Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
This a message I received this morning from a participants mother!!!! I asked her I could post this...... It has brought tears to my eyes!!! I want everyone to read this and see just how powerful our organization is!!!
u have no idea how much I appreciate all that you all are doing for us . My son is super excited and I told Shannon a little bit but before we heard about OWL he had been in a really bad depression he would tell me he wanted to go live with Jesus and the angels he would hit himself constantly and do nothing but stay sad and sit in one corner of our house in his chair. When we met Shannon before his first hunt in Aiken county it was like a whole new person appeared over night he asked me daily (100 times) if it was time for his hunt! Since that day he has been sooooo different and hasn't been depressed at all he looks forward to each hunt and I haven't seen him as happy as he is now in years. OWL truely is a life changing experience and he will tell me that Shannon and his friends are gods helpers that make sad people happy. Not only has he changed at home but at school as well his teachers tell me its like he had a complete turn around that he went from not saying anything all day to talking and interacting with his classmates (mostly about deer and hunting) lol and to see my baby smile and be excited and enjoy life again is priceless I will never be able to thank you all enough or repay you all for everything you do but you all must know that my family and I are grateful for everything that you all do. We now have a second family our OWL family
I want the house packed for this event.. please pass the info and help us with this event and great outreach organization!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to everyone that has supported us!!!
2013 PEE DEE Ultimate Adventure Deer Hunt
“Dinner & Benefit”
Saturday November 16, 2013
The Chesterfield Conference Center
344 East BLVD
Chesterfield, SC 29709
The OWL program is dedicated to providing all people with disabilities the
opportunity to participate and enjoy the great outdoors.
Revenue raised will benefit the 2013 PEE DEE Ultimate Adventure Deer Hunt,
Chesterfield County Chapter and the OWL National Program.
Single Tickets -- $20.00
Couple Tickets -- $25.00
Junior Tickets (13-17) -- $10.00
Child Tickets and Hunting Participants -- Free
Table Partners -- $150.00 (Includes 8 Tickets)
Doors open at 5:30PM
Dinner at 7:00PM
Guest Speaker-Kirk Thomas OWL CEO/Founder
Live Auction to Follow
Raffles, Games, Silent and Live Auction will be held throughout the night
For information or tickets please call:
Heather Brock 843-287-1915, Drew Sellers 843-680-2643 or Keith Odom 843-439-3933
Outdoors Without Limits
Chesterfield County Chapter 4409 Jackson Rd West, Chesterfield, SC 29709
For Mississippi native Kirk Thomas, one date is etched in his mind forever -<st1:date w:st="on" month="11" day="27" year="1992">November 27, 1992. After a morning deer hunt, as he was heading back to his truck, a falling tree struck him and sent the 6-foot 5 inch, 321 pound former college football player hurling through the air. When Thomas landed he was laying face up on the ground with a crushed back and a multitude of internal injuries. After an operation, hospital stay and rehabilitation, at the age of 33, Thomas was facing life as a T-12 paraplegic requiring the use of a wheelchair the rest of his life.
Thomas didn’t stay down long. He worked his tail off rehabbing and working extra every day to get his strength back. He had to learn how to do everything without the use of his massive legs. “I had a family to take care of and to do this it meant I had to get my butt back to work selling heavy equipment. I never felt sorry for myself, I didn’t have time too. Besides there was no way I was going to let my disability rob me of life. Quite frankly, I never quit working. After I was moved to re-hab after my surgeries and hospital stay, I would call customers at night from my hospital bed in an effort to keep income coming in. After 58 days I left the hospital totally focused on being all I could be. I learned how to climb in my truck so I could start driving and get back to work. The way I saw it was simple, I was still alive, I still had the same responsibilities, I had a life to live and it was up to me to accept the responsibility to make the most of it. Since my accident I’ve had a total of 26 surgeries, was kept alive on a ventilator for 9 days, fought off and beat a blood bacteria infection that was suppose to be fatal and I have was close to death 2 more times. I chose to see and meet everyone of these challenges as an opportunity and most importantly as a blessing”, said Thomas
In 1996, a renewed approach to life, combined with his love of the outdoors, led Thomas to create Wheelin’ Sportsmen of America, an organization that hosted disabled people at fishing and hunting events by pairing able-bodied volunteers to assist them. The efforts of Wheelin’ Sportsmen and Thomas began to be recognized nationwide. It wasn’t long before he began speaking all across the country in an effort to promote Wheelin’ Sportsmen and recreational opportunities for disabled people. His actions caught the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF’) attention and in late 2000, Wheelin’ Sportsmen became an official outreach program of the Federation. “The merger between Wheelin’ Sportsmen and the Federation was an awesome opportunity for both organizations” Thomas said.
