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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

Guest Blog - Gifford Watkins' Hunting Adventure

The below entry is a guest blog from a friend of mine from Nova Scotia, Mr. Gifford Watkins

When I was a seminary student at Southwestern Baptist Theological School (Fort Worth) I took at job as an intern at Park Cities Baptist Church.  After working there a few weeks I got to know the mailman, who said due to his recent divorce he had extra room in his house.  I thought since most of my life was in North Dallas it would be a good idea so I moved in.  My fiance at the time thought it would be ideal for us to spend Thanksgiving at their ranch in South Texas.  As I packed a weekend bag, I heard the door slam and the footfalls of my new housemate.  I really didn't know that much about him at the time, but after I mentioned heading to a ranch for the weekend, he asked if I was going hunting.  I said I was not planning to, I didn't have a gun, or bullets, or a license to hunt in Texas, to which he said, "Puh, you don't need a license, do you want to borrow a gun?"  I asked what sort of gun and that was when the fun began.  His name was Troy.  Troy led me to a wall in the living room where he pushed and out came a door; the door to his cache. A huge steel cabinet with decals I cannot describe (Death from Above might ring a bell with some) was unlocked and inside, was well, the inside.  I chose a Smith and Wesson .41 caliber hand cannon with a scope and 6 bullets; three hollow points and three full metal jackets. I loaded these into a stainless steel carrying case and headed out the door.

The ranch was 100+ acres of Texas scrub; mule deer and turkeys ran rampant as I surveyed the surrounds looking for the right place to hunker down the next day.  Train tracks ran through about 300 yards away from the ranch house and I thought it a good vantage point being about 15 feet above the fenced fields to the south, so I returned to the ranch, sat with the family and drank with the grownups til twilight.  It was time.  I grabbed my silver kit and headed toward the tracks, taking a round about route so I could approach downwind North.  I loaded the cylinder and sat down to wait.  Within a half hour I heard the pift, pift, pift of footsteps approaching down below west of the open fields.  The gradient slope down from the tracks was heavily grassed breaking only at the nearest fence line, about 150 yards away.  A small rack of horns emerged and out stepped a mule deer about 140 pounds or so.  I braced off, still sitting, one knee up to rest my right elbow and sighted in.  Not wanting to spoil the kill I took aim at the front of the right shoulder and drew in a breath, held it, waited for the lilt and gently squeezed. The recoil was enough to jumpstart my heart and the sight of the buck dropping enough to move my legs into action. Running with the .41, I scrambled down the hill, through the tall grass, grabbed a post with one hand and hopped the fence (feeling a little bit like Mel Gibson in one of his crazy cop movies), eager to investigate the damage.  In a few seconds I was next to the deer kneeling down.  I put my index finger into the hole as far as I could and grinned wide looking around to see if anyone had seen this magnificent feat.  I didn't have a holster so I transferred the .41 to my left hand and grabbed the horns.  With about 250 yards to drag, I started lugging the carcass to the ranch.  Still trembling, excited, and glad to have something to show the freezer at home, I dug deep and pulled and pulled until I was about 100 yards out still hugging the fence line.
Suddenly, and I mean in a split second, I wasn't dragging the buck... it was dragging me; I held on for a few seconds before realizing what was happening and let go. Now I was on the ground and the deer was above me, disoriented and panicked. I tried crabbing backwards but the buck was running round in circles and the .41 was near useless as I tried to sight it in at 5 yards BAM miss, 10 yards BAM miss, back to 5 yards BAM another miss; I was now a Nova Scotian matador with nothing to hide behind.  Finally it straightened out ran full tilt into the barbed wire fence, toppling upside down and if it could have been any more panicked, it was, as it bolted up and over the train tracks where I had just been lying 5 minutes ago.  I stood in my place alone, not grinning, so glad there was no one around to witness this horrible twist of fate.  I hung my head, walked back to the tracks looking for blood, but found nothing except the case I had left behind; the walk back to the ranch was very long and as I approached folks came out to see what I had accomplished on my outing.  My fiance said, "So how did my hunter man make out this morning, we heard shots fired."  I held up one bloody finger and said, "I got one, I was dragging it home when it got up, scared me and ran away."  The seasoned hunters were soon laughing so hard that my ears burned, my face reddened and my shoulders slumped even more.  They didn't have a good dog, so tracking was out of the question.  As the laughter died down, I said, "Well, I shot the thing, other than that what was I supposed to do?" The response: "gut it." But I didn't have a knife.
That Christmas as we opened gifts, I was surprised to see a box from the soon to be in-laws. Pulling off the wrapping paper revealed a tidy brown box with gold embossed letters: KASUNA. Inside was a buck knife.
Thinking back on that day I can only offer one explanation.  The first bullet out of the chamber must have been a full metal jacket, a bullet that passed right through the neck of a 120 pound 6 point buck.  It was a great shot indeed, but unfortunately the wrong ammunition.  I did go out later that day (in the evening) and bag a 100 pound doe; this time I aimed behind the right shoulder from high atop a tree.  It seemed completely uneventful after the morning's incident though.  I returned home to Dallas and every time I opened the freezer, thought about the buck that got away.
The moral of the story is... don't borrow a gun from a disgruntled, divorced, African-American Viet Nam vet turned disgruntled postal worker. Just my humble opinion. Happy hunting South Carolina :)

