Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
WeHuntSC.com noticed considerable growth in site traffic this past week with the welcoming of several rabbit hunters from all over South Carolina. If you are into hunting rabbits and you?re in South Carolina, then you need to get in the loop with the rabbit hunters on our site. These guys are from all different corners of the state and are very passionate about rabbit hunting and the dogs they use to hunt them!
I don?t know much about rabbit hunting, but I?m learning slowly over time. Though, I can tell you from going hunting with Hoot and watching the message board that rabbit hunting is just as much about the dogs as it is about rabbits. I would venture to say that you won?t find many rabbit hunters who aren?t also dog lovers. Now it makes sense to me why Hoot didn?t even carry a gun when he took us rabbit hunting last winter.
It seems that the dogs must be trained year round and I will say that these ?bunn brothers? talk about the breed of dogs and where they descend from like they just researched someone?s family tree and wrote a report on their heritage. They know this stuff inside and out. If you?re not on the inside of the rabbit hunting world then the language they speak when it comes to blood lines can be a little hard to follow. I find it neat and interesting that these guys know all this information about their dog?s lineage and pedigree and discuss it so frequently. I guess it is necessary though if you want to have the best dogs trailing some rabbits!
We?re happy to have all the new site members aboard and welcome any others that may wish to join in on the fun!
We just rounded out our Thermacell Give-Away campaign and now a lot of WeHuntSC.com registered site members will be mosquito free this coming hunting season! A big thanks to Thermacell for partnering with us on this campaign to drive site registration and promote Thermacell in South Carolina.
So if you know any of these people, you may want to sit with them during the upcoming hunting season!
You may ask why I went to Inman to the True Timber headquarters earlier today? well it was for a reason? and we?re excited to announce that True Timber has gotten on board with WeHuntSC.com to sponsor not 1, but 2 competitions this year! True Timber Camo will be the title sponsor for the ?Youth Buck of the Year Competition? as well as a newly created ?Best Doe Competition". That?s right, the ?Best Doe? competition. We?ll have more details about that coming soon on the competition pages.
We?re excited about getting True Timber Camo involved and also excited about a newly created competition that we?ll have this year on the site. We?re interested to see how it will go and what kind of does will be getting harvested this coming year.
So not only did I learn a great deal about True Timber Camo, but I went and got some prizes for the upcoming competition winners. Looks like the winners of the Youth and Doe competitions will be bringing home a mixed bag of goodies, but True Timber is throwing in a very nice, True Timber camo patterned ground blind!
Again, we?re excited about getting True Timber involved and we look forward to delivering the prizes to the 2010 winners in the near future! Until then? Hunt Hard :)
And since I like this video so much, I?ve embedded it again below.
I woke up early this morning and headed over to Inman, South Carolina to visit True Timber?s headquarters and I was surprised at what I saw. Maybe I?m not in the loop, but I was completely clueless that we had such a large camo company based right here in our own back yard. I mean these guys have a nice sized operation going on right in the Spartanburg area. True Timber sits just north of 85 and is located literally right off I-26. It was an easy drive and the plant can be plainly seen from the road. If you?ve ever been up that road, then you?ve probably seen it before.
Since I was there early I took the opportunity to take some photos and videos of the outside of the facility. This place is a large plant and one can understand the vast size of the operation from only seeing the exterior of the building. Not too long after I took the pics and videos, Devin Sweeney arrived and showed me the way in.
Entering the place it?s very evident what the showroom is about as some mounted turkeys and seats with True Timber logos greeted us at the first entrance. On the inside of the front exhibition room all kinds of mounted animals were scattered everywhere throughout the open-aired space. I mean from deer, to alligators, to lions, to bears, to turkeys, different kinds of fish, and on and on. It was literally full of mounted heads. If you?re in to taxidermy, you should give the place a visit just to see all the creatures and good taxidermy work on display.
Once I was able to quit looking at the taxidermy, Devin started talking to me about True Timber Camo and gave me the history of the company and some facts about what they do. I took more pics and videos as we walked and talked. I?m sure it was aggravating for Devin because I stopped every few feet for another pic and/or video. I also asked him several questions just trying to get a feel for what they have going on at True Timber.