“I have always thought that God had a plan for us all but for me… he presented me with the opportunity, desire and passion to help people and give back to others. This became my desire and mission that I live it every day. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing people who never thought they could get outside and participate in an activity receive the opportunity to do so. When my accident happened, I was one of the blessed one’s; I had friends and family that made sure I got the opportunity to continue my love of the outdoors. After my accident I was asked to become a member of the AL Independent Living Council which I did. When I was around other disabled individuals it didn’t take long to find out the many barriers that disabled people faced when it came to doing anything mush less than participating in outdoor activities. I’ve always looked at what I do as a way to give back for all the support I received. I’ve dedicated my life to helping disabled people as a way to say thanks for the support I received. This is a part of me and it’s in my soul. As a matter of fact, I believe it’s why I sit in this chair everyday. It’s hard for some people to understand but, I have always seen my disability as a blessing and a gift from God. I wouldn’t change my disability or what I’ve gone through over the years for anything” said Thomas.
While at the NWTF, Thomas led the programs efforts serving as its National Coordinator /Founder of the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program. Thomas grew Wheelin’ Sportsmen from a grassroots program to a national network of activity, bringing outdoor events to thousands of disabled people across the country. He quickly became known as a well-respected leader in the outdoor world, winning numerous awards and honors for his work on behalf of people with disabilities. Thomas has testified before Congress concerning outdoor assessable recreation for disabled individuals. He has chaired numerous hearings to open up new opportunities for disabled sportsmen. A powerful motivational speaker, Thomas is asked to speak all over the country sharing his story of determination, triumph and success.
Thomas’s life changed again July 2nd. 2008 when Thomas made the decision to tender his resignation as the Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF leader. Thomas said, “Making the decision to leave the Wheelin’ program was very hard. But the decision came clear and easy to me when my heart told me it was time. Wheelin’ sportsmen had been my life for a very long time. It was a vision and a dream, I witness its growth, and saw it help a lot of folks over the years. The Wheelin program will always be special to me but another new and powerful dream was leading me in a new and different direction.”
Thomas began focusing his efforts toward his new dream “Outdoors Without Limits” (OWL)” in 2008. Thomas serve’s as its Executive Director/Founder. “I am extremely excited about the future of OWL. We’re making a tremendous difference in the lives of a lot of folks, disabled, non-disabled, volunteers and our partners. Developing OWL has put breath back in me. It take’s a tremendous amount of hard work, but somehow it gets done” said Thomas.
The organizations design is unique but simple. It’s all about building community based chapters. “Chapters have the opportunity to focus their attention and efforts on providing disabled individuals opportunities within their own communities. We’re totally inclusive and we encourage everyone to get involved disabled or non-disabled. We take pride in allowing membership to be an elective. We don’t want the dollar to interfere with participation. While raising revenue is extremely important and needed you can’t allow it to negate participation especially when it comes to disabled participants who have never had the opportunity to try it. OWL has one simple and direct mission which is to provide opportunity. If we put the dollar in front of this opportunity we not only fail our mission but we fail the people we’re trying to serve. It doesn’t matter what kind of disability a person has or doesn’t have and age doesn’t play a factor. We have an assortment of programs and events our chapters can host according to their needs, abilities or logistics. We also host National Ultimate Adventure events. Most of these are co-hosted by a community chapter. Our Ultimate Adventure program is experiencing some outstanding growth. Simply put, we’re not all about hunting and fishing; we’re about getting folks outside so we can get the sun on their backs. There is an abundance of way’s to accomplish this. The only way I know how to run OWL is like a big ole happy and giving family. If someone comes to an OWL event and leaves without feeling like a family member or a part of the team, then we failed them and the OWL organization. Simply put, I see OWL as a life changing and saving organization for everyone who becomes involved. We take pride in proving this, said Thomas.
Thomas surrounds himself with a lot of great volunteers, a lot of which have worked with him since his early days with Wheelin’ Sportsmen. Some of these individuals have years of experience coordinating events and acting as advocates for people with disabilities. “OWL is a volunteer dependant organization and there’s no questioning the fact that our volunteer’s have always and will continue to play a key role in our successes. There would not be an OWL organization without them. I couldn’t be any prouder to have the help we receive. I know a lot of these people, and I know where their hearts are. They get the job done. As a matter of fact, when it comes right down to it, I receive a lot of the credit but these are the individuals that should receive it, not me. Volunteers are my hero’s and there the rubber that hit’s the road. OWL is successful because of their efforts. OWL volunteers are life changers and savers”, said Thomas.
