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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

Arkansas Duck Hunt

Just wanted to take a minute to tell you guys bout my Arkansas duck hunting trip. We left out on a Monday morning with the truck and trailer loaded with gear. It was me and three other buddies and we set sail for Arkansas. All the information we had been given denoted that the birds were gone. I'd been watching the weather and saw where the cold front was moving down so I knew it had to be pushing waterfowl down with it. 

So we drove into Mississippi on Monday evening and we stopped there for the night. We got up on Tuesday and drove on in to Dewitt, Arkansas. The Sky and waterholes were missing ducks and geese. My smile was turned to a frown. That Tuesday we got settled into the historic Schoolhouse Lodge and drove into Stuttgart to visit Macks Prairie Wings because two of my guests have never been to Arkansas so we had to visit Macks. We did our shopping and toured the town a little and headed back to the lodge for the evening. 

The trip back to Dewitt showed a different outlook. There were tons of geese and ducks pouring in to fields and bodies of water that evening. I guess we had it timed right. We got up Wednesday and killed a 4 man mallard limit over some rice fields. On Thursday we got a 4 man 6 bird limit, which 1 bird was a mallard/ pintail cross over rice fields. 

Got up Friday morning and did something a little different… we went goose hunting. We got a guide named “Hoot” and had to meet him at 4 am that morning. We assisted him in putting out 1200 decoys and layout blinds. Come shooting light we had our limit of specks and some snow geese in a soybean field. It was a great hunt!

Saturday morning we hunted a 900 acre private reservoir and didn't limit out, but we killed a nice mixed bag. After the hunt we packed up and headed back to South Carolina. Although the word on the street said that the birds were gone our trip ended up being a good one thanks to some colder weather pushing the birds down. It’s always good to hunt, have fun, and hang out with friends. I had a great time and we made some memories.

Below are some of the pictures from the trip

A Good Day in the Swamp

This past Saturday morning three friends and I left the house for a little North Carolina swamp (one of our honey holes) hunt around 5 am. My friend Kevin and I had scouted the hole several days before our hunt and it looked promising. We got to the hole that morning and geared up got in position. It was the calm before the storm as we were waiting for shooting light.

Once shooting light arrived we shot into several groups and had a nice harvest of green heads. Following the hunt we headed up to the historic Dukes grill and had breakfast then headed home. It was a good hunt with great friends and that’s what it’s all about.

Pictured below Robbie Boone, Kevin Stilwell, Hal Crenshaw and Ken Starnes

The Grind is Over

As the 2013/14 last season goose season came to an end, our "crew" headed out one last time. With all of the recent snow and ice, we knew it was going to be tough to get to one of our fields.

The forecast was for 90% chance of rain throughout the night and would be ending shortly after daybreak. So we hooked up to our Team WC enclosed trailer and headed out.

The weathermen were spot on this time with the weather. Once we got our decoys out, the wind picked up and the rain stopped. The wind actually got up to 25 mph. We heard a couple of flocks in the distance but never saw them. As the wind continued to blow the clouds out, the sun just popped out and had the snow shining like diamonds.

Around 8:00 we saw a single goose crossing the field at the other end. He was downwind of us and was able to hear our RNT Goose Calls. He made one wide circle and then starting cupping his wings once he saw our spread. We let him glide in to the 15 yd “in-yo-face” range and then we took him.

It was the only bird we harvested that morning and we were truly blessed to experience it here in SC and in the snow. It would have been easy to stay in bed with all the inclement weather we had, but we can say, "We never gave up". From opening day to the last day, we gave it our all. It's who we are!

Good Hunting ~ Daryl

Youth's First Duck

As the 2013/14 Waterfowl season ended, it allowed our "crew" a few days to scout and get ready for the Youth Waterfowl Day here in SC. We scouted public water, and some of our private land, and found birds in both locations, but felt like we had a better chance of getting our buddy Ben his first duck on our private land.

Since Blake had just recently sold 'Ol Red, we loaded up his new ride "Madonna"… and don't ask me why he names all of his vehicles. We attached the hitch and strapped our Drake Waterfowl stand-up decoy bag filled with Drake Waterfowl duck decoys and some GHG Goose Decoys. Due to the freezing temperatures we kept all of our Drake Waterfowl waders in the back of the Tahoe (Madonna) to keep them toasty! 

A pic of Madonna 

Once we got to our location, we started our journey in through the darkness. We had to break ice going in which just added to Ben's hunt. After setting up our decoy spread it was time to get "locked & loaded".

At first light, we heard the beautiful sound of woodies, squealing through the timber. Right at legal shooting time we had two woodies come in and I told Ben to wreck 'em, and three fast shots rang out with no feathers falling. Just a few minutes later we had a single woodie come by and the three shots followed. Again, with no feathers fell. You could start to see the disappointment in his body language and the "crew" kept talking with him to keep his spirits up. 

We saw a lot more wood ducks but they were either too high or too fast but we held our ground. All of a sudden Blake asked, boys do you hear that? Yes, indeed we do. A mallard hen was quacking off at a distance. Not only Ben, but the whole crew shifted into another gear. Blake and I both picked up our RNT duck calls which were hand-tuned by Butch Richenback (founder of RNT) and we started a duet of hen calls. Once we spotted her she had company, a nice big greenhead. As they started working our spread, I stopped calling and coached Ben, and Blake continued to work his RNT Daisy Cutter.