We left the front display room and headed to the back where the camo is actually made and where the products get pieced together. I was surprised to see that the manufacturing part of the company was also located right there in the building. So if you?re looking for home-grown American made products, then True Timber is definitely where you need to go! The back room was stocked with material, machines, printing presses, storage racks, fabric, and all the necessary items for creating products from scratch. It was really neat to see (and to hear Devin explain to me) how the whole process goes from the actual designing of the graphics to the printing and then to the creation of products. I learned some things about how the products are manufactured from the tour.
After touring the back of the facility, we returned to the front and looked at the product lines. I took a few more pics and videos. While looking at the products, Devin told me something that I found unique about True Timber?s product line. These guys make products for everybody?and by everybody I mean they include the big boys. Yeah yeah, you say?so they carry XXXL? that?s what I thought?think again my friend. They carry all the way up to XXXXXXXXL <--- (that?s 8X?s) ? so if you are a big boy, or if you know a big boy who has trouble finding camo, then send him on over to True Timber and they?ll get you/him fixed right up. The picture is of Devin standing inside of just one leg of a pair of 8X camo over alls!
In total I spent about an hour and a half at True Timber. It was a good experience and Devin was a first class guy who knows True Timber?s products and organization from top to bottom. He was able to give good answers for any questions I threw at him. My whole experience at the plant was a positive one and I was surprised to see that such a top-notch outdoor organization was located right here in our back door and yet I had no clue.
I?m sure you have your favorite hunting gear, shirt, jacket, or set-up, but at some point in time you?ll have to get some new gear and I encourage you to give True Timber?s product line a look. Not only are their products just as good as any of the competitors, but they are made right here in SC, and they aren?t nearly as expensive! Supporting home-grown business will only affect the economy in a positive way and will help promote an organization based out of South Carolina. Yes, I am a fan!
If you aren?t up for a trip to the Spartanburg area, True Timber?s camo patterns can be found in many well-known hunting gear outlets. Devin told me all the different organizations that carry True Timber products and there were/are so many that I couldn?t remember them all. Luckily, there is a link on True Timber?s web site that has this on hand for those of you who are interested. Check out the list of stores and companies that carry products featuring the True Timber camo design.
Also, I created a video to give you a feel for True Timber, their products, and facility.
I hope to see you in some True Timber camo in pics on the site in the upcoming season!
If you judge the level of activity on the site by the frequency of the blog entries in the past few weeks, then you are mistaken! It?s getting really busy here with everything leading up to deer season. We?re tying up loose ends, shifting the photo galleries around, maintaining/upgrading the site platform, going to meetings, taking part in hunting and fishing campaigns (you?ll hear about it soon), getting competitions lined up both on the site and with the sponsors, getting shirts and stickers squared away, getting ready for the fall food plots, working like the devil on a custom application for the site, checking game cams, getting stands out, visiting processors, and chasing people down via email to give them Thermacells and on and on and on. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it all!
So fear not, this is just the calm before the storm and we?re excited to see what hunters around the state have going on this coming season. We?re anticipating some exciting footage coming from the low-state down around the Hanahan area as Derek Coblentz & Nick Pye will be getting in the woods and blogging about their hunts. Of course I?ll be hunting (when the wife lets me that is) and carrying my cameras with me and trying not to miss another doe right in front of my face again?that one still gets to me sometimes. Anyway, with all this off-season food plot work, I just hope I can at least see one near the food plots! Only time will tell about it though.
We?re also getting considerable traffic from other states. From the metrics reports it looks like our friends right across the line in NC seem particularly interested in seeing what?s going on in SC. Maybe we?ll open up WeHuntNC.com next season and see who?s got the biggest deer in the Carolinas! And if the guys in NC happen to have pics of bigger deer than us, then we?ll just play them in football or baseball and settle things! (Notice how I left basketball out?mainly because of Duke). No man it?s all in good fun. We?ve actually got members of the site from NC so thanks for checking us out!
Don?t forget about the Pee Dee Deer Classic coming up next weekend (July 30 ? Aug 1!)
Remember to take your cameras in the woods with you this year or at least to get some pics so you can share with everyone!