OWL is guided by an eleven person National Board of Directors, and a five member Executive Advisory Board for specific needs. “These are respected individuals from either the conservation or business world; they take an active leadership role in the organization. I am more than pleased with our National Board and Advisory Board members. There willingness to step up to lead and lend a hand to help is priceless,” said Thomas.
OWL also has an Advisory Council that consists of disabled and non-disabled members. “These individuals play a key role in our direction and success. They are either volunteer leaders or participates that are heavily involved with OWL. We need and appreciate receiving their feedback and help. I have always said, to improve you have know what you need to improve on. The Council members do a super job in helping to improve and develop OWL. All in all, as an organization, we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. We’re going to stay the course, continue our mission and do everything we can do to change as many lives as we can”, said Thomas.
Kirk Thomas can be reached at 706.788.9878 or by cell at803.480.0167. His email address is [email protected]. For additional information on the Outdoors Without Limits program visit their website at www.OutdoorsWithoutLimits.net.
About Outdoors Without Limits (OWL): OWL is a 501c (3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and opportunity for people with disabilities. Its goal is to educate those with disabilities about the possibilities of outdoor recreational activities while providing them the necessary education, opportunity and assistance to participate.
OWL was designed to increase awareness, resources and opportunities that directly impact people and the communities where they live. The program strives to challenge stereotypes about disabilities and promote awareness of “ability” in a positive outdoor environment.
To get involved, participate or change the stereotype of what defines “ability” in your community go to www.outdoorswithoutlimits.net for more information.
As a SC deer hunter I wanted to make all other SC deer hunters aware of this Bill that was introduced into the Senate on February 12 so that you can voice your opinion.
QDMA sent out an email regarding this and I'm simply re-sharing the info from that email below. Also see the direct link to their email campaign.
NOW is the time to improve deer hunting in South Carolina and YOU are the key to the process.
The SC Deer Management Bill of 2015, S. 454, was introduced into the Senate on February 12, 2015. If it is passed, this bill will make the following two historic improvements to our South Carolina deer laws:
Please follow these simple steps TODAY to show your support for the SC Deer Management Bill:
SUBJECT: SC Deer Management Bill of 2015, S. 454
[ENTER SENATOR'S NAME HERE]:
As a resident of
[ENTER YOUR COUNTY HERE], I encourage you to vote for SCDNR's Deer Management Bill (S. 454).
I am a voter and I have a great interest in deer hunting and management in South Carolina. I am also a member of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). As your constituent, and as member of QDMA, I support S. 454 because it brings greatly needed deer management changes to South Carolina.
For years I have followed SCDNR's research of hunter opinions, deer harvest trends, and the impact of coyotes on recruitment of deer fawns. I support SCDNR's recommendations for a reasonable limit on antlered deer, a tagging program for all harvested deer to provide for enforcement, and a modest fee to support additional research and management efforts. It is time that South Carolina enters the mainstream of deer management and the recommendations proposed in this bill are a step in the right direction.
I hope that you will vote to pass S. 454 during this session, and that you will share my support of this bill with the other members of our county delegation.
Please contact me if you have any questions related to my support of SCDNR's Deer Management Bill.
[ENTER YOUR NAME HERE]
Please join your QDMA leaders in bringing much-needed improvement to South Carolina's deer laws - be a part of history today!
Hello everyone my name is Conrad McCall and I’m going to attempt to post a blog series here on WeHuntSC.com about RAKS Big Game Supplements. Before we dive right in though I’d like to give you some background on myself…
I grew up in Honea Path SC which is where I still do the majority of my hunting. I moved to Mauldin SC about 7 years ago and am married with a 6 year old boy and 1 1/2 year old little girl. I enjoy any type of hunting, but my main passion is Whitetails. I also love turkey and predator hunting. I have had the opportunity to do some bear hunting and hog hunting but have not been successful in harvesting either one yet. Ever since SC legalized crossbows I have done 90% of my hunting with a crossbow. I have always enjoyed writing and have been fortunate enough to have had an article published in Crossbow Magazine and an upcoming article to be published in the October issue of Buckmasters. This is however my first attempt at a Blog series, so I hope everyone enjoys it and I look forward to your feedback.
