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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

Herd Balance
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management
We're continuing along in our blog series on game management. Having to research for these blog entries is helping me learn some things and forcing me to look at game management from various perspectives. We've talked about food plots and selective harvest already and in this entry we'll discuss "herd balance".

WeHuntSC.com - Herd Balance

The notion of herd balance is one that not all deer hunters consider. The term "herd balance" most commonly refers to the ratio of bucks to does in a given area, but it is also related to a deer's habitat. The overarching goal of herd balance is to have a quality deer herd. A quality deer herd means that the population of deer is in balance with the available forage and cover.  A balanced herd has deer that are healthy, well nourished, and the herd has a well-balanced ratio of bucks to does. A balanced herd will produce healthy fawns that survive winter and will also have an even distribution of deer age classes.

A significant number of hunters prefer to harvest antlered deer in comparison to antlerless deer, which leads to unbalanced sex ratios in the population. Dr. Dave Guynn, professor in the Department of Forestry, Clemson University and a member of the QDMA's Executive Board posted a great article on herd balance on QDMA's web site. In his article he asked the question "Why should we concern ourselves with maintaining a natural social balance in a managed deer herd? Because, to survive as long as they have, deer long ago developed social rules or mechanisms that would keep deer herds and their individual members fit and competitive. However, when harvest regulations allow hunters to deplete certain social classes (with deer, this is usually most or all bucks 1.5 years old or older) in an unscientific, haphazard manner, the herd's social mechanisms can become stressed". As hunters harvesting deer every year we should keep the concept of these social classes in mind. If we only harvest the largest bucks we see then we?re causing an imbalance in the herd that can have longer-term effects on the quality of deer in a given area.

WeHuntSC.com - Herd Balance

In his well written article Dr. Guynn also stated that 'In a balanced population, mature bucks will do most of the breeding. The presence of older bucks and their signposts may suppress the competitiveness and libido of younger bucks. Lower testosterone levels should result in decreased weight loss during the rut and allow young bucks to grow to greater size before they assume breeding duties." In the end of his article he noted "Once established, such socially balanced herds will have high rates of reproduction and fawn survival." I think we all want high rates of reproduction (bred by the big boys) and high rates of fawn survival. In order to help this process out we can take measures to ensure a balanced herd. The restoration of balance between males to females in the population, along with healthy habitats filled with high-value forage is a must for successful game management.  

WeHuntSC.com - Leslie Sims with a pic of the big buck she got in Pageland SC 2 weeks ago

If you're like me you don't hunt on extremely large tracks of land and it's easy to feel like your actions to improve herd balance may be futile. Since a deer herd will generally occupy a region larger than the area of land one hunts, it's a great idea to form a "cooperative". A "cooperative" is an agreement made by neighboring property owners to abide by game management practices. If agreed to and abided by it only takes a couple of seasons before the benefits will start being noticed. 
In this blog entry we've looked at the concept of herd balance as it relates to Game Management. Having a balanced herd is a critical part of effective game management. As we just witnessed this past week in Pageland, the size deer in South Carolina can grow to when hunters work together in a cooperative to practice game management can be amazing.
Information in this blog entry cited from:

Selective Harvest

WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management

In this blog series we're looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter's area. "Game management" in our approach stems from the perspective of "the everyday hunter" rather than someone who owns a ranch and is managing game as a business. We've looked at food plots in depth already in this series and in this entry we?ll look into the concept of "Selective Harvest".

As you would imagine, "selective harvest" simply means what you would expect, being selective about the deer that you shoot. This concept goes against the grain for some hunters because it means not shooting every deer that you see. Given a normal scenario, in order to have mature deer with good genetics on your land, a hunter simply can't shoot every deer he/she sees and expect to see a lot of "Monster Bucks" on the same land. Letting young bucks walk is critical in order to get mature bucks to hold on your land. I have been surprised at the number of bucks we're seeing now simply from practicing selective harvest on our hunting land for a few years.

