WeHuntSC.com Blog


Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

Interview with Blakely Byrd of Catch and Release Sportsman’s Consignment

Catch and Release Sportsman's ConsignmentFor the past few years we’ve been hosting a Predator Challenge in hopes of reducing the coyote population, raising awareness for the sport of predator hunting, and raising awareness for the damage that coyotes are doing to game populations around the state. Thus far the check-in location has been at the Sportman’s Warehouse right off of I-26 in Columbia. Columbia serves as a central location where everyone can drive the least distance to check-in their predators and have a good time meeting other hunters and networking. 

This year we’re still meeting right off I-26 except this time we’ll be meeting right behind the Sportman’s Warehouse at a new location called Catch and Release Sportsman’s Consignment. Catch and Release is a new store and has been growing really fast. We’re happy to partner with Catch and Release to host the 2014 Predator Challenge check-in at their location. We think you’ll like the check-in being hosted at the new location.

Last night I did a quick interview with Blakely Byrd, owner of Catch and Release Sportsman’s Consignment, to get a better understanding of what Catch and Release is and to get to know more about her in general. The interview is here below.

We hope to see you at the check-in! Register your team today and join us in reducing the coyote population in SC and beyond.



Thanksgiving 8 Point

I always look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas because I know that I’ll be able to spend a lot of time in the woods. This year’s Thanksgiving holiday brought with it some really cold weather. I checked the weather page on the site and saw where the low was 25 degrees for Thanksgiving morning. This level of cold gave me the opportunity to use my new Extreme Weather Camo Suit that I had recently got from Cabelas. Ever since I got the camo suit I had it sitting inside of my McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag. When I got the suit out of the bag it smelled completely like the “Earth Scent” I had the bag pulling through it for a few days. I put my base layers on and then my suit and headed out the door.

It was so cold that the ground was frosted over. As I reached the woods at my hunting location I heard the ground loudly crunching with each step I took. The light coming from the light on my head was reflecting on the frost on the ground. I knew at this point that my trip into the woods would be a loud one, but what else could I do? I entered the woods and the leaves seemed to crunch louder with every step. My breath created a fog as it reflected off the light on my head and about 10 minutes later I was climbing up into my stand.

I’d been getting a lot of game camera pics on this stand, but not really any big bucks with consistency. I took my camera, monopod, and quick-grip with me into the woods and got it set up. It was during my setup that I remembered that the video camera wouldn’t record when the temperature is really cold. So I setup the monopod and the quick grip and just tucked the video camera into my suit so that my body heat would keep the camera warm. I figured if I saw something coming I could just put the camera up on the monopod and start filming.

Normally in this stand as soon as the sun comes up seemingly millions of squirrels come out and run around as if they drank red bulls all night. However, on this day the squirrels stayed put and didn’t come out and make tons of noise rustling in the leaves. I think it was so cold they stayed put to keep warm. In comparison to my normal hunts in this location that morning’s hunt was very quiet. The quiet was welcomed by me, but it didn’t last long as some nearby duck hunters started letting it roll. I checked my phone to see what people on Twitter were saying and to see what time it was. It was about 5 after 7.

A few minutes later I heard a rhythmic crunching noise coming from in front of me and slightly to my right. I’ve heard squirrels so much in this stand that I can quickly tell the difference in sound between the pattern of a squirrel and the rhythmic sound of a walking deer. This wasn’t a squirrel. I instantly reached for my camera and pulled it out of my suit. I knew something was coming, but at this point I didn’t know what. I got the video camera to the top of the monopod and was just about to lock it in position when the quick grip slipped and the monopod rolled off the side rail of the stand. My plan had backfired. The cold weather made the quick grips not hold as firm and my bumping them caused everything to break down. Just what I needed. This has happened a time or two before and it’s easy to correct, but while the camera, quick grip, & monopod dangled on the side of my stand I happened to glance up and caught a glimpse of antlers. I know that getting good footage is great for posting here in the blogs and for re-living the hunts, but at this point I had to make a decision and since I’d seen what looked to be like a good deer I opted to not fiddle with the camera anymore and to focus on the deer. The whole time I was praying that the monopod and/or quick-grip wouldn’t fall down to the ground and spook the deer.

