Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
We?re excited to announce that we?ve partnered with some SC waterfowl enthusiasts & WinnTuck to host a SC Youth Duck Hunt Give-Away! I?m telling you this prize package is one of the best that you could win. I went hunting at this location last year and can tell you that you?ll see more mallards there at one time than you will at almost any place in South Carolina that?s not a preserve. I?m really looking forward to the entries for this contest as well as the hunt itself.
We were contacted by some local waterfowl enthusiasts about them wanting to donate a duck hunt on the Federal Youth Day that happens right after the season ends. Of course we jumped to this opportunity and have been planning ever since. The short of it is that 2 lucky SC youth waterfowl hunters will win a free overnight hunt, stay at a lodge, some gear, free meals, and an awesome hunt!
We do have some rules for entering so be sure to pay attention. Contestants must be from South Carolina and must be 15 years and younger to enter. To enter, the youth hunter must write a paper detailing why they like duck hunting and why being a conservationist is important to the sport of waterfowl hunting. Entries must be submitted by January 15th and then we?ll select the 2 winners and contact them. Shortly thereafter we?ll be getting ready to hunt!
The contest winners can be accompanied by one adult male who will also be able to sit in the blind with the youth on the hunt. We?ll be watching a highly trained duck dog named ?Shine? go and retrieve the ducks that the youth harvest and the whole trip will be videotaped and blogged about right here by me! All meals will be provided on this hunt and, from experience, I can tell you that the meals are good!
The accommodations are really nice as the lodge is literally right beside the duck pond and there will be bunks, a bathroom, air conditioning, a heater, a shower, kitchen, etc. Everything you could possibly need for a great duck hunt will already be there from the lodge all the way to the blinds. This will be a hunt a youth hunter will most likely remember forever. Also, if a winner opts not to stay the night at the lodge we can easily meet up early that Saturday morning of the hunt and make it work.
To top all of this off WinnTuck has joined in and sponsored the event and is giving away some free gear to the winners of this lucky hunt. WinnTuck has some really nice and stylish merchandise and even if we leave without some ducks we?ll have some full bellies, good memories, and really cool stuff to wear.
Below is a video of the setup and Shine the duck dog in action
I?m really looking forward to this so if you know any youth hunters interested in waterfowl hunting, be sure to forward this to them. We?re ready for an action packed weekend & I?m trying to pull strings and even get Mr. Blake Hodge to come out and do some calling lessons on the night before if he?s not booked somewhere else.
Check out the WinnTuck Youth Duck Hunt Give-Away page for more information, pictures, and to submit your entry.
As I drove down an old farm road the other day I was immediately reminded that deer season is just around the corner. Velvet antlers caught my eye as a young buck stopped at the sight of the four wheeler. As the buck slipped into the thicket I sat there for a few minutes and soaked in the silence. It was then I decided to make a detour and head down to one of my favorite spots in the woods.
I entered the old oak hollow and followed a trail that lead to a spot that my Dad and I discovered some twenty years earlier. On top of a little knoll we found the perfect funnel area for deer to travel between the two adjacent crop fields. It didn't take long for Dad and I to nickname the spot "The Acorn Stand". I can still picture the first time I eased through those woods by myself when I was twelve years old. Not much has changed about the spot over the years except for that stand that Dad and I put up. It has started to look like a retired prize fighter over the past several years. Standing only a meager eight feet tall in its prime the stand seems to have shrunk and it now stands with a distinct sway to one side. I was hesitant about climbing it that day but as I reached the top it was as if I had just sat there for the first time all over again. Mother nature and time have put a beating on this stand but the stand still had that feel that made it my favorite spot from the first time I hunted it.
My detour that day to my favorite hunting spot was not only to reminisce but also in anticipation of the upcoming season. This season only a couple hundred yards away from where I made my first memories in the deer woods another young hunter will climb into a stand with the hopes of a successful hunt. The young hunter is my cousin JD. JD will be twelve this coming season and after taking him last year on a hunt I could tell that the passion that caught fire when I sat in "The Acorn Stand" twenty years ago was there for him as well.
I'm not exactly sure how the season will go but as I sat in my favorite spot that day I thought about how fun it was going to be to walk with JD on this journey of his first deer season. JD has been helping me get ready for the season and I know he's pumped. My goal is to help guide him through the ups and downs that a young hunter goes through and also to teach him as much as I can about the things I've learned over the years. Another goal is to try to capture as much of his season on video so one day JD can watch it unfold over and over again. So with all that being said wish JD luck and say a few prayers for the cameraman. I think this season will be a special one.