WeHuntSC.com - Selective HarvestI'm no pro hunter and I'll admit that its way easier to "talk the talk" than it is to "walk the walk" when out in the field.  It's easy to get worked up when you see a deer and then the trigger finger starts to itch, but if you're trying to manage the game on your land then you must be able to control yourself. I try to think about the future and the bigger picture of what we're trying to do rather than getting caught up in the moment and yes it does get awful tempting sometimes.
Selective harvest involves a great deal of discipline. A hunter who is trying to manage his game must be disciplined about the deer that he/she does and doesn't harvest. The moments that I really debate whether I should or shouldn't shoot a deer are the moments I remember when I see the same deer the following year and he's that much bigger. We see the benefits of our discipline in the future by way of bigger, more mature bucks. It's also important to note that when it comes to breeding, it's better to have bigger, more mature bucks breeding the does than having the younger bucks mating with them. The helps spread good genes down the line to the deer of the future.
Several benefits can be drawn from implementing selective harvest in areas where game is being managed. The obvious benefit is that deer will mature and hunters can notice larger bucks over the course of a few seasons. A result that doesn't take as long to notice is that from practicing selective harvest on our hunting land I've noticed that I see more deer during hunting hours. Over time deer can "feel" it when hunters apply too much pressure and they either become nocturnal or simply stay away from the areas where they feel unsafe. When using the selective harvest approach deer aren't as pressured and disturbed and because of it they feel more comfortable about their environment. The more comfortable they feel, the more deer that will be seen. Every hunter that I knows enjoys seeing deer when they go out hunting.
One thing I've found helpful is to make the decision of what deer I will and won't shoot at before entering the woods. Once I make the decision, I stick to it. I go into the stand knowing that I will or won't shoot a doe and that I will only shoot a certain type of buck. I study the traits of a mature buck and I look for those traits if I see a buck while hunting. Having this knowledge helps me make decisions about the age of the buck and whether it's a "shooter" or not. Going in with a plan is always a good thing.
Many hunters think "If I don't shoot this deer then the guy in the woods across the road from me will." This may or may not be the case in every instance, but one can never truly know. We've tried to be proactive and talk about game management with hunters who hunt neighboring properties. Thus far everyone has been upbeat and responsive to this approach because ultimately everyone wants to see big deer. I think it makes everyone a little more optimistic if we know the people around us are also on the same page. Over the course of time, with everyone working together in our area, we are seeing bigger deer. The same concept can hold true for anyone who works at it and communicates. 
In this blog entry we've looked at a select harvest approach to deer hunting as it relates to game management. While being selective about the deer we do and don't shoot at can be tough at times, the benefits in the long run far outweigh the momentary happiness of shooting a small buck or doe. Selective harvest is a must in any game management strategy.

The Brow Tine Buck

 The Brow Tine Buck 7pt. 187#  

If you read my blog "Shed Crazy" you would have seen a shed that we found this past year of a buck that we later named the Brow Tine Buck.  This deer had unusually long brow tines that measured approximately 9 inches.  For that reason, this deer was on the top of the hit list for the 2011 season.  Fast forward to October 29th.

When the alarm clock sounded at 5:30 a.m. on October 29th the sound of rain was tapping steady on the window by my bed.  Without much thought I quickly turned it off and drifted back into oblivion.  What only seemed like a minute later, alarm number two sounded off on my Timex Ironman watch.  It was now 6:30 a.m.  As I lay there for a few seconds a couple thoughts drifted through my mind.  The first was the rain and the second was the rut.  After a few more seconds went by I figured that I better get up and check the weather.  After checking weatherchannel.com and taking a peek outside I decided that my thoughts of the rut outweighed the rain that seemed to be on its way out of town.  It was time to go hunting.

One thing I've enjoyed about this season has been using the Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle.  It has allowed me to store all of my gear in one spot and has kept my Crossover Camo suit ready at a moments notice.  Because I was running a little behind on this morning it was important that I have all of my gear ready to go in order to get ready quicker and get in the stand faster.  Did I mention that it's nice not to have to worry about cover scents.  The bag takes care of all that for me.  There's nothing like a good mixture of fresh earth and pine. 

As I made my way to my stand I thought that with the storm moving out the deer should be on the move.  I had a good wind as I walked in and I had a good feeling about the hunt.  Since I was late walking in I didn't have to sit long before the sky started to lighten up.  At about 7:30 a.m. I caught a glimpse of a deer moving through the cotton field.  I quickly turned to get my rifle ready.  The first deer was a doe.  I knew this could get good quick.  The doe was moving at a steady pace through the field so I scanned back across the field and there he was.  My first thought was what the heck is that.  I immediately knew the deer had a big body, but his rack was very unusual.  As the deer moved through the field I knew my window was closing fast.  I had to make a decision quick.  The deer then stopped and looked my direction.  That's when it hit me.  This was the Brow Tine Buck.  I quickly clicked off the safety and put the crosshairs behind his shoulder.  A loud crack and the buck jolted out of sight.  I couldn't see him crash but I could tell he didn't go too far.  What a feeling!  The Brow Tine Buck was down! 

As I sat in my stand after making the shot I thought to myself this must be the Year of the Brow Tine.  First we found his shed antler in March.  Then I picked up an awesome knife from CRKT.  Coincidently the knife is called the Kommer "Brow Tine".  And then it all comes together on October 29th with the "Brow Tine Buck" on the ground.  Awesome! 

The buck was definitely a good one to get out of the herd.  He ended up being a 187 # 7 point and a trophy in my book.  This year his brow tines measured close to 12 inches.  Crazy is all I can say!

Due to the rain I left my video camera at the house, but once the buck was on the ground a made the quick trip back to the house and got the camera.  Check out some of the footage.