About 2 years ago our office decided to go on a ?team building? trip. As many of you probably would be, I was very ?excited? about this great day away from doing anything that I really needed to be doing at work. We all knew we had to go, but we didn?t know where we would be going at first. Initially, I envisioned a lame day that would only get me further behind at my job and that would have me playing catch-up on emails the following day. Boy was I wrong.
Our boss took us to the US National White Water Center which is located just southwest of Charlotte NC. It?s right off both I-85 and I-485 (the belt loop around Charlotte). See directions to the White Water Center. It?s actually very close to Belmont, NC if you know where that is. Anyway, this place is awesome and I do mean with a capital A! I was very surprised at how something this cool could be tucked way back in the woods and yet not many people know about this facility. The location is also an Olympic training center where rafters and kayakers train. When we walked up to the facility we were walking uphill and then when we got to the top we saw the whole place and it is a very nice setup. Somebody put some time, money, and thought into this facility.
To attempt to describe the view?the scene consists of the white water rapids that are directly in front of you with the rock climbing towers to the left. The aroma of the food coming from the restaurant (which serves a really good menu...including sweet potato waffle fries) comes from the right. The restaurant also has a balcony where people eat, sit, and watch others raft. Also from this vantage point you can see the long zip-line that goes across the water to your right. There is a big platform where you can see them start the zip-line. Yes, you can get hooked up and zing from one side of the facility to the next. On your left near the restaurant is the White Water Store where you can buy any kind of shirt, hat, or outdoor oriented gear. Beyond what you can see are a lot of biking trails, hiking trails, and ropes courses. I?m telling you, this place is jam up?.not to mention that they have bands out there to play all the time and they?ve got a stage for the bands too! If you want to bring your dog, no problem?the facility is dog friendly as we saw a lot of people walking their dogs around the park. They also have huge rocks scattered throughout the center where you can sit and watch people do whatever activity they?re doing. I mean really you can sit about 5 feet from the rafters as they go buy. You could probably high-five one of them if you wanted. It?s neat to see them laughing, yelling, some crying as they hit the rapids.
From a technical standpoint (because you know I?m always analyzing someone?s web site and all things technical) they have something very neat. Throughout the day while visitors are rafting, the center has photographers that walk around and take pictures. At first I didn?t know who they were, but after going through the whole process I quickly learned. The pictures that these people take are sent to a database and it is done very quickly. We rode the rapids (and oh yeah, my boss got tossed from the boat which was awesome) and then after we were through we went to leave. On the way to leave you have to check your gear back in and in that building they have all these flat screen TV?s where you see the pictures that the photographers took. We actually saw a pic of our boss eating it and we all just died laughing. Instantly you think about buying a pic, but you?re all wet and don?t have your wallet on you?no worries because they store those same pics on their web site and you can go back and look through all the pics and purchase however many you want. A well thought out process that is efficient and uses the web site to the max?impressive. You know I loved it!
I should mention that you aren?t just thrown out there on your own. Each boat has 6 people in it + a guide. The center gives you a guide who directs the raft and tells everyone who needs to paddle and when they need to paddle etc. Even before getting in the boat we had a 30 minute sit-down lecture where we had to sign our life away and learn how to properly wear our helmets, life-vests, and even how to get back in the boat should anybody have fallen out. Another safety thing I should mention is that throughout the rapids, they have people who are only there for your safety?that is, if you fall out, they literally ?throw you a rope? and pull you to the side. I think the ladies who went on our trip really found that comforting. Keep in mind that this whole facility is man-made and they create the rapids with a huge pump. So the environment is a controlled environment in a small sense, but I will also say that the rapids are no child?s play.
My wife and I went there last night just to eat dinner and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed going out there. She had never seen the place before so we decided to do something different and venture out. There was even a wedding reception going on while we were there. We ate on the balcony and watched the last few rafters and kayakers go through the rapids while the band played below. We enjoyed it and yes the food was good.