It seems like time just slips away on me and before you know it deer season is almost here and I feel like I?m behind on my envisioned schedule. This past weekend I pretty much dedicated the whole day on Saturday to accomplishing some things I?ve wanted to do for a while. There are always cameras to put out or move, feeders to set up, stands to move & check, ground to plow, and the list goes on and on. Up until now I?ve been doing some of this whenever I could, but with the season right around the corner for me I had to get on the ball.
I ended up not getting home after our game on Friday night until 2am. I had an 8 o?clock meeting on Saturday morning to do some work so, as you may expect, I was a little tired. After getting a biscuit and a Bojangles sweet tea I was good to go. We took the tractor over and did some plowing on one of our hunting properties. I?m planning on doing a separate blog about these food plots so I won?t go into too much detail other than to tell you that the tractor messed up on us after plowing the first plot. We had to stop at this location shortly after the tractor quit running. I did walk the land some taking a few pictures and as I walked down one area something caught my eye?a 4 foot long snake! I did have my snake boots on and I was glad that I did because initially just seeing this thing scared me. I looked closer at it and saw that it was just a black snake and that calmed me down a little bit. I tried to get a picture of it, but it scurried off before I was able to get the camera on my phone turned on.
Also, walking down this same path I saw where some turkeys had been ?dusting? on the edge of the woods. I had never heard of a turkey ?dusting? before until last spring when Mr. Puette told me about it. Apparently turkeys can get mites that aggravate them and to remedy this they choke the mites out by wallowing around in dust. I guess it makes them feel better, but you could definitely see the circular patterns of dirt on the edge of this area and the turkeys had dropped some feathers there as well. I guess it?s a good sign to see that you have turkeys on the property though!
After my walk (and since the tractor quit working) I moved on to the next business I had on schedule for the day. I traveled down to my in-laws house where we put together a new deer stand. Last year at Christmas I got a deer stand as a present and I exchanged it for a ?buddy stand? and have been meaning to get it together and put up for some time now and I finally got around to it. Turns out putting this deer stand together and putting it up was quite the process. My father-in-law and another member of the family helped me assemble the stand and it took 3 of us about 3 hours to figure it all out and get it properly assembled. The parts weren?t labeled and the directions weren?t the greatest. The winds from hurricane Irene were blowing enough to keep it somewhat cool, but every now and then they?d stop and the sun would come out and it was really hot. We had tons of pieces of this deer stand just lying around on the driveway and slowly but surely we figured it out. In retrospect I don?t think one person could have gotten it done by themself and if so, it would have taken about double the time necessary. It was a project to complete and some bonding time with my in-laws nonetheless.
After getting the stand assembled it was time to get the stand up. One of my in-laws who was assisting just happen to have a new tractor and the tractor made it really easy to carry the parts back down into the woods since there was already an old road there. We drove the stand there in pieces and then put them together and got it up on the tree. The stand is higher than I would normally like (around 17 feet) because I don?t like heights, but it?s pretty sturdy so I think I?ll make it. It seemed that the biting flies back in these woods particularly liked me for some reason. I had several encounters with biting flies and on some occasions they won and on some occasions I did. Putting up a deer stand while being harassed by biting flies is not one of my favorite past times! We took some extra straps to go around the tree and up the tree as I moved up the ladder to ensure safety. After getting to the top I winched the stand as tight as I could to the tree. The stand had two wenches and I got both of them really snug and then we put the roof on which I also winched really tightly. After everything was set up I put the skirt on and unzipped the windows to look out and see the new perspective on the scenery. It looked good!
I sat in the stand and as I looked out I thought to myself that if I ever got a deer out of this stand that I would remember this day and all the sweat, time, help from others, and fly bites that were necessary to get all this accomplished. A lot of energy was put into getting that stand up in that tree. Hopefully I?ll be able to get some good footage and maybe even a good buck out of the stand this season.
