Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
This past season was another great hunting season and we had some really nice bucks posted to the site! Thanks again to everyone who entered the competitions as well as our sponors who made it all possible.
I always enjoy giving out prizes to the competition winners. It's fun to see them smile and finally get their prizes. This year I had a tough time getting all of our schedules lined up so it took me a little longer to get the prizes to the winners, but I finally tracked them down. I made a quick video showing the winners getting their prizes. We had some happy campers on hand!
Giving out prizes also signifies the end of another good hunting season. Stay tuned as there will be more to come on WeHuntSC.com!
The below blog entry is a guest blog entry by Scott Efird
It was late on a winter afternoon, and my computer screen was buzzing with unanswered emails and reminders of upcoming appointments. Just as I grab my coat, I reluctantly open the last email. It wasn?t the content of the message, but rather the memories that immediately flashed through my mind when I read the note from Mike Johnson, the general manager of Moree?s Sportsman Preserve. The hum of the computer disappeared and I had already forgotten about the stress of the day as I glanced over to a picture on my credenza of four guys standing beside a wooden cabin, laughing with a new spirit filling their souls. There are few weekends that I remember more clearly than the one I spent last February trekking through the sun drenched hills of South Carolina with my Benelli M2 twelve gauge on my shoulder and three good friends along my side. It was quail season and it was time for a guy?s trip to a place we?ve never been and for a hunt we?ve never experienced together. It all started with a call to Moree?s Sportsman Preserve in Society Hill, SC. The Preserve is about forty miles outside of Florence, so it was within range for a weekend trip. It was already late in the season and I was sure Mike Johnson, or as I soon would be calling him, ?Big Mike?, was going to turn me away within a minute or so. Luckily enough, there was a recent cancellation and we were slotted for the A-Frame cabin, which is nestled on the edge of a large pond stocked with catfish and surrounded by acres upon acres of rolling hills and straw grass. Moree?s offers all kinds of hunts ranging from guaranteed big game hunts including deer and wild boar to guide-led hunts for upland birds. We were slated for an all day quail hunt with a few Chinese ring-necked pheasants to boot. As I hung up the phone, I was already mentally rifling through my hunting gear searching for an excuse to make a run to the Bass Pro Shop. A few short weeks later, we loaded up the truck and headed out of town in search of the thrill of the hunt and the tranquility of the preserve. We pulled up to the main lodge and were welcomed by Big Mike, who was sitting on the front porch flanked by a few guys who looked like they?d spent the morning in a duck blind. If there were a hundred people in a room, I have no doubt that you could pick out Big Mike without ever having met him. With a red checked shirt, jeans and an old John Deere cap, his smile spread from ear to ear. He wears his age on his face but his grin and welcoming spirit remind you of a much younger man. He carries himself with ease and without premonition. With such a large preserve to manage including the reservations, guides and various hunts, I expected him to cut the meet and greet short, get us on our way and move on to the next group. I couldn?t have been more wrong about Big Mike and soon appreciated the humility and grace that he showed to every hunter. It was almost as if he knew something that we didn?t and I was determined to figure it out. Big Mike lined us up with an afternoon at the skeet range so we could get warmed up for the morning hunt on the following day. Moree?s sports a ten-station skeet range equipped with top of the line side by side ATVs to transport you from station to station. We were challenged by every type of shot you could imagine, including picking off skeet that sailed just above the water. After a friendly competition and a few jabs at one another for errant shots, the sun had retired for the day, so we headed back to the cabin to fire up the grill and wet a hook.
The shooting was incredible at the preserve, but standing on the dock casting a spoon in an opening by the pier as steaks sizzled in the background may be my favorite memory from the trip. The office wasn?t calling, the kids were safe and healthy, my wife was at home and texted me she loves me. A sense of true gratitude and appreciation of the blessings in my life just came over me and to this day, that is what draws me back to the preserve.
