I think that is very telling. We all recognize that coyotes are prevalent across the state and to see the evidence first hand from outdoorsmen from around the state just validated it for me.
We even had people stop by and thank us for what we’re doing… that is trying to work to raise awareness for what coyotes are doing across the state & motivate people to start hunting coyotes. Several individuals shook our hands and told us to “Keep up the good work”. Overall we had a good location with good foot traffic and the booth side of the show was a good experience for everyone.
Celebrities at the Event
There were also a number of celebrities or famous people on TV at the event. The crew from Lizard Lick towing were on hand, Captain Wild Bill from the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" was there, and Bruce from "Swamp People" was there as well. We were even able to get a quick pic of Sam with Bruce.
Each day at the event we also gave sessions on “Intro to Coyote Hunting”. We had an average of 22 people at the sessions and the sessions seemed to go well. We fielded lots of questions and you could definitely sense the feeling that the people in the room really cared about the coyote problem. We provided background information on coyotes and also tips on how to get started hunting coyotes. I’m going to post some subsequent blogs on each topic we covered in the presentation later this week. We also had a few organizations inquire about if we would speak to their groups about coyote hunting. If you are interested in that then please let us know and we can line something up.
See You Online & At The Check-In
We were glad to be able to participate in the 2015 Sportsmen’s Classic. It was great to meet a lot of new hunters and connect with other outdoor organizations in the state. We hope to be able to do it again sometime. In the meantime we’ll see you online at WeHuntSC.com & hopefully at next year’s Coyote Competition check-in!
Come See Us at The Sportsmen’s Classic
If you’re an outdoorsmen in South Carolina there are a few events that you definitely know about and the SCDNR sponsored Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic is one of those events. We’re excited to announce that this year WeHuntSC.com will have a booth and we’ll be speaking 3 times during the event. If you are a member of the site please stop by and hang out a while, we’d love to connect with you. We've even got thousands of free WeHuntSC.com bumper stickers to give away as well.
Promoting the Predator Challenge!
As you are most likely aware, there are speaker sessions that happen all day long throughout the event. We are speaking at one of those sessions and it’s all about raising awareness about coyotes and coyote hunting as well as promoting our annual Predator Challenge. If you’re new to coyote hunting you’ll definitely want to check it out. If you just want to see some cool videos and make funny faces at us from the back of the room while we present feel free to come by as well :-)
We hope to see you at the Classic this weekend!
The 2015 Predator Challenge was yet another successful event. Every year we’ve seen the competition grow in participation. This year we set another record with 52 teams and 183 hunters participating across the state. Thanks to everyone for joining in on the hunt and to the sponsors who make the competition possible. Also, thanks to my fellow organizers Gavin Jackson and Robbie Boone for all the hard work and dedication to keeping the competition running. Without everyone getting involved the competition wouldn’t be possible.
This year’s weather brought a lot of rain with it on Friday, which made it tough on everyone. Teams were posting on the site, on Twitter, and on Facebook throughout the weekend talking about how tough the hunting was on Friday. However Saturday and Sunday brought clear skies and cool temperatures that offered good hunting conditions. The majority of the hunters at the check-in commented that they did their best on Saturday & Sunday..
HELP MAKE THE COMPETITION BETTER BY TAKING THIS SURVEY
While there were hunters all around the state participating and posting pics of solo coyotes, bobcats, and foxes every team did not show up at the check-in. This always happens and every year there are people who stay home and if they would have showed up they would have won something! Nevertheless we did have a good crew on hand at the check.
The total tallied stats from the check-in were:
1st Place: "Pred Headz" (Hunter Traywick, Maurice Hinson, Dustin Hicks, & Doug Hinson)
Predators Checked In: 2 coyotes, 1 bobcat, 1, grey fox
Counties Hunted in: Chesterfield & Kershaw
2nd Place: "Carolina Dog Killers" (Smitty Mcwhorter, Scotty Mcwhorter, Cody Ahlstrom, Chandler Cathy)
PredatorS Checked In: 1 coyotes, 2 bobcats, 1 grey fox
Counting Hunted In: Union County NC, Chesterfield County SC
3rd Place: Dead Meat Militia (Charlie Byrd, Cory Byrd, Myron Byrd, Chance Huckabee)
Predators Checked In: 2 coyotes, 1 grey fox
Counties Huntined In: Darlingon, Chesterfield
Big Dog Award: Moonlight Mafia (Jake Horton, Hunter Horton, Robbie Burch, Travis Sanders)
Coyotes Weight: 33.15lbs
Thanks again to everyone for participating… we’ll see you again next year for the 2016 Predator Challenge..