In case you were wondering how I go that much free time on a Saturday let me back up and say that earlier that day my wife and her mother went shopping. Yes, that explains it all right. When they were leaving they asked if we needed them to pick us up anything. Sarcastically I responded and said ?Pick me up some deer corn? because I knew they weren?t going shopping anywhere that I would have deer corn. After all of our work we returned from putting up the deer stand and they had returned and my wife said ?I?ve got your deer corn in the back? and I almost couldn?t believe it. Yes, I?ve got a good wife! She had picked me up a bag of corn. I was still dirty and sweaty and figured I might as well go put it out while I was there and able to. I didn?t give her a hug at the moment because she wouldn?t have it, but I did thank her and grabbed the bag and headed back to the woods. As I turned I noticed that my father-in-law had an old large PVC pipe leaning on a building. It could potentially make a great feeder if he wasn?t going to use it. I asked him if he had plans for it and he said no?10 minutes later I had a skill-saw out cutting it at the bottom and smoothing the top off. The only problem was that this thing is white and stands out like a sore thumb. I?m going to paint it at some point, but for now it will just have to suffice. So I headed back down into the woods and had me a homemade feeder and a bag of corn. I strapped it to a tree and filled it with corn. I?ve had a salt block down there now for a couple of months and they are definitely licking on it. It?s starting to get smoothed out. The corn feeder is right beside of the salt-block and they are both about 30 yards in front of my stand. Hopefully all this hard work, some feed, and a salt-block out there for the deer will keep them coming in regular. If I get lucky then you?ll probably read about it on a future blog sometime.
All in all it was a very productive Saturday even though the tractor quit working half-way through our work at the first location. I was dead tired by the end of the day and I downed 3 gatorades in a row when I got back to the house. My body was hurting?literally. My eyes were burning from the sweat getting in them, my back was aching, and the sweat had dried on me making me feel just sticky and grimy. Combine all that with the sting of the biting fly bites and you?ve got how I was feeling. Needless to say it didn?t take me long to get to sleep that night.
I think about all of this hard work, time we put in, and energy we hunters spend in preparation for hunting season and wonder if it?s worth it. I can remember hunts where I?ve harvested deer and know that it?s very worth it when you?re able to have that experience in the woods.
I?m looking forward to this coming hunting season and guess what?s going on this coming Saturday as well? another work day!
Then Gideon said to God, ?If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.? And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. -- Judges 6:36-38
On a hot September afternoon in 2010, I sat high in a tree in an aluminum climbing stand. Cicadas buzzed loudly in the woods behind me, and the constant whine of mosquitoes was quickly pushing me to the end of my patience. A drop of sweat rolled down the side of my face and splashed onto the limb of the bow that lay in my lap.
In front of me, a stick snapped in the woods and the little flock of doves that was milling around in the tiny clearing scattered, their wings whistling as they beat the air trying to gain altitude. Soon another stick cracked, and then I heard the unmistakable crunch of leaves as a deer approached the clearing.
Slowly and cautiously I stood up in the stand, feeling the pull of the safety harness as it tightened around me. I raised my bow into an upright position, being careful not to let the nocked arrow bang against the rails of the stand or the riser of the bow. The cicadas ceased their buzzing, and a hot wind swirled around me.
Through an opening in the thick brush that surrounded the little clearing, I saw a hint of brown; the body of the deer. Just a few more steps, I thought. Come on deer, come get some acorns.
With a loud snort that almost made me fall out of the stand, the deer turned and vanished back the way it had come. The sound of its footfalls thudded against the hard earth, and I knew that it was gone for good. And I knew that any other deer in the area had probably heard it leave.
Cursing silently, I settled back down into the stand and rested the back of my head against the tree. Immediately, I was regretful for my response. God, I prayed. The early part of this season has been such a struggle. It?s hotter than heck out here, and the mosquitoes are terrible, and in five trips afield I haven?t seen a single deer. Last year was such a great year, and now this. Have I angered you in some way?
Around me, the birds slowly started moving again, and the cicadas resumed their loud buzzing. A squirrel darted into the clearing, grabbed an acorn from the base of a white oak tree, and then ran back into the woods. There was no answer from heaven, only the shriek of a fighter plane as it crossed the sky above me as it headed back to Shaw Air Force base from wherever mission it had been on.
I tried again. God, if you truly love me will you send me a deer right now? It doesn?t have to be a monster. Just a shootable buck; one that fits in with our club rules. Wasn?t there some verse in the Bible about some old Israelite who had tested God by asking Him to wet a sheepskin, but not the ground around it, if he was going to succeed in battle? If that was the case, would God not give me a similar sign?
As the day moved on, the sun began to set in the western sky, and still no deer appeared. I heard no further movement in the woods, and when the last light faded I climbed down from my tree and hiked back to my truck, tired and dejected. I made the long drive down the logging road back to our sign-in board where the other hunters had gathered to talk about what they had seen.