The aroma of freshly brewed Starbucks woke me in the morning and the other guys are already decked out in their bird vests and blaze orange hats. We geared up and met Larry, our guide for the day, out in the field designated for us. Immediately, I knew we had a great guide. Larry?s blaze orange was more of a faded pale yellow with worn boots and a steel whistle dangling from his neck. No doubt about it, Larry knew these hills like the back of his hand and his control of the dogs was something to admire. The birds are pen bred and placed earlier that morning throughout the hills and near the ponds. Every so often, we?d duck into the woods to spot a few of the quail that we missed on the first attempt. For the most part, the hunt is out in the open and it?s then when you realize the expanse of the preserve and its beauty. Larry ran between two and three dogs over the course of the day and the dogs seemed to have no limits. I remember as we were climbing up a hill, the dogs led us to a small pond and the lead dog pointed. In obedient fashion, the other two dogs pointed directly behind the lead dog. I flushed the covey and three quail darted left with one solo skirting to the right over the pond. No one but me saw the solo bird, so I quickly adjusted my stance and dropped the quail in the middle of the pond. Without hesitation, the lead dog leapt in to the pond and paddled all the way to the bird and back dropping it at my feet. I could see Larry smiling off to the side as he turned to help the others retrieve their birds.
As the hunt winded down, we came upon a ridgeline in the hills and Larry told us to be ready for pheasant. When you?ve spent the day shooting at 5-7 ounce birds and you see a beautiful Chinese ring-necked pheasant soar from beneath the tall grass, I?m telling you ? your jaw drops. We almost didn?t even shoot the first pheasant as we all stood in surprise and awe. At the end of the day, we bagged all 150 quail and five pheasant, mostly thanks to Larry and his dogs for their tireless efforts to track down every single bird.
Back at the cabin, we didn?t have the energy we did the first night, so we sat around the fire, cooked some Wahoo on the grill and swapped stories of the hunt. By the morning all of the birds were cleaned, iced and ready for us to take home. Big Mike helped us load the birds in the truck and saw us off. From the moment we arrived, everything at Moree?s that we experienced was first rate. As we headed back to the big city, I smiled to myself as I finally figured out Big Mike?s secret ? what he knew that we didn?t. Moree?s isn?t just a preserve for the sportsman, it?s a sanctuary for renewing friendships, remembering your core values and appreciating God?s beautiful landscape.
The 2nd Annual WeHuntSC.com Predator Challenge was this past weekend and it was another great event. This year?s Predator Challenge showed a lot of growth in both the number of competition entrants as well as sponsors. We had over 100 hunters participating in SC, NC, & GA and minus a little bit of wind on Friday night, the conditions were great!
Hunting started at 3pm on Friday and hunters had to bring any predators they bagged over the weekend to the check-in on Sunday by 4pm. Every few minutes shoppers from the Sportsman?s Warehouse came by the check-in to see what was going on and slowly but surely hunters brought their predators to check-in. It was really neat to meet a lot of the guys (and gals) who participated in the weekend challenge and get to know the people behind the avatars/posts we see online. I learned a lot simply from talking with these hunters and feeling them out for helpful tips/info on predator hunting. There was definitely a synergy at the check-in and one could feel the passion for predator hunting among those present at the Sportsman?s Warehouse.
One thing I can tell you is that the sport of predator hunting is growing fast in our area. Everyone we spoke with, whether they currently hunted predators or not, spoke of how they wanted to start predator hunting or how they?d heard about it and were really interested in it. A lot of people we spoke with are really focusing on predator hunting and are putting more energy into it. Collectively we feel the need to hunt predators as coyotes are killing livestock that farmers depend on along with drastically reducing deer & turkey populations in our state. Just read DNR?s latest report to see some statistics.