The White Water Center also has Catawba River access and a ton of activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, eco-trekking, rafting, walking/running/hiking trails, zip lines, mega-jump, and an adventure course. They host events, have a conference center, and all kinds of programs for everyone. Yes, I took that right from their web site which is here: www.usnwc.org. Check it out for more info.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone. If you like the outdoors and adventure, you will like the White Water Center. The only complaint I have about the center is that they charge you for parking. There is a $5 fee just to park. It doesn?t matter whether you?re going to eat, raft, walk, make a u-turn or whatever. They have a little guard shack out front who stops you and charges you. That?s the only thing I didn?t like. Other than that, I give it 2 thumbs up. I think this would be a great place to take your family, church group, office team, etc. It is definitely worth the drive from wherever you may be in SC to get there. Before you come though, you may want to call ahead and also look at the schedule. This place gets booked up in the summer so you want to be sure to reserve your time when they have available options. You can buy various combinations of passes with the most expensive (for one day) being $49. See their pricing options here. This will get you access to every activity they have.
If you do venture out the whitewater center, respond in the comment section below and let me know what you thought about it!
* All photos in this blog credited to the US National White Water Center
Sorry it?s taken me a bit to get this one together, but I?ve been spread thin lately. As you know, we?ve been working on several summer food plots on our Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey. I?ve been documenting one plot very thoroughly and we?ve been carrying out the same processes in other locations as well. I?ve also documented much of the journey of our remote food plot. We?ve been getting some good rain and the lab lab and lab lab plus is starting to grow pretty well. I?d like to update you on a few of the plots because we?ve got some mixed results that we can already learn some lessons from.
Food Plot Location 1
Food Plot Location 1 is the location where we have been doing most of the documenting and I?ve got some bad news to report on this one. Initially we planned to plant this field with a no-till-drill which would get the seed in the ground without turning the soil up. We wanted to do this because this field had some weeds in it in previous years and their seeds remained on the soil. Using a no-till-drill is beneficial because it gets the seed in the ground without turning up the dirt. When the soil isn?t turned up the seeds of the weeds remain uncovered by the dirt and do not germinate while the seeds in the no-till-drill get planted into the soil. Since we couldn?t get access to the no-till-drill the undesired result has occurred. By not getting the no-till-drill we were forced to disc the field. This field had been sprayed, but spraying it only killed what was living on the surface. The seeds of the weeds remain dormant until they get covered in dirt. The moisture in the dirt causes them to germinate. Add all of this + our actions up and what do you get? a field covered in weeds and food plot product as seen below.
Since we have a mess on our hands in this field we have opted to spray it with 2-4 D + Round-up. We are going to spray it in hopes of killing the weeds in preparation for the fall plot. In short, the summer plot at this location = fail! Since we are spraying the field, we went ahead and sprayed a few different areas as that we are going to work on for the fall plots. I made it out late to the field, but I did get some footage of the other areas being sprayed. You can see how we sprayed it below.
Food Plot Location 2
Food Plot Location 2 has a much better result at this point and some deer tracks are already in the plot. We?ve even seen where some of the plants are getting nipped at the top already. This location has had food plot products placed in it year after year and there are no remaining weeds in the soil. For that reason, we were able to use a disc here without having a bad result (as we did at the previous location). You can see this plot clearly in the video, but here are some pics of it too. This food plot is kind of shaped like what a golfer would call a ?dog leg right? because it?s straight for a long time and then it curves around to the right at the top.
Here is a video contrasting Field 1 and Field 2? seeing the difference is easy
Food Plot Location 3
Food Plot Location 3 is a smaller area and is also coming along well. The soil here is a little more like clay than the sandy soil of the others. We were also able to get some pics of deer in this one on the game camera.
Remote Food Plot Location
The remote food plot is also coming along well so far. We?ve got some exclusion fences up in this location and we have fertilized it as well. The plants are growing well and since putting the fertilizer down, I think the plants look like they are a deeper green. Though, it could just be my eyes or something. See images and video of it below:
We were also able to get some pics of deer in the plot in the last few days. I couldn?t believe this one doe was so close to the camera at 5:00 in the afternoon in 100 degree heat! Then another snuck through at night and you can barely see her because the food plot is growing so high!