Many of them had seen groups of does, and one fellow got a good look at what he said was a really nice buck from a distance. Why them, I wondered, and not me? And this time I heard that still small voice in the depths of my mind. Your time will come, the voice said, and that was all. I believed those words, but still felt short-changed on the way the hunting season was going. The previous three or four seasons had gone so well that I just knew that this was going to be another good year.
As I drove home that night, I asked myself how many other times in the past have I sat for hours in a deer stand and asked God to send me a deer. How many prayers have I lifted up to Him saying, ?Could I have that one big buck today; the one that I?ll remember for the rest of my life?? And how many times have I asked Him to give me a sign that this would be the year that I got my biggest deer ever?
What causes us to seek for reassurance from God about the things in our life? We are told over and over that we should trust Him, and yet these signs that we ask for show a lack of trust in Him. Do we not believe that His heart for us is truly good? Or do we think that He is holding back on us in some way? Upon careful thought, I really think that this is what we believe, and why we don?t trust Him the way we should. Thought Questions In what ways have you tried to test God? Have you tried to determine His will by testing Him in one way or another? Why do you think we don?t always fully trust God? Is it because we are surrounded by fallible men, and we lump God in with them? Why don?t we always elevate Him to the place where He belongs? Now think about Gideon from the quote at the beginning of this chapter. Why do you think he tested God not once, but twice before he went into battle?
Things are getting ready to kick off for Huntin the World Southern Style. Opening day is just around the corner and we are busy planning hunts. As a cameraman on these hunts I have a unique perspective and in this blog entry I?m going to elaborate a little bit about being a camera man
As a cameraman for Huntin the World Southern Style the beginning of the season signals getting familiar with the camera again and with any new gear that?s been acquired in the off-season. Like an experienced hunter practices with his gun or bow, I practice with my camera. I practice so that when the time comes to make the crucial shot, I am ready and prepared as can be to get it on film.
This year is unique in that we have all new cameras. In previous years we used Canon cameras that worked great, but they became slightly outdated when everything turned to digital format. This season we are using new Sony cameras that record everything on two 32 gigabyte memory cards. This makes the process a lot easier when it comes time to transfer the raw footage from the camera to the computer for editing. Just as one does with his gun or bow, I have to familiarize myself with the new weapon of my filming arsenal.
I admit that I was a little nervous at first about using a new camera just as I would be about hunting with a new gun, but learning the new camera has not been that difficult as I thought it would be. A lot of the buttons are in relatively the same place and the new cameras have all of the same functions as the old one. John Kennedy, (another cameraman on Huntin the World Southern Style) and I went over the camera earlier this week making sure that everything was set to our specifications. Like any new piece of electronic equipment we had to check over all of the settings and make sure that they are functioning properly.
I?ve learned that there are two critical aspects of filming that a cameraman must ensure are in check. Audio is one of the two most important things to have set correctly when videoing. When the buck of a lifetime comes in grunting the audience will feel like they are right there in the tree with us. Focus is the other important thing. This way when we are filming we can capture the beauty of the hunt with such clarity that the viewer will feel like they are looking through a window into our world. We also have to make sure that every camera has all of the accessories needed to keep it running smoothly in the field. These accessories include a cleaning kit so there are no marks on the lens, extra batteries to keep the camera running during those long sits in the stand, extra memory cards, extra microphones and headphones. All of this is included in each camera bag when we leave for a hunt and there are definitely times when these extras come in handy. Taking the gear plus extras makes sure that we have everything we need to operate the camera while we are away from home.
A few days ago Ken Cobb and I went down to film a hog hunt at Williams Wildlife in the small town of Lodge, South Carolina. Small hunts like this are great practice to get warmed up for the season. This weekend I have another hunt at Cypress Creek Outfitters in Estill, South Carolina with a gentleman from Crosman Air Rifles. It will be important to get all the footage necessary to make a successful show while on the hunt. For this reason I am set with a script that has key points that are needed for this specific hunt.
From then on things will get crazy traveling across North America capturing hunts of a lifetime on film. Preparation is crucial so that I am ready to capture everything from humorous moments in camp to the most intense moments in the field.
This is a little insight as to what goes on behind the scenes as a cameraman for a hunting show. I will have stories from the road to write about soon, but until then, you can follow me and my adventures on my facebook page.