The buck entered my field of view about 65 yards in front of me and was cautiously working his way towards me.  There are several oak trees in this location and I frequently have to shoot around them or wait for deer to walk into a shooting lane before I can pull the trigger. I knew the deer had a good rack, but hadn’t gotten a clear enough view yet to know if I was going to shoot it.

A rub on the tree the buck nuzzled up againstWith the camera still dangling beside me I put my gun up and searched for the buck in my scope. I couldn’t find the buck as he was hidden just behind a large oak tree. I momentarily panicked when I couldn’t find him in the scope and I raised back up a little to look for him with my naked eye and as I did the buck took a step into an opening. I looked back through my scope and was able to focus on the deer. It was an 8 pointer, but I still didn’t know if it met our game management criteria. I needed to get more of a look at the buck’s rack. The buck zig-zagged his way towards me and even stopped momentarily to rub on a small pine tree. 

Finally the buck headed toward the location where I’d been putting corn out for months. I was in shooting position with my safety off and was ready to take a shot if the buck made the cut. As I watched the buck in the scope he had his head down eating corn and eventually he raised his head up and looked straight at me. When I saw the width and height of his rack during this view was when I knew I was going to take the shot. The buck stared at me and then raised his nose up really high and tried to “wind” me. I thought in the back of my mind that my scent should be fine because I had been breathing in the scent of dirt during the whole hunt thanks to some earth scent wafers and my McKenzie Scent Fan bag. After a few seconds of being locked in a stare down with this buck he finally put his head back down to eat corn.  At this point he was about 40 yards away from me and was giving me the perfect shoulder shot. I pulled the trigger and the buck instantly fell over right into the corn pile. I took the shot around 7:15. I texted the crew and said “Big Buck Down, gonna need help with an 8 point” and then sat there for a few minutes to calm down and ensure I had my gun back on safety and didn’t rush to get out of the stand. Within an hour we had the buck to the processor and he ended up weighing 175 lbs.  

After a long season of holding off on several “iffy” bucks it felt good to get a nice buck on the ground. Ironically the loud sound of the crunching frosted over ground on my way in would ultimately help me out with getting this 8 point. I heard him coming before he got there and even though I had the camera fiasco I was able to get my body into position and get focused on the task at hand where I normally (without the loud crunching ground) probably would have had less time to prepare. It was a great start to a Thanksgiving Day and will be a Thanksgiving that I’ll always remember.

Clint Patterson's Thanksgiving Day 8 Point

Clint Patterson's Thanksgiving Day 8 Point 

Clint Patterson's Thanksgiving Day 8 Point 

Clint Patterson's Thanksgiving Day 8 Point 



Blake Hodge & Youngbloods TV

Youngbloods TV If you follow the site then you know that our fellow WeHuntSC.com blogger Blake Hodge stays busy in the outdoors and travels around a lot competing in Duck Calling Competitions. Blake’s recently got some exciting news that he’s too humble to share so I’m pumping him up here on the site even though he’s gonna get on me about it.

From winning multiple duck calling competitions, giving seminars for younger duck callers, being active in Ducks Unlimited, and being on a few different pro-staffs, Blake has gained notoriety in the waterfowl and broader hunting community. You may have read or previously seen some of Blake’s blogs here on the site and even a few of his videos. Blake and his dad (Daryl) also run a guide service called “The Wrecking Crew”.  Add all that up and you have a well-rounded individual.

The exciting news is that Blake has been asked to be the co-host a new and upcoming TV show called “Youngbloods TV”.  Blake will be co-hosting alongside of Buck Cumbo, an NC hunter and the “Youngbloods” will start out the initial season airing their show on the web and as they gain traction roll into the TV networks in the following year. Blake says that footage will come from hunting all game types, but we all know there will be some epic Waterfowl footage going on 

So congratulations to Blake on yet another milestone in his outdoor career. Join me in congratulating Blake on being selected as a co-host of a TV show. We hope to see you on the TV soon and you better be pumping up some WeHuntSC.com!