Carolina Adventure World Partners With WeHuntSC.com to Sponsor Competitions
   WeHuntSC.com - Carolina Adventure World Sign
  The sign in front of C.A.W.

We are excited to announce that Carolina Adventure World is partnering with WeHuntSC.com to sponsor all 5 competitions this hunting season.  Carolina Adventure World is an outdoor park located in Winnsboro, SC and is a must see facility for ATV, dirt-bike, and camping enthusiasts.  See the Carolina Adventure World review blog entry for more details about the facility.

With regards to the contests, Carolina Adventure World is giving away 2 free day passes + a free Carolina Adventure World hat for each competition winner.  After visiting the park, I can tell you that this is part of the prize package that you will definitely appreciate.  A BIG thanks to Carolina Adventure World for partnering with us this year on the competitions.

And the competition prize packages just keep getting better?

Here's the video again



Review: Carolina Adventure World
  WeHuntSC.com - Carolina Adventure World Sign  
  The sign in front of Carolina Adventure World

Have you ever heard about Carolina Adventure World? If you haven?t, then you?re missing out?especially if you?re into ATV?s, dirt bikes, or any type of off-roading.  I had previously heard of how awesome Carolina Adventure World was from some of my friends, but had never actually been to the facility.  I was finally able to check it out and the place truly is awesome!  After visiting the site, I now understand why my friends raved so much about it.

Carolina Adventure World is located in Winnsboro, SC so no matter where you may be in the state, it?s not a bad drive.  I headed down from Rock Hill and it was a really easy drive straight down 77.  It only took me about 45 minutes to get there.  You take one turn off the exit and 2 miles later the next turn is into the huge gates out in front of the park.  When I saw the front gate, I could easily tell that the park was a nice size operation.  You know how an entrance kind of signals the scale of the development that you?re entering...it was the same way with this facility.  The entrance had a big gate and 2 huge signs that can easily be seen from the road.  If you?re on the right road, you don?t have to worry about missing the place because there?s no way you could ride by it with the entrance.

WeHuntSC.com - The rentals building  
Inside the rentals building  
I met with Jim Floyd of Carolina Adventure World at the front office and we set out to look at and tour the facility.  When you arrive there is a good-sized hill that you ride up at the entrance and upon reaching the top you look down onto the park where you can see the Welcome Center along with a view of some of the park?s land.  It?s a nice, panoramic, picturesque scene viewing the topography of the land, the entrance to the trails, the parking lot, and the Welcome Center all from the same vantage point.

As we descended down the hill Jim took me to the storage and maintenance buildings where we picked up our ride for the day.  While we were back there I saw a huge building where they keep a lot of their rental ATV?s, dirt bikes, helmets, shin guards, boots, and other gear.  In case you?re interested, Carolina Adventure World rents Yamaha Rhino Side by Sides, Yamaha Grizzly ATVs and Honda Dirt Bikes.  The building where they store their rides was a nice and clean facility. 