This past year I had the opportunity to become a member of the RAKS Big Game Supplement Field Staff. I have been interested in improving the deer herd on our property for the past 7 years. I have tried several different products and found success with some, but they acted as more of an attractant during the summer months due to the high salt content. When season got into full motion the high activity on the site dropped quickly and the deer completely changed patterns. Even though South Carolina ruled to allow baiting state wide starting last season I still wanted to provide a product that would improve the overall deer herd and not just act as an attractant with little nutritional benefit.
Since I’ve had a positive experience with the RAKS products I’ve decided to share my experience with everyone through a blog series. I hope to share photos showing the use of the mineral site along with trail camera photos from the past few months. I am also going to try and provide info on a different RAKS product during each upcoming blog entry. I decided to start the series by asking the owner of RAKS, Chris Edwards, to answer a few questions and give everyone some background and basic info about the company.
Here are 2 pics from RAKS sites I've created
Thanks for tuning in to the series intro and we’ll be updating the series with more blogs. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts here in the comments. I look forward to hearing for you.
Early this turkey season I got a nice gobbler on a very wet day. The wetness made the turkey's feathers look like paint brushes. I self-filmed the hunt and Clint has helped me post it below.
Click the video to play it.
This past weekend Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited had its 1st annual frog gig. It's the first one ever in the state and it turned out really well. Some have asked and perhaps you are reading this and wondering… why a frog gigging tournament? So before we get into the details of the competition I’d like to give some backstory to this event.
A few months ago the guys and I were at a Ducks Unlimited planning meeting sitting around thinking of ways we could raise some money for DU and we were specifically brainstorming ways we can raise support other than having a dinner banquet or a hunter’s party. We wondered what we could do to attract some new people. We had to think outside the box. After thinking a little while I said “Guys what about a frog gigging tournament?” They all kind of questioned it, but the more we read into in and studied frog gigging the more we found people doing it. And that was all we needed to get the wheels in motion.
So we all set the date and event venue. We decided to do it in July because it's hot out and the ole bull frogs would be out on the hot summer nights. We set the venue to one of the committee members’ farm and that proved to be a perfect location. The weigh-in site was a big open pole barn with a large man cave attached to it. We advertised about the frog gig a lot of folks showed interest. We were fortunate enough to have Heybo Southern donate some of their famous frog gigging tees and hats. They are a faithful supporter of our DU Chapter in all our events. So with all of the promotions and logistics set the only thing left to do was to have the event and gig some frogs!
We had 32 teams enter the contest which exceeded our expectations. We had first through third place for the 20 biggest frog and a cash pot for the biggest frog.
The Winners were as follows:
The prize packages were as follows:
Everyone I spoke with said they had a wonderful time at the event and they also mentioned that they look forward to doing it again. We made DU some good money and we all had fun doing it. And one of the best parts was that there were a lot of parent-child teams. We always love to see youth involved in the outdoors.
Thanks again to everyone who participated
As you are most likely aware Turkey season is upon us. Everyone will be hitting the woods soon chasing thunder chickens, but there are still a couple things that need to be done before getting after that gobbler! I had yet to pattern my gun, scout for turkeys and get my gear, calls, and decoys together. These are all things that should be done before the season and if you’re like me you’re scrambling looking for time to get it all done.
The first task was to get comfortable with my gun and to do some shooting to test out the best shot and choke combination. When it comes to pattering a gun I think it’s best to first select your shell and choke tube combination as your starting point and then do some testing. When Blakely patterned her Winchester sx3 she used the Primos jelly head choke tube. She shot Kent, Remington, and Hevi-shot magnum blend. After shooting each shell 30 yards it was clear the Hevi- shot magnum blend is the shell for her gun. I shoot a Beretta A391 Urika. I'm using a pure gold choke tube shooting Hevi-shot premium blend also. I don’t think there is a right or wrong combination necessarily, but you just have to find what works best for you.
Once we felt good about our guns and ammo then came time to do some scouting. Recently I have been working a lot of overtime so haven't had as much time to scout as I would like. Blakely has been checking her hunting property and it show good signs. The areas that I have had time to check have all showed signs of turkeys as well. When we scouted we saw signs of turkey tracks, scratching, and droppings. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed and keep working on our calling.
So get your gear, gun, and turkey tags ready. Come April 1st I hope to see a lot of turkey pictures on here on the site! Good luck everyone and stay safe! Hopefully it won’t be too much longer til I get my first gobbler.