For more information on Blake, Buck Cumbo, or the Youngbloods TV show check out http://www.YoungbloodsTV.com

2014 Predator Challenge

The Predator Competition has been growing really fast over the past few years and we’re excited to continue the tradition of the WeHuntSC Predator Challenge. Last year we had over 130 hunters competing in our weekend of chasing down predators. We are continuing the tradition again this year so get ready to go hard for another weekend and chase down some predators.

Why We Host The Predator Challenge
Before we get into the rules and logistical information I’d like to reiterate why we even started this competition and our goals. If you are familiar with SC DNR’s study & report on the damage coyotes are doing to our deer, turkey, ducks, and other game populations then it should be a no-brainer as to why we host this competition. If you are not familiar with the study the long-story-short is that coyotes are putting a dent into the populations of game we hunt and therefore we need to be pro-active about hunting coyotes as well as spreading the word about coyotes to other hunters. If you don’t think Coyotes can take down mature animals then see this blog.

With hunters seeing coyotes more frequently, along with SC DNR’s study and data that coyotes are hurting our hunting across the state, we decided to do what we could as hunters to take action. We created the Predator Challenge a few years ago to help raise awareness of the sport of predator hunting and to help communicate to hunters that we should be dropping coyotes whenever we see them. The visionaries behind the creation of the competition, Chip Humphries & Terry Williams came from McBee, SC and were the winners of our first 2 years of the competition. Chip and Terry contacted me and we got the competition started back before I even knew how to hunt a coyote. So to be clear, our goal with the start of this competition was and continues to be to provide an avenue to promote the sport of predator hunting, raise awareness for what coyotes are doing across the state, and to give hunters a weekend of hunting with friends and family that they can look forward to and get excited about. 

Competition Updates
Last year after the competition we sent out an email asking for feedback from the competition and you gave us some of your creative thoughts and critical feedback about the competition. Based on some of the feedback from the competition we updated a few things.

  • Weather: Last year our Predator Challenge wasn’t on a weekend with the best weather conditions, but obviously that is out of our control. One of the comments was to set the competition on a full moon weekend. So that’s what we did with this year’s competition. There is a full moon on Jan 16 and the competition starts on Jan 17th. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year. 
  • Team Sponsor: Another piece of feedback was that some teams wanted to be able to list their team sponsor so we’ve added in an area on the profile form where teams can list their sponsor.
  • Registration & Team Updates: In the past you had to email in your team and we updated your info on the site. This year you can create your own team and update it as you wish. Simply register to the site (if you haven’t already) and click the “Add Your Team” button to get started. If you need to update your team at any moment you can do so by clicking the small edit icon in the top right-hand corner of your team’s entry on the page. (Let me know if you have any issues with anything)
  • Check-In Location: Thus far we’ve hosted the check-in at the Sportsman’s Warehouse. This year we’re checking in just behind the Sportsman’s Warehouse at a new store called “Catch & Release Sporstman’s Consignment”. It’s very easy to find and I’ve posted a google map link from the competition page.

Fun At the Check-In
I know that my team always looks forward to the weekend of predator hunting and we strategize our game plan all year long. It really is a fun (and tiring) weekend that culminates in a check-in down in Columbia, SC. I encourage you to show up at the check-in regardless of whether you harvest a predator or not because hunters from all around the state are there to fellowship, network, share hunting strategies, plus we have some really cool prizes and giveaways on hand for everyone.

Predator Challenge Check-In

Logistics and Rules
We do have more extensive rules & check-in information available, but I’ll leave that over on the Predator Competition Page so be sure to check it out there.

Thanks to the Organizers
Again, we wouldn’t be able to have the competition without our sponsors as well as without the help of the guys who organize the competition. Those guys are Gavin Jackson, Robbie Boone, & Adam Smith. Without these guys (along with Chip & Terry getting it initially off the ground) there would be no Predator Challenge. So if you see these guys at the check-in be sure to shake their hands and give them a pat on the back. 