  WeHuntSC.com - The maintenance crew working on an ATV
  The maintenance crew working on an ATV

Just next door the guys were working on a 4-wheeler that had something wrong with it.  Jim mentioned to me that Carolina Adventure World offers assistance with repairs to any visitors that happen to have a problem with their ATV while they?re at the park and that CAW can also stow ATV?s should visitors desire to leave them there for a while.  So, if you?d like, you can store your machines at CAW between visits and they can have it cleaned, gassed, and ready to ride and waiting on you!  CAW has staff on hand that can also provide any repairs or service needed before you return to the park.

WeHuntSC.com - Me beside the Razor   
Me and the Razor  

After talking with the guys at the shop for a minute we got our ride for the day, a really neat vehicle called a ?Razor?.  We then headed back to the main entrance and to the Welcome Center.  We stopped at the Welcome Center to check it out and it is first class.  It was very clean and had anything you could possibly want if you were looking to ride, eat, or even shop for clothes!  The Welcome Center serves multiple purposes to Carolina Adventure World visitors.   The Welcome Center is where you get started at the park.  You purchase your passes there, find information about the trails, buy anything from food, to coke, to wenches, goggles, vinyl stickers, t-shirts, to hats, and on and on.  They also have large bathrooms in the back and a big kitchen.  The Welcome Center has an open-aired wraparound porch feel too it where rocking chairs and ATV?s that can be rented are located. 

Beside the Welcome Center is a shower room where you can go and get washed up after riding if you?d like.  We weren?t riding too fast or for too long and I still got pretty muddy and was tempted to go in there, but didn?t!  The wash room is definitely a good resource to have on location, but its primary use is for visitors who come to stay the whole weekend.  Carolina Adventure World is RV & Camper friendly and encourages families and/or groups to come up and stay for multiple days.  The park is structured so that RV?s and Campers both can have access and they provide electricity, water, and an on-site dumping station for those wishing to come and call the park home for a few days.   I was pretty impressed with that.   And if you don?t own an RV?Carolina Adventure World has RV Campers for rent that sleep up to eight people.  If you?re interested in that, be sure to call early to make reservations as they book the RV?s early for weekends.  

   WeHuntSC.com- Riders at the Park
  Riders at the Park

Across from the Welcome center is a huge parking lot where visitors park and unload their ATV?s and dirt-bikes.  If you?re like me and are not good at driving a trailer you don?t have to worry because the parking lot is plenty big enough and makes it?s easy to make wide turns.  The Welcome Center is also just up the hill from the main mud bog.

The mud bog is just past the Welcome Center to the left and appears to be the location of where a lot of fun takes place.  Though, Jim mentioned to me that most ATVs that get in the mud bog are equipped with snorkels and gear ready to be submerged beneath the water.  The mud bog has a small section of bleachers beside it and is oval-shaped with an island of land in the middle of it.  The island has some lights on it so I assume you can ride through the mud at night there as well.  Beside that mud bog is another mud bog on a lower level that is similar except it doesn?t have an island of land in the middle.  The first mud bog leads to the next mud bog in a stair-step-like manner with regards to the lay of the land.  Beside the mud bogs is the much needed wash-off area.  It?s kind of like a car-wash, but for ATV?s.  The area has pressurized water hoses that can give you the necessary PSI to get the mud off.

After passing all this we continued down to the dirt-drag-strip which was really neat as well.  The strip is fit with the digital clock that shows accurate times and the starting line had starter lights too.  We pulled right up to the track and gave it a whirl.  Jim noted that the track was a little muddy due to all the recent rain, but that normally it?s pretty solid and you can get a better grip which gives more speed and better times.  It?s very similar to a regular drag-strip, but is just on dirt and is smaller and shorter.  I believe Jim said the track is around 300 feet long.