I like Thanksgiving and look forward to it every year. Thanksgiving equals spending time with family and counting blessings, relaxing, eating too much, and … hunting! Last year on Thanksgiving Day I lucked up and got a nice 8 point buck. I blogged about the really cold hunt and titled the blog “Thanksgiving 8 Point”. Well, continuing the streak of luck this year on Thanksgiving Day I got a nice 9 point buck. Accordingly this blog entry is titled “Thanksgiving Day 9 Point”.
Just as last year this Thanksgiving brought with it cold weather. Though, this year the ground was not completely frozen on Thanksgiving morning. It had rained a lot in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and had just finally cleared up. I have deer stand down in some really thick woods that I hadn’t hunted much this season and with bucks still making scrapes in the area I figured I would give it a shot. In most of my hunting locations I have shooting lanes cut and have good visibility. Though, in this location I hadn’t cut any shooting lanes and I knew that any shot I took would be a tight one.
I got to the stand really early. With the stand being in some thick woods I wanted to get there and let the noise of my entrance have plenty of time to die down before prime hunting time arrived. With all the leaves on the ground I did make some noise on the way in, but luckily I didn’t make too much as the leaves still had some moisture from all the rain of the previous 3 days. The wetness of the leaves helped dampen and absorb the sound some.
After I got situated in the stand I noticed that the wind was blowing fairly strong. I thought to myself that I was probably wasting my time with such a strong wind blowing. As the sun slowly started to rise I could hear the duck hunters cutting loose in the distance. Mixed in with the sound of the duck hunters’ shots were loud turkey gobbles. I don’t often hear turkeys gobbling in the fall, much less when it’s really cold and windy. For whatever reason though the turkeys were hammering too.
Once the sun got up I heard a few rifle shots in the distance. I figured that nature must have the animals moving if the turkeys were gobbling, duck hunters were shooting, and then rifles shots were being fired. I scanned the view from my stand from left to right looking for movement. With it being so thick I would be lucky to see anything and even luckier to get a shot off in this area packed tight with oak, cedar, and pine trees. Then just before 7am I saw something move down in front of me about 85 yards out. The wind had been blowing leaves off trees and the flicker of falling leaves had been catching my eye. Initially I thought the movement I saw was just another leaf falling. I kept looking and then I saw a leg move in between two branches. My heart started beating a little, but at that point I couldn’t tell whether it was a buck or a doe. I put my rifle up on the shooting rail of the stand and tried to find the deer in the scope. I looked in the direction where I saw the leg move, but couldn’t find anything in the scope. All I could see was trees. It seems that this is a common occurrence for me… being able to see the deer with my naked eye then not being able to find them in my scope. I had to look into the scope and raise back up out of the scope several times before I was able to find the deer. During this up and down movement my bleat call fell out of my pocket and landed in the foot rest of the stand! I knew for sure I spooked the buck as it was heavy plastic falling directly on metal. It was loud, but in between the leaves rustling in the wind and the deer being far out it somehow luckily didn’t spook him. It probably took less than a minute to find him in the scope, but man it seemed like forever.
Once I finally found the deer in my scope I could only see a portion of him… then he put his head down and disappeared momentarily. Now that I had him in the scope I needed to make sure he was a shooter. I didn’t want to shoot a small buck so I kept watching the area the deer was in through the scope. He raised and turned his head to look behind him. When he made this movement I saw the main beam on his rack and saw how tall and wide it was. Then my heart really got going. The deer was not in a hurry and was pawing at the ground. He took a step forward and I saw his rack move in a gap in between two trees. He was indeed a shooter! I zoomed my scope in and had it zeroed in on his neck. I didn’t want to make a neck shot on the deer (though some would argue that neck shooting is a good tactic), but the thought did cross my mind. I was looking down in between trees and branches in a shooting “window” that was about the size of basketball. I debated shooting the deer because there wasn’t a better shooting lane that the deer would progress to and I also didn’t know which direction the deer would travel. Then the deer took a small step forward and I could only see his neck and the base of his shoulder. I thought to myself that I may never get any other opportunity on this deer and I pulled the trigger. As soon as I pulled the trigger the deer turned, put his white tail up, and bounded into the distance. I didn’t see the deer kick or do anything awkward signaling that he got hit, but I felt that I made a decent shot. All I could do was to sit in the stand and to try to calm down and hope that the bullet didn’t hit a branch as it traveled through the small window of opportunity.
I sat in the stand for a few minutes to calm down and ensure my gun’s safety was on and to listen to see if I heard the deer crash or thrash any. I didn’t hear anything and after a few minutes I climbed down out of the stand and walked in the direction where the deer was when I took the shot. As I walked down I was replaying the scene over and over in my head. Had I hit the deer or did I miss? Opportunities on good bucks like that don’t happen often and I was wondering what happened.