Hope to see ya’ll at the check-in!



To Cull Bucks or Not to Cull Bucks

Over the past few months I’ve been getting several bucks on camera. Most of them are small and a few of them are shooters. Mixed in with these bucks are 2 to 3 bucks that have really bad racks. By bad I mean these deer have big bodies and racks that do not reflect the age and maturity level of the deer, which to me indicates bad genetics.

Others have a decent rack on one side and a very mal-formed rack on the other side. Some hunters refer to these as “Cull bucks” indicating that they are deer that the hunter wants to “cull” out of the herd. Hunters want to remove these deer from the herd because of the bad genetics in the antlers. Hunters don’t want these deer reproducing and spawning more bucks with bad racks.

I’ve got a few deer that if I see I’m going to shoot. Yes I want them out of the herd and this past weekend one of these bucks came out right at daylight. At first I thought it was a big bodied doe, but after it got light enough I could tell that it was one of the bucks that I wanted to take out. So shortly after sun-up I eliminated the buck from the herd. This buck’s body was way bigger than his “spike” rack reflected. You can see the deer in the picture below.

Cull Bucks - Should you cull a buck?

However, some hunters are not of the same opinion about culling bucks out of the herd. Some hunters believe that all bucks can get big and have really nice racks regardless of what their racks look like any given year and the genetics of their lineage. I’m not mad about it and am not trying to start a ruckus, but rather am just interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts on the subject. So what do you think about it? Do you cull bucks? Do you think it’s a good practice or is it a bad practice? I’m interested in everyone’s game management tactics as it relates to cull bucks. 



Pin Oak Taxidermy
Pin Oak Taxidermy, Great Falls, SC

About 3 years ago I heard about and eventually went and met Chris Melvin of Pin Oak Taxidermy. Pin Oak Taxidermy is located in the Great Falls, SC area and is not too far off I-77. I first met Chris when I was seeking out the person behind the “Camo Skulls” that you may have previously seen here and here. Chris does a really good job with the camo skulls and his taxidermy skills extend beyond the camo skulls.

When I originally visited Chris he was doing Taxidermy part time and his business has been growing such that he’s gone full time and now taxidermy is his livelihood. Chris has turned his hobby and passion into his daily work due to the success of his business. One thing that was unique that I vividly remember from my first visit to Chris’ was that he had a small buck that someone brought to him that they had picked up on the side of the road. Chris took the deer in and has been raising him and studying the buck as he grows to help him with his art and taxidermy. This time when I went back to visit the little button buck has turned into a very nice buck! Chris had increased the size of his pen and also has a few does there to keep “Moonshine” company. At this visit Moonshine was in full rut and was very active moving around. It was really neat to be that close to a very large buck. Chris noted that if anyone wants to come by and check out the buck to feel free to stop by.

Chris showed me some of the latest mounts he’s done and the line of work he’s got awaiting him. I interviewed Chris and we talked about his process and various other items. I’ll let the below video finish out the story.

Thanks again to Chris Melvin for having me stop by and giving me an update on his business and services. Pin Oak Taxidermy has also been a supportive sponsor of the competitions that we host here on WeHuntSC and we are greatly appreciative of Chris’ support. So if you want to go and pet a huge buck, get a camo skull or any other mount, and/or also pick up some new WeHuntSC.com stickers, check out Chris Melvin at Pin Oak Taxidermy.



Great Customer Service at Nichols Store

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!

Lessons Learned From Trailing a Deer at Night

This past weekend I did a lot of work in the woods and it felt good. I’m just now getting around to doing the work that I wished I could have done in the summer so yes I’m a little behind. After making a lot of noise in the woods I hunt in and spreading my scent everywhere I figured it wouldn't be a good idea to hunt there and since Derrick & JD Outen helped me do the work I told JD that I’d come video him hunting in the evening. JD’s still after his first buck of the season for this year so we hoped to get one on camera.  We had a good time sitting it the stand, but luck just wasn't in our favor tonight. Though, while we were sitting in the stand we heard a loud boom not too far away. This meant that JD’s dad, Derrick had made a shot. Derrick took a shot right at dark and he text messaged us and said he was on the way. And so it began.