In the first blog entry of this series I detailed the theme of this blog series and mentioned that Blakely Byrd was going to be my guide. There are 2 sides to every story and one reason Blakely is helping me out chasing turkeys this spring is because she happens to like fish and is interested in fishing with me on one of my upcoming trips on the coast. The fishing trip on the coast leads me to the next item I’d like to share and that is to give a shout out to my friend Ja Malphrus.
Ja happens to own a guide service and is great fishing guide. I met Ja a year ago down in Beaufort, SC and he took me and some of my friends out to catch some red fish. It was a first for me something I've always wanted to do. Ja knew what he was doing cause he really put us on the fish. It was an enjoyable experience and I've already booked a few trips this year… one of which includes Blakely because she is, as you read in the first entry in this series, helping me to hopefully bag my first turkey. Hopefully we’ll have a successful spring in the field and then another successful fishing trip as well! So if you’re thinking about catching some reds look my friend Ja up and tell him Robbie sent ya.
More About Ja and his Fishing Charters
Shore Thang Charters is a fishing adventure that starts in the backwaters of Hilton Head Island and Beaufort. Ja has a 18 foot Maverick Master Angler edition that can fish three anglers on a sturdy platform as well as stay dry if we were to come across rough conditions.
In the low-country the season is the determining factor on what species of fish will be biting. No matter what time of year redfish are always the main sought after species. Trout and Flounder are highly sought after as well in spring, summer, and fall. The Port Royal Sound has one of the largest cobia runs on the east coast that generally starts in mid-April and runs until mid-June and the tarpon run starts right after that from July to October.
The Hilton Head and Beaufort area provides an outstanding fishery with something different to explore every time you get out on the water. You can find me on Youtube and you can also check my website out at ShoreThangChartersHHI.com. Along with the fishing, we also offer quail and turkey hunting at Old House Club which is located just 20 minutes away from both Beaufort and Hilton Head just outside of Ridgeland. We do quail hunts for up to 4 guns, morning or afternoon, and our turkey hunts usually just two hunters at the time.
Below are some pictures from my last fishing trip with Ja
Turkey season is right around the corner. With Clint’s encouragement I’m going to do a, hopefully short, blog series on the journey to getting my first turkey. I hope that you will follow along as I learn more about turkey hunting and hopefully get my first turkey.
To begin I should tell you why I haven't really gotten a turkey up until this point in my life. I've previously been close to getting a turkey, but haven't ever sealed the deal. I've only been into hunting turkeys for past 3 years and my first year was trial and error. The second year I almost got a nice tom, but of all things to happen the hunt got messed up by a deer. My third turkey hunting season one of my friends Daryl Hodge took me. I helped him scout and we located the birds. They came in and we got into position. I was shaking like a leaf. Daryl worked his magic, the birds came into range. I gently squeezed the trigger and click. I didn't know what to do. I watched the turkeys walk away. Daryl came over to me and asked me what happened. I knew I had a shell in the chamber so I kicked the shell out and the primer had a dent in it. It didn't fire. I was sick to my stomach. I probably could have shot 2 of the 3 toms in front of me. It was a good and definitely a memorable hunt as well. So I’m 0 for 2 so far and after that hunt I never got to hunt anymore last season after that due to work. This season I hope to change my luck!
Here's me turkey hunting in previous seasons
Another reason I'm excited this year is because I have a new hunting partner. If you are active online and in the outdoors in SC then you may already know her. Her name is Blakely Byrd and she is a pro staff member for several different companies including Banded. She owns the Sportsman’s Consignment shop in Columbia called “Catch and Release” which is also where we had this past year’s Predator Challenge Check-in. I met her at a Ducks Unlimited meeting and we have been friends since. I was recently telling her of myself never killing a turkey and she told me she could help me with that. She has some land down in Columbia that has been burned off and has several food plots and is a turkey paradise. It has produced several nice toms for her every year.
Blakely has definitely gotten her share of turkeys before
We will start scouting next week locating birds. With the new growth from the burning the turkeys will be in looking for insects and new tender growth to eat. There will be a lot of walking but I'm up for the challenge. So there is a lot to be done before April 1st, but I’m looking forward to it.
Thanks for reading and I hope that this series will be helpful to you in some way. I’d also like to thank this blog series sponsor
HeyBo Southern Apparel and Catch and Release Sportsman's Consignment for sponsoring this journey with me.