Below is a video with some pics from the check-in
One neat thing I?d like to mention is that one of our teams even had sponsors for their hunt. David Pruett & Todd Davis? ?Team Upstate? was sponsored by Golf Cart Service of Roebuck, SC. David & Todd brought a Stealth Electric Vehicles Apache 4x4 EV to the check-in and I?m telling you what... that thing was slick. It?s electric & extremely quiet. Todd & David said they even tried to get it stuck and couldn?t? and didn?t even have to put it in 4 wheel drive. If you think being electric means no power and no speed? then think again because this unit was stout.
Congratulations to Terry, Mike, & Chip for going back to back and really representing by bringing in a truck load of predators. I also thought it was a very kind act when Terry, Mike, & Chip turned around and gave the majority of their prizes away to the other hunters and attendees at the check-in. Because many of the prizes were duplicates from last year they decided to share their winnings with those in attendance. So we put names in a hat and drew them out & gave most of their prizes 1 by 1 to everyone present at the check-in. So kudos to Team Defending Champs for not only winning, but for being gracious with their prizes as well. (I think everyone at the check-in would agree).
The big winner of the day was Team Black Coyote who won both 2nd place and the Big Dawg award. Winning both categories doubled their prizes winnings. Mr. Jesse Dean and his son drove away with some really big smiles on their faces and with a truck full of prizes headed back to Lincolnton, NC. Jesse was pumped up and rightfully so!
Thanks again to all the sponsors who donated prizes so that we could host the challenge again. We?ll be back next year at the same time to do it again so from now until then? keep shooting coyotes!
Yellow Cape Communications is a communications firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Yellow Cape specializes in television production, multi-media for web, still photography, communications consulting, marketing communications services and all things web. You've seen Yellow Cape?s work before when you first come to the site and see the girls in camo introducing our site. You may also have seen the 2010 Central Eagles State Championship Documentary or the Chesterfield County Career and Technology Education video. I also had Jason produce a DotNetNuke SuperFan Video for me and it turned out really good!
Jason Fararooei and his team at Yellow Cape Communications create top notch multi-media communications - so if you work for an organization that may need multi-media creation, photography or communications consulting services, check Jason out www.YellowCapeCommunications.com
While we were shooting videos we noticed something odd that lead to the below video which is the 5th and final video in this series
Another deer hunting season has come and gone and now it?s time to vote this year?s deer competition winners. Thanks to everyone who participated and posted pictures. Keep in mind that the 5 finalists are selected by a committee and only pictures that had the date in them were considered. The selections were based on the biggest deer, best picture combination. Now the winners will be determined by your votes.
The below blog entry was submitted by Jimmy Bradley of Pageland, SC
I?m like many people reading this blog entry. I?m just a good ?ol country boy from a small town and I love to hunt. I spend my time chasing deer, turkeys, and everything else around South Carolina. I?ve hunted in South Carolina all my life and I?ve never paid to go on a guided hunt before, but my recent trip to Iowa was my first exception. I was really excited to be going and, as you may imagine, I also had a lot of concerns because I had no idea what I was getting into.
It was a long trip to arrive to Iowa, but the whole time my mind was thinking of the hunts that potentially lied just ahead of me. When we arrived to the lodge I was very pleased with the place, it looked like a picture out of a magazine! The rooms had two bunk beds along with two private showers and a bathroom. I looked at the craftsmanship of the beds and noticed that they were uniquely built. An Amish guy local to the area of the hunt had built the beds and he also built a huge dining table along with a lot of trim work on the inside. The hand crafted wood work was really nice, almost to the point of artwork. As one would imagine, there were plenty of nice deer heads on the wall and around the fire place too. It was what you would imagine in a quality hunting lodge.
Tom Bomell was our guide and he was also the main person who set up all the trail cameras on the property. He did plenty of scouting and research and had several monster bucks on film for us to look at on the computer before we even arrived to the lodge. It was very important for us to know what animals were on each farm so we could look for specific deer. Tom worked very hard taking us out to the stands and picking us up after the hunts. He was also a very big part of why our trip was so nice! On a side note Tom was very proud of some of the nice bucks his son has taken. He showed us some pictures of two awesome bucks that his son had recently taken one. He son shot a really nice buck with his bow. I can?t blame him for being proud about those and I?m glad he shared those images with us.