Derrick picked us up and told us that he shot a deer at about 235 yards out in one of his shooting lanes. We went to the lane and starting walking. You have to kind of know Derrick to be able to fully appreciate the mode he gets in during situations like this. This was serious business and Derrick was like a CSI detective on a crime scene. Derrick showed us the spot where he said the deer was standing when he shot. I know Derrick is getting old and his eyes probably weren't working up to par right at dark so I went beyond where the said he shot the deer. Derrick, JD, & I searched for blood for nearly 15-20 minutes. I kept telling him that he missed to his response of “Outen’s don’t miss”. I was just about at the point of telling him that we should give up when I looked down and low and behold I saw a drop of blood. I was nearly 30 yards ahead of where Derrick & JD were by then. I yelled out “I've got blood” and I could tell Derrick’s hairs on the back of his neck were starting to stand up. The CSI deer detective had upped the tracker mode one notch because he knew there was a challenge at hand. From that point on Derrick was methodical in how he proceeded.

The drop of blood I found was in the shooting lane and we were trying to figure out which way the deer took off in, but the problem was that we couldn't find any more blood. Derrick told us to not be straying off into the brush because if a deer had traveled down a specific path we needed to be able to see it and if we went into the brush we would create a path and make it more difficult to keep up with. I told the guys that I was going to drop my hat on top of the blood so we would know where our origination marker was. We searched and searched through the edge of the lane on both sides and couldn't find anything. We even got desperate enough to start walking through the brush looking for anything that would give us hope. We had strayed the course and broken our own rules. We were about 30 minutes in at this point and yes my sweat was attracting mosquitoes which made it “fun”. 

Derrick pulled us back to the drop of blood and said “Let’s get side by side and walk down this lane one more time” and to my surprise JD found another drop of blood about 20 yards from the first one. This small drop of blood was a glimmer of hope that reignited the troops. We moved the hat to mark the new, most recent drop of blood. And we continued stalking, crouching, slow-walking down the lane looking for more sign. I think Derrick may have put a new dip in to denote the new level of seriousness now that drop of blood number two had been found.

The blood drops continued about every 10 yards and were slightly leaning toward the left hand side of the lane. Derrick saw a drop of blood enter the brush and you would have thought somebody gave him $20 as pumped up as he got. He proceeded step by step through the brush finding random drops of blood smaller than a penny to trail this deer. It was indeed impressive to watch is controlled focus through the brush. We were about 40 minutes in at this point.

The deer cut across some thick brush and then into some open hard woods. Derrick commented “See if we don’t pay attention this is where we’ll lose this deer right now. Ya’ll don’t be in a hurry and look with every step you take to make sure you’re not stepping on blood”.  We were getting deeper in the woods toward the creek. We got found  more broken brush and some larger drops of blood which was a good sign. We were getting pumped up and gaining energy and then all of a sudden the trail completely stopped. I couldn't believe it. We searched in every direction and couldn't find anything. Derrick was even picking up on the existence of spider webs crossing trails and letting them still crossing the path denote that the deer didn't go in that direction. I got so frustrated I walked ahead another 30 yards to the trail by the creek just hoping to find a white belly somewhere, but nothing. I was swatting mosquitoes when I heard Derrick say “I don’t see any blood, but it looks like something ran through here… see how these limbs are broken.” Derrick keyed in on some brush lying over oddly and some broken twigs and kept following them. By the time he worked his way to the end of the trail he and JD were arriving to the road I was standing on. Derrick told me to look for blood and sure enough I saw a small drop about the size of a pencil eraser on a leaf. I couldn't believe it. I was standing right next to the creek and Derrick again got in the zone and proceeded toward the creek. We all stood on the edge of the creek (and it was a sizable creek) and saw blood on the edge. The deer had crossed the creek. I knew Derrick was going to tell us to go swimming when I looked to the right and saw the deer lying dead in the creek. We were about an hour in at this point. 