Yellow Cape Communications - Video Series: Buddy Stand Benefits

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

Yellow Cape Communications has partnered with WeHuntSC.com on 5 quick-tip video segments to promote the basics in hunting and outdoor safety. Over the course of this deer hunting season we will be releasing the videos in this blog series. The below video, Buddy Stand Benefits is the 2nd video of the series.






Schofield's Duck Hunter Extravaganza

Just wanted to make sure you knew about Schofield's Duck Hunter Extravaganza that's going on this weekend. If you're into waterfowl hunting, and you like good deals, then you'll want to check this out. 

WeHuntSC.com - Schofields Duck Hunter Extravaganza

WeHuntSC.com - Schofields Duck Hunter Extravaganza

Early November Food Plot Update
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management Blog Series
As we continue on with the Intro to Game Management Blog Series we're about done with all the "work" that we have to do with our Tecomate Seed Food Plots. Now it's just time to watch them grow and hunt over them! 
I went out and took some pictures of the food plots one afternoon. These pictures show the plots about 3-4 weeks after fertilizing them. They are looking good and green! With frost starting to get here now and the leaves falling off the trees it won't be a long time until the deer are spending a lot of time in these food plots! I think they turned out pretty well and they've still got some room to grow.
Below is a photo gallery that I created with updated pics of each food plot. I hope to post one more update later in the season to give you another look,and hopefully we'll have some deer in these plots as well!
WeHuntSC.com - Early November Food Plot Update Photo Gallery
Now that we've covered food plots thoroughly we'll be moving on to other facets of Game Management that one should consider when thinking of managing game. Stay tuned!

Announcing the 2012 WeHuntSC.com Predator Challenge
    WeHuntSC.com - Download the Flyer
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We?re excited to announce that we?re hosting the 2nd annual WeHuntSC.com Predator Challenge! If you?re interested in participating go ahead and block out the dates for Jan 13, 14, & 15 because this is the weekend that the competition is happening. 
The rules this year are pretty much the same with only a few small changes. Teams will still consist of 3 hunters, you must be registered online in order to participate, and we?re still meeting at the Sportsmen?s Warehouse in Columbia, SC for the check-in. You can see the full list of rules under the ?Rules? tab on the predator challenge page. Keep in mind that this challenge is open to hunters from other states as well! If you?re in a neighboring state feel free to hunt and join us in the predator challenge. We?d love to have you.
Registration for the predator competition will go live on November 15th and we?re cutting it off on Jan 13th so if you?re going to have a team this year be sure to register on the predator challenge page during that time period. We have some good sponsors & prize packages and we?re still rounding out the last few so bear with us on that. We?re going to post the prize packages here shortly so stay tuned.
If you?re a deer or turkey hunter and are aware of what coyotes are doing to the game populations around SC then you should strongly consider participating in this challenge! Hopefully we can collectively put a dent in the predator population and promote the sport of predator hunting at the same time.
We?re really looking forward to the Predator Challenge and hope you are too! See ya at the check-in.
Find out more information on the Predator Challenge page.


1st Annual Sandhills Ducks Unlimited Conservation Banquet

There is more in the air than just a little chill. There is an excitement that only the opening of duck season can bring. 

This year, we have an added element to amp up the fast approaching season. On November 5, 2011, Sandhills Ducks Unlimited would like to invite you to the 1st Annual Conservation Banquet held at Windy Hill Manor in Pageland. The night will begin at 6:00 pm with a buffet dinner served at 7:00 pm. A live auction will start between 8:00 and 8:30 pm. There will be a silent auction, many door prizes and raffle prizes. There will also be an all you can eat BBQ buffet and an open bar. The auction will consist of DU premium artwork, many guns, hand carved decoys, several hunts, sculptures, knives, jewelry, hunting accessories, and greenwing merchandise. Wrecking Crew Guide Service and Quack ?Em Back Duck Calls & Merchandise will also be set up as vendors at the banquet. Blake Hodge, duck and goose calling champion, will be giving a calling demonstration.  It will be an entertaining evening with family, friends, fellowship and lots of fun! 

All proceeds benefit the conservation of wetlands across America. Since 1989, DU has conserved nearly 160,000 acres across the Palmetto State, investing more than $40,000,000.00 in South Carolina projects through DU and its partners. During the past year we conserved 2,034 acres through conservation easements and habitat restoration projects on Santee National Wildlife Refuge, ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, and Botany Wildlife Management Area. 

Banquet Details:


Saturday, November 5, 2011 6:00 pm


Windy Hill Manor

158 High Point Church Road

Pageland, SC 29728


$35.00 single ticket / $65.00 couple ticket / $20.00 greenwing ticket

*Includes annual membership

Tickets may also be purchased online here.


For more information, please contact me at (843)622-4938.

We look forward to seeing you all there!


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