When I got down to where the deer was pawing at the ground I saw several scrapes. The buck was checking his scrape line and I still couldn’t figure out the exact spot where the deer was when I took the shot. I also didn’t see any blood. I started getting worried. My heart beat escalated some. I walked in small circles looking for any drop of blood signaling contact. I never found any. I kept looking back up toward the stand to try to find an opening where I may have taken the shot, but I never found any. I began to get mad. I replayed the scene over and over in my mind. I told myself to calm down and go back and start over again. I went back and started over. Still no blood. I was getting upset with myself at this point. Since I couldn’t find any blood I figured I would walk in the direction that the deer ran. As I walked I saw a spot where some leaves were turned over as if the deer took a “fall-step” or slipped, but that area didn’t have any blood present. I started fanning out in circles around the area where this slide mark was. Still no blood. I continued walking in the direction the deer ran in and then I heard a stick break ahead of me. Even though I didn’t see any blood or see any deer the stick popping represented a small signal of hope for me. I kept walking in the direction the deer ran, but never saw blood or any more fall step / slide marks. I went from glimmers of hope to frustration with every step. Then all of a sudden I saw a deer jump up just ahead of me. It indeed had a nice rack and when I saw this I got excited because I knew that I had hit the deer and that I would be able to trail it. The deer bounded once more then crashed. I just stopped and sat down and watched the deer. I was really deep in the woods and I didn’t want to push the deer any further. The deer didn’t move anymore and after about 10 minutes I slowly walked over to the deer and there laid a nice 9 point, 170lb buck! I snapped some pics of the deer and started texting my friends saying that we had some work ahead of us and I posted a few pics to Twitter..
Here are some pics of the deer
It was indeed a nice buck and I was very lucky to get it. One thing that was different about this one was that the deer never bled any. There was a small entrance wound, but no exit wound. I shoot a 243 and I think it must have hit every bone in there to not have an exit would at 90 or so yards. So there was no hope of a blood trail with this one. The deer never bled until we got to the processor. And speaking of the processor… there were several big bucks there. The deer were definitely moving on Thanksgiving day!
In what had seemed like an impossible hunt I somehow lucked up by being at the right place at the right time and made a lucky shot. It seems I have somewhat of a Thanksgiving streak now. Hopefully the 3rd time will be the charm and I can get a Thanksgiving 10 point next year. I’m already looking forward to next Thanksgiving!
How were your Thanksgiving hunts?
This past Tuesday night Robbie Boone and I attended the Lancaster County Cattlemen’s Association monthly Meeting in Lancaster, SC. This meeting consists of a large group of cattle farmers from the area plus a representative from the Clemson Agricultural Extension. We were invited to discuss the rising problem of coyotes in SC and to talk about the 2015 Predator Challenge.
The meeting was held at Jomar’s restaurant and the meeting of course started off with a meal. After the meal was over the leaders of the group turned the program over to Robbie and me for our presentation. Robbie spoke the majority of the time and presented on all kinds of information about coyotes. He spoke about their habits, habitat, breeding cycle, animals they prey on, laws for hunting them, all the way to tactics for hunting them. Robbie did a great job and it was very informational. We also provided the members of the group with a 1-page print out for the rules for both hunting and trapping coyotes. This information came straight from SC DNR’s website and the Cattlemen’s Association Members seemed to find this helpful. After Robbie spoke on the information about coyotes I got up and briefly spoke about the Predator Challenge and what we are trying to do with raising awareness for the sport of predator hunting.
One thing that was interesting (and telling) was that during the presentation and after the meeting it was evident that the Cattlemen’s Association Members were also having issues with coyotes. Several of the members told stories of the increasing rate in which they’re seeing coyotes. Whether plowing fields, running combines, or tending to their cows each member has had an encounter with one or more coyotes. The frequency of these encounters is increasing and they definitely recognized the problem that coyotes pose for them at cattle farmers as well as for hunters.
Overall the meeting went well and the group was very receptive to the presentation. I think now instead of carrying their rifles in their trucks the group members are now going to start carrying them in their tractors and combines and shooting them more often! It was a great event and we hope to do more of these in the future. If you would like for us to come out to your venue just use the Contact Us form to reach out.
Here are some pics from the event…
It’s that time again! We’re excited to announce that registration for the
2015 Predator Challenge is now open! Every year we look forward to the Predator Challenge because the competition continues to grow. More hunters are participating as the awareness of the sport of predator hunting rises. If you have never participated in the Predator Challenge and/or are not a coyote hunter then I encourage you to give it a shot. Coyotes are indeed difficult to hunt so if you are a hunter who’s up for a challenge then predator hunting may be a good fit for you.