We all couldn't believe what had just occurred. We literally went from thinking Derrick completely missed to having moments of hope to being let down to be back up then back down again to ultimately finding this deer in the creek. It was definitely a challenging process in which many would have abandoned a couple of times along the way.  JD and I pulled the deer out of the creek and hauled it back up the road while Derrick went to get the truck. It was a gnarly antlered spike… what some would call a “cull buck”. 

It was a hunt and night of tracking that I’ll never forget. I, like many of you, don’t like giving Derrick too much credit, but the boy can flat track a deer… I will give him that. Using a computer is a whole different ball game, but I don’t know if a blood hound would have done us much better than Derrick tonight. I guess here would be the best place to also say that if he wouldn't have gut-shot the deer all this tracking wouldn't have been necessary :-) 

Ultimately the hunt was successful and from tonight’s experience I've learned some more about tracking a deer. I wanted to share some pieces of info that I've learned about tracking a deer and I welcome you to add more in the comments field.

  • First & foremost don’t be in a rush to trail the deer or you might push/bump the deer making your job of trailing the deer ever tougher
  • The more eyes you have helping look, the better
  • Tracking a deer at night is more difficult, having lights with good batteries is critical
  • Don’t initially go tearing off in brush looking for the deer because you may affect your ability to later read the way the brush is laying and cause further confusion for yourself
  • Take some kind of marker that you can leave at the last spot of blood that you find
  • Deer can travel a good distance without any sign of bleeding
  • As the length of time trailing the deer grows the urge to hurry escalates, don’t let this urge get the best of you and stay focused on the next drop of blood
  • If you follow the trail for a good bit of time and then it just seems to stop don’t get frustrated because this kind of thing just happens
  • If there are spider webs crossing paths where you think the deer went, but yet those spider webs are not broken, the deer didn't go that way
  • If you get completely off trail go back to the marker of the last spot of blood and start over making small circles out from the last drop
  • When a deer is wounded the path they take will be erratic and won’t make much sense at all, don’t let the zig-zagging bother you 
  • Deer generally look for a cool area to lie down and try to heal so if you completely lose the trail search near the lowest point of your property and/or near a water source
  • Any others you can think that should go here? Please add your thoughts to the comments below

So while sweating through briars and tracking a deer for an hour may not seem too fun, it’s definitely rewarding when you find the deer. The story doesn't always end that way, but tracking is challenging and that challenge is what makes it rewarding. What’s your toughest tracking story?



Derrick Outen’s Double-Buck Saturday

Derrick Outen's Double-buck deer huntHow can I start this blog out other than to say that every now and then a blind hog finds an acorn and sometimes they find two! My friend Derrick Outen had a memorable hunt and he even got it on video. So I’m posting this blog to help share this hunt and awesome footage with you.

This year Derrick has started videoing his hunts. He finally broke down and got him a video camera and tripod. (He did have some help from some knowledgeable friends too :-)). It didn't take him long after getting set up to start getting some good video. I think on the second hunt he took the camera out he got a really nice 6 point on video and that’s all it took to get him hooked on videoing his hunts.  So for the past few weeks he’s been carrying the camera in the woods with him.

This past weekend Derrick decided to break bad and wake up from his nap early and hunt. He headed out the stand. I’ll let the below video explain what happened next. I interviewed Derrick and we overlaid the audio on the video.


As you can see videoing your hunts is a challenging, but yet neat thing to do because you can then share your hunts with family & friends. If you’re able to we encourage you to start videoing your hunts as well!



2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Banquet

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.

Neon Green Ducks Unlimited Light up signWhen 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. 

Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Cornhole board Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Lab Print

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! 

The crowd at the 2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Banquet

Kudos to the Lancaster County DU Chapter for hosting another great event! I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.



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