As we?ve traveled the ?Food Plot Journey? I?ve learned a lot about what to do and, as you can see with this journal entry, I?ve learned some of what not to do as well! Our inability to come through with the no-till-drill did not benefit us at location 1 because of the resident weed seeds in that location. By plowing and discing the field, we only covered the seeds of weeds (and other unwanted plants) with dirt allowing them to germinate. This happened because some seeds of weeds remained from previous years. Consequently, along with planting our food plot seeds and them germinating and growing, so did the seeds of the weeds. Since we?ve currently got a less-than-desirable food plot going on at location 1, we?re going to spray it with 24-d & round-up to try to start getting ready for the fall plots in that area.
So, we are not batting 1000, but we haven?t got benched by the coach just yet. I?m glad that the majority of the plots are going well, but I?m bummed that the main plot that I was documenting very thoroughly did not turn out. I?ll keep on reporting back with the others though to see what happens and we are planning to have fall plots in these locations as well. There?s a song by Meatloaf titled ?2 out of 3 ain?t bad? so that?s going to have to be the theme at this point.
We?ve got game cameras out in some of these plots and we?ll be moving them around in hopes of getting some good pics. There is a lot out there for deer to eat at this point, but sooner or later they?re going to come through these plots and pose for us. If we can get some good footage, I?ll post it here. Looks like I?m going to have to move the camera higher up the tree since the food plot product is now growing higher than the camera!
Years ago when you heard the word ?Pro-Staff? what did you think? Is it the same thing you think in 2010? A recent conversation I had brought this subject up and had me thinking about it which initiated this blog entry.
When I think about the word ?Pro-Staff? I think of a person, or a group of people, who are well recognized and respected in the hunting community who, may either get paid or who receive free products from organizations, to go out and test their new products. Coupled with that is the notion which may only exist in my mind, that the organization giving the products uses some type of feedback loop where the recognized hunter lets the organization know how their product(s) performed and can be improved. From this feedback, I envision the organizations making adjustments to their products in order to make them as good as possible. Thus, the hunter gets publicity, new products, and the organizations create solid products in which they feel confident because they?ve been field tested by the best. This is the definition of the term ?Pro-Staff? as I see it in my mind?.or as I use to see it.
Recently I?ve come to meet a lot of people who say they are ?on the ___(fill in the company)___ Pro-Staff?. More and more often I bump into people I?ve never heard of before who say they?re on a ?Pro-Staff?. Some even claim to be on multiple ?Pro-Staffs?. Is the hunting industry growing so fast that you can find a ?Pro-Staff? member right around the corner or is it just a coincidence? As I?ve come to hear the phrase used more frequently, I?ve recognized a growing grey area around the meaning of those two words?at least in my mind. Though, I could be unaware of some company?s aggressive campaign strategy surrounding making local hunters members of their ?Pro-Staffs? and if I am please let me know, but somehow I think the term is getting a little diluted and misused. Maybe orgs don?t mind letting people be on their ?Pro-Staff? because if they tell someone that they are on their ?Pro Staff? and send them some stickers and/or a shirt then instantly the person becomes a ____(fill in the company)____ promoter in their area? Maybe that?s the point of being on a ?Pro-Staff? though.
Now if you?re on a ?Pro-Staff? don?t be offended by my taking a critical lens and analyzing the meaning of the word ?Pro-Staff?. Words do have to have meaning right? I?m just asking the question. I may just be uninformed and out of the loop. So don?t go and get your feathers ruffled, rather enlighten me in the comment section below if you wish.
How many ?Pro-Staffers? do you know or have you met? Do organizations benefit from having hunters as members of ?Pro-Staffs??and if so, how? What is the criteria for being on a ?Pro-Staff?? Is it merely marketing strategy or is it to enhance the quality of their products? Is there a difference between being a field-tester and a ?Pro-Staffer?? Again, I?m just exploring the meaning of the phrase.
For all I know, I may be on a few ?Pro-Staffs? right now and not even know it. Maybe WeHuntSC.com should start a ?Pro-Staff? just for laughs, but not really. I think we?ll start selling SC-shed-antler-turkey-call-strikers and if we send you some + some stickers then you can be on our ?Pro-Staff?.
So what is your definition of a ?pro-staffer??