Our host was a gentleman named Brenton Clark along with his wife Rachel. They were very friendly and were always ready to help us in any way they could! Brenton really takes pride in getting his guests trophy bucks and he and his wife do everything possible to ensure guests have a good experience. Their hospitality was part of what made our trip special.
Every morning we had a buffet breakfast usually consisting of eggs, bacon, ham or sausage, and pancakes. They made sure we didn?t hunt on an empty stomach! For lunch we would have a lighter sandwich type meal. Since we hunted from day light to dark we carried our lunch with us out on the hunt. At supper time we returned back to the lodge and met in the dining room for another great meal and everyone talked about the day?s hunt. We all discussed what happened on our hunts and we usually had a lot to talk about!
The hunting was as good as it gets. We hunted out of nice, huge box blinds with heaters in them. These stands overlooked corn fields, soybean fields, and several types of planted food plots. It was not uncommon to see 30 + deer a night in these fields! After being in a stand for the first 30 minutes of the first day, I knew I wasn?t on my typical kind of South Carolina hunts.
They also had ladder stands and lock-on stands that overlooked trails and food plots. The guide took us in every morning and he would either pick us up at lunch or at night depending on whether you wanted to hunt all day or not. I wanted to get the most out of my trip so I hunted all day long on 4 of the 5 days we were there.
There were a total of 13 guys in two different camps and we had 5 deer killed over 140 inches and one that went 166! Then we had another 2 guys miss and one made a bad shot and just winged the front leg on another buck. Some great deer were harvested while we were there.
I should mention that we also had a camera man with us at the lodge. One of the best parts of my our trip was meeting editor and camera man Nathan Delong! He works with Lee and Tiffany Lakosky and the show ?The Crush? with Lee and Tiffany! Nate lived only a half a mile from the lodge we stayed in and was like one of the family there. It was a pleasure to meet him and he gave his testimony with us and shared his story of how he became a part of the show. He also told us all about Lee and Tiffany and how hard they work to make their farms so good. He told us how they work from day light to dark on their food plots and also how strict they are on what they shoot! He told us about the various food plots they plant. He also told us that Blake Shelton is a hoot in camp and always ready to make you laugh! My friend Tony said he could have sat and talked to Nate all day!
I saw 16 deer the first day of my hunt, 3 of which were good bucks, and I was in hog heaven. I saw 3 bucks and 2 does the second day and on third day I saw 21 deer! The third day brought 5 bucks and 2 of those were over 140 class, but I could not get a shot! On the fourth day I saw 15 deer and had a nice 130 class 8 point walk by me at 30 yards! On the final day I saw one doe on the morning hunt then we changed farms and went to one that had not been hunted for the afternoon hunt. This location had two stands on it and I went to the bottom stand and at 4:15 had a 170 class buck called the ?Big 10? come out 40 yards from the other ladder in the field! Yes I was SICK!!!!!! He never came my way though because he got busy chasing a doe and left with her! My heart was in my throat. It was an awesome experience in the woods.
Over the course of my trip I never pulled the trigger. Even though I did not kill a deer this was still the greatest time I have ever had deer hunting! It was so amazing to sit in a stand and know at any time you could see the deer of a lifetime. The owner and his wife made every effort to see that I killed a deer and it just didn?t come together. The food, the lodge, the hunts, and the hospitality was awesome and I?m already scheduling my trip back next year. If you are looking for a hunt let me know they only take a certain amount of hunters and it fills up fast. The cost to hunt is $3,500.00 and the tag is like $590.00. Yes, it is a lot of money, but it is also a chance to have a hunt of a lifetime.
Going on a guided hunt to somewhere you have never been is hard and it keeps you wondering the whole time did I make the right decision? Well I can honestly say in my case I did and I was very pleased with the whole experience!
For more information check out http://www.seiaoutfitters.com