WeHuntSC.com - A mother and daughter riding through the park

A mother and daughter riding through the park

After we checked that out we went riding a little further around the facility and started riding on the trails.  Not too long after we were down a trail some huge bull dozers, backhoes and large machinery came into vision.  Jim informed me that Carolina Adventure World crushes rock on site to help with the maintenance of the trails.  They pack the rock on the trails where erosion occurs and sometimes use it to elevate trails when necessary.  I was impressed with the level of commitment to the on-going maintenance of the facility. 

WeHuntSC.com - A place to get muddy   
A place to get muddy  
It didn?t take long after riding the trails that I noticed the marking of each trail.  Every trail is outlined in a map that is available at the Welcome Center.  The map informs riders of how to approach and safely ride the trails.  The trails are marked as either ?one-way? or ?two-way? trails to help ensure safety for riders.  Also, the trails are color coded with different colors denoting different levels of difficulty for riding.  We rode so long that we were about 4 miles deep in the woods and I couldn?t have found my way back if I had to.  I can see how it would be easy to get lost out there so I would encourage anyone to carry the map with them when riding.  Along those lines of safety, one thing that I thought was a plus was that the park has ?Rangers? present on weekends.  As a safety measure Carolina Adventure World provides ?Rangers? who ride throughout the park to ensure that riders are riding safely.  This gave me a little piece of mind when riding the trails and I?m sure it would do the same for you.  Also, all riders must wear helmets when riding on the course?no exceptions.

Along the way of the miles and miles of trails we crossed a nice wooden bridge that ran over Big Wateree Creek which is like a small river.  We also saw many mud holes that were primed and ready to be ridden through, and we scaled a lot of steep hills and slopes.  You may think that SC is all flat, but I?m here to tell you that this place has some major hills and rugged terrain.  You can literally find any kind of riding trail that you can imagine there.  We rode all the way to the back and ended up at a really swampy looking pond.  It was nice looking and when we rode up to it about 7 wood ducks flew off.  I imagine that the duck hunters would love to have been in this swampy area.

  WeHuntSC.com - The Mud Bog at Carolina Adventure World
  One of The Mud Bogs

After riding on a few of the trails and service roads some more, we headed back up to the front of the facility.  By this time I had a good bit of mud on me and had taken 151 pictures and 52 videos and both cameras had mud on them as well.  I was worried if the footage would make it out alive, but everything came out just fine. 

Other bits of information that may be interesting to you is that Carolina Adventure World holds several competitions and events throughout the year.  From mud bogging competitions, to events for hunters, and even organizational retreats and dinners, CAW is in the mix in a lot of ways.

Jim noted that Carolina Adventure World holds several Championship Mud Bog Races throughout the year.  See www.ChampionshipMudRacing.com for more info on that.  Along with hosting the championship races CAW has held the Brian Fisher Weekend Event several times, has rides where they?re open until midnight, bon fires, and even a poker run. 

I would definitely recommend this place to anyone interested in 4-wheelers, ATV?s, dirt bikes, mud bogging, or off-roading.  The scale of the operation is huge, there are tons of trails (2,500 acres to be exact), safety measures have been taken, they have on-site repairs and rentals, and everything you need is at the Welcome Center.  If you?re into the outdoors and off-roading, then you won?t regret giving Carolina Adventure World a chance.  While we were there we saw people from multiple states and some were there with their families enjoying the park.  If you do go out and see the facility and ride, let me know what you think about it.  I?m not aware of anything else like it in the area.  Much like True Timber Camo, this place is a hidden gem right here in our own back yard.

Below is a video I made of the day at Carolina Adventure World

For more information you can stay tuned to CarolinaAdventureWorld.com for details of upcoming events.  Should you want to be ?in the loop? all the time, CAW also sends out an E-Newsletter with details of upcoming events that you can register to receive.  Still planned for the rest of this year is a Big Labor Day Weekend Ride, another Poker Run, the famous Red Neck Nationals and the year?s final Championship Mud Racings Event to determine the CMR?s End of Year $18,000 payouts!  I didn?t know you could make that much money slinging mud!  Maybe that can be my second career :)




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