Why We Host the Predator Challenge
By now we are all aware of the
damage coyotes are doing to game populations across the state. SCDNR studies have provided data to confirm the negative affect coyotes are having on deer, turkey, duck and other game populations and coyotes are also doing damage to livestock farmers. If you don’t believe that just ask any chicken, turkey, cattle, or sheep farmers in your area. The reason we host this competition is to raise awareness for the sport of predator hunting and to raise awareness about what coyotes are doing across our state. Even if you don’t hunt coyotes you can benefit from simply helping spread the word about the competition so if you’re reading this and you’re not going to be able to hunt do everyone a favor and at least tell your friends about the competition.
The rules this year are the same as last year except we’re adding in a new rule that we’re only accepting 1 bobcat and 2 foxes per team. Why did we add this rule in… because we want to put the focus of the competition on coyotes. Yes you may be able to win the competition with foxes or bobcats alone, but they are not the ones we really want hunters aiming for. So this year we will not accept more than 1 bobcat and 2 foxes per team.
Another thing we’re doing this year to encourage early registration is that we’re giving the first 25 teams that register 3 points added to their final score at the check-in. So be sure to register your team ASAP because those 3 points may help you win the title!
Competition Quick Stats:
We will continue to add sponsors & prizes to the competition page as they come in so stay tuned to the site for updates. If you’re interested in sponsoring the Predator Challenge just
contact us. We look forward to seeing you and your team at the check-in on Jan 25th! The only thing left to do now is to register your team!
REGISTER YOUR TEAM NOW
If you have any other questions or want more information about the event just give us a holler by posting a comment to this blog or emailing us via the
Contact Us form.
Tonight the Predator Challenge leadership team met and started the planning for this upcoming hunting season’s weekend long Predator Challenge. Each year since we’ve hosted the Predator Challenge the competition participation has doubled in size. The growth is due to growing interest in the sport of predator hunting along with hunters and governing entities around the state recognizing the damage that coyotes are doing to game populations. Each year the competition has gotten better and we’ve added new sponsors and new features to the challenge.
We met tonight to start the planning considerably earlier this season so we can host the best Predator Challenge yet. SC DNR continues to post information on their site about the studies and data they have proving the damage coyotes are doing. We hope to continue to raise awareness and are trying to up the level of the competition again this year. We’re planning some really neat stuff so we hope you will strongly consider taking part in this year’s competition.
We will continue to update the site here with the Predator Challenge information. If you have any ideas, suggestions, or concerns please let us know so we can modify and adjust as needed. Again we are simply SC hunters who are simply taking initiative and trying to promote the sport of predator hunting so as to get the coyote population under control. That said, you don’t want to miss this year’s Predator Challenge and check-in… it’s going to be the best event we’ve hosted yet.
If you follow the site at all then you know that we’ve been promoting the 2014 Predator Challenge recent. The Predator Challenge is a weekend long competition we created to raise awareness for the sport of Predator Hunting as well and to raise awareness for what coyotes are doing to deer, turkey, duck and other game populations around the state. We continue to spread the message that SCDNR’s data backs up… and that is that as hunters we need to actively hunt coyotes if we want to have healthy populations of other game to hunt.
This year’s Predator Challenge saw better weather than last years, but we did have to battle wind early on in the weekend. Every year we hunt in the predator challenge we learn a little bit more about coyotes and after 4 years of hunting them I can tell you that they are definitely not easy to hunt. They are smart and quick. I think hunting coyotes is tougher than deer, turkey, and duck hunting. You have to hunt hard and you can hunt for the longest time and not have any luck and then a coyote appears and you have 2 seconds to make the shot. It’s tough and that’s why we need more people hunting coyotes across the state and the region.
This year we held the Predator Challenge Check-In at the Catch and Release Sportsman’s Consignment shop in Columbia, SC. Catch and Release is directly behind the Sportsman’s Warehouse (the previous check-in location) and was a great fit for the check-in. I know I enjoyed having the check-in and the new location and getting to see the store and meet Blakely Byrd the owner of Catch and Release. If you haven’t checked the store out yet you should because it’s really neat and is not the typical business model.
Predator Challenge Sponsors
When I arrived we had hunters there waiting for us at the check-in. During the course of the hour we had a steady stream of hunters showing up to check-in their predators with one team blowing a tire and still making it right at 4pm on the dot. It was a good turnout and as we checked-in the various teams hunters from all around the state met each other, connected, discussed hunting techniques and tactics, and got to know one another. It’s always neat to meet the people that you encounter on the website in person and get to know them.
After 4pm arrived and we checked in the final team we tallied the points and got everybody together and made the announcement of the winners. They were as follows:
It was a great weekend hunting and meeting everyone at the check-in. Thanks again to our sponsors and to everyone who participated. We’ve seen the predator challenge grow rapidly over the past few years and it gets better every year. We hope to see you again next year.
Below are pics and videos from the 2014 Predator Challenge Check-In:
We also had a very rare black coyote turned in by one of the teams. After doing some research we've found that these are indeed pretty rare to come across and are a result of mixed breeding.