Hey y?all! Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Jamie Barnes, I?m 25 years old and yes I am a huntRESS. When asked to start blogging for Wehuntsc.com I jumped at the chance. The world needs more huntresses and I was eager to share my outdoor adventures with you all!
I grew up in Greenville, SC as one of three girls (my poor Dad, bless his heart). I am considered to be the ?country one,? out of the girls and probably the biggest Clemson fan you will ever meet. My two sisters are the type who loves clothes, fashion, etc., but for me I prefer to be a little outdoorsy. I?m not your typical girl. Sure I love to look cute, wear cute things, etc., but I love nothing more than to be outdoors. Hunting, fishing, being around animals, watching the sun set on a fall evening in the woods, country music, camo, anything John Deere, my dog, Jimmy Buffett, laughing, and Clemson football/sports are some of my favorite things.
I received my undergrad degree from the best college in the world, Clemson University (Go Tigers!) with a BA in Psychology. I then tortured myself and went against my religion when I was forced to go to "that other school" in the state to get my Masters degree in Social Work (MSW). Currently, I am a counselor for kids with mental health issues for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.
I imagine that you get tired of reading what I write after a while. This off-season we?ve worked hard to increase our blogging staff and we?ve made some great additions. We?re continuing the growth by adding our first female blogger to the site?Jamie Barnes!
Jamie is an avid hunter and loves the outdoors. Jamie resides in the Greenville area and is a proud Clemson alum! She?s been hunting and fishing with her dad for as long as she can remember and just enjoys being in the outdoors.
We?re excited to have Jamie on the WeHuntSC.com team and I know you?ll enjoy getting a different perspective on the outdoors from Jamie?s blogs. Join me in welcoming Jamie to the blog team!
"He said: 'I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.'" -- Genesis 3:10
Many years ago when I first started hunting, there were really only two camouflage patterns available: woodland green or woodland brown. Most of the guys that I knew wore the green variety, but occasionally I would run into an old-timer who favored the brown. Either way, there wasn't much choice when it came to picking out your hunting clothes for the new season. You might get lucky and find the occasional Trebark shirt in the Gander Mountain catalog, but we were still a few years away from seeing the first Realtree pattern.
Things have changed in the modern world, and there are now more patterns available than I could begin to list. And although I have my own favorites and I wear them regularly, I often wonder just how necessary this stuff really is. It's obviously important to break up your outline in the woods, but I've killed deer while sitting behind a brush pile wearing jeans and a Carhartt shirt.
My buddies and I have often talked about how camouflage is really just for the hunters themselves. It gives us commonality; a way to recognize each other when we cross paths in the little stores and grills that mark the countryside where we do our hunting. It is the uniform of our sport, and I proudly wear my own camouflage whenever I'm afield.
But thinking about camouflage also makes me think about how we as men often hide our true selves. Adam hid from God because he had become aware of his nakedness, and men as a whole have felt naked ever since. We fear being exposed as posers or phonies; as something less than real men, so we put on these personas that are images of masculinity, but are not who we authentically are. We wear our camouflage not just in the woods, but in our homes, our offices, and particularly in our church lives.
Several years ago, when my wife first mentioned the idea that we should start going to church, I resisted her. The idea of being around church people revolted me. I wanted to be in the presence of people who lived authentic lives, who talked about real things that were going on in their lives, and who would say more than "God is just blessing my socks off." I didn't want to go into a building where I would have to smile and make small talk with people who would do nothing more than talk about the weather or about how good God is.
In the end, I gave in and agreed to go with her to church. It was a life changing decision, and though she took the lead in the initial effort I quickly took the reins from her - sometimes gently, sometimes not - and assumed my place as the spiritual leader of our home.
We were fortunate in that we found a church home where we could share our lives with the people around us, and where the small talk is kept to a minimum. I've also formed a group of men -- a "band of brothers" -- among whom I can be who I really am and not hide behind the camouflage of "churchiness". I do not need to wear my fig leaf when I am with them, and though getting to this point has been a struggle, it has been one that was worth undertaking.
There are a couple of books that have helped me along my way. I highly recommend John Eldredge's Wild at Heart and Fathered by God. Erwin McManus also wrote a keeper in The Barbarian Way. These books have helped me to understand what freedom in Christ is all about, and they have helped me to remove my camouflage and move toward a more authentic life.
Action Point: What kind of camouflage do you wear as a man? As a Christian? Ask God to help you take off that camouflage and lead you into an authentic life where you truly experience freedom in Christ and have no need to hide behind a false self.