The pair circled for three times before committing and then it was wings cupped & orange feet down. I told Ben to wreck him and wreck him he did. A fat 'ol greenhead in the decoys splashing was a beautiful sight for not only Ben but to the crew as well. We all high fived, and looked at each other hollering, “Who's your Drake???”

As we drove back to Ben’s house we talked more about the hunt and you still couldn't wipe the smile off his face. We are pretty sure this one's going to the taxidermist.

We've been blessed through the years to help many hunters young & old, to harvest their first duck or goose and we were fortunate enough to be able to continue that tradition this year. These moments in the outdoors are who we are and what we live for.

Ben's Mallard

Good Hunting ~ Daryl
Daryl Hodge

Dirt Nappin

After a good cold front some new birds pushed in and our crew took advantage of it. Blake and I had been scouting several different fields and we had one that was really drawing them in.

The night before the hunt we hooked up to our Team WC enclosed trailer, filled with full bodies, shells and layout blinds heaters so all we had to do was get in and "crank her up".

Once we got to the field and unloaded all of our gear we still had 20 minutes before legal shooting hours. So we started singing and dancing around, just having good 'ol fun (it's all about fun with us) until crunch time.

Shortly after daylight, we started hearing honks off at a distance. We could tell that they were in the air and not coming our way. Blake and I started with our RNT Warbird Goose Calls really loud to try and get their attention. They slowly quartered our way but passed our field. Just before giving up we noticed the lead bird swung back and rest of the flock followed. The flock circled 3 times before committing and when they did, it was game on.

High five's and loud hollering followed after we were jacked up from calling them in from such a far distance. We had three other volleys, which made for an awesome hunt for everyone.

With friends and family experiencing another great morning in God's Great Outdoors, it doesn't get any better than this, especially in our home state. WeHuntSC!

Good Hunting ~ Daryl

#wreckingcrew #it'swhatwelivefor

Hunting in Freezing Temperatures

The weather channel definitely got this one right. With freezing rain and gusting winds, our “crew” headed back out for another morning of Waterfowling. Once the freezing rain stopped, the temperature dropped to a delightful 10 degrees. Even in the midst of some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen in a while, we gathered all of our reliable Drake Waterfowl Gear to ensure a comfortable hunt.

With the ground frozen, we utilized round decoy stands and shell body decoys instead of stakes for full body decoys. Once the ground blinds were in place, we hunkered down just before the morning light arrived.

Once the sky started to lighten up we had a small flock of divers fly by with 100% thrust on (the fly by was similar to a fly by from the movie Top Gun). Around 7:30am, we heard a distant honk and Blake and I started running our RNT Warbird Goose Calls and suddenly a flock of 5 “Canada’s” broke over the trees. They turned and started to fly across the field so Blake started calling aggressively and the geese responded immediately.

They circled one time and then cupped their wings and dropped their feet down and glided right into the decoys. I hollered “WRECK EM” with us harvesting three out of the five.

The beautiful sight of God’s creatures in those conditions is why we do what we do. It would have been real easy to stay in the bed, but “it’s what we live for!

Good Hunting ~ Team Wrecking Crew

#WreckingCrew #WeHuntSC 

Duck Hunting in Arkansas

Most every duck hunter has dreamed about hunting in Arkansas at one time or another. When you set out to hunt in Arkansas you have a few things to consider. One major problem is to decide whether to hunt public land or to hunt with a guide service. In our recent trip we opted for hunting with a guide service. In this blog entry I’d like to share information about a great experience we had with Graveyard Guide Service. If you are considering hunting with a guide service, Graveyard Guide Service is located in McCrory, AR (just north of Stuttgart) and is a great place to go.

Graveyard Guide Service

Justin & Jason with Graveyard Guide Service both try to ensure that your hunting experience is a “hunt of a lifetime”.  They typically hunt over flooded rice fields, dry fields, and recently they’ve started hunting over some flooded timber for the ones who like to hunt in really close scenarios.

One thing that is a little different about Graveyard Guide Service is that they specialize not only in ducks, but in Specklebelly Geese as well. While hunting in the fields this additional specialty really adds to a mixed bag of waterfowl that you can get.

Duck Dog at Graveyard Guide Service 

On our hunt there was something I vividly remember and that was that while hunting in the blinds, typically around 8:30, Jason would fire the grill up and man those biscuits and gravy will “smell it up”!  So yes we chowed down right there in the blind and this is just another example of how Graveyard Guide Service goes out of their way to ensure you have a great hunt and enjoyable time. After the hunt, which usually ended around 1:00, they picked us up from the pits in their side-by-sides and then drove back to the lodge for a great lunch.

Decoys on the water in Arkansas 

So if you are thinking (dreaming) about hunting in Arkansas, gives the boys at Graveyard Guide Service a shout GraveyardGuideService.com. Believe me we had a blast and plan to go back, real soon!

Here's a YouTube video where Drake's Migration Nation hunted with Justin and Jason of the Graveyard Guide Service

Good Hunting ~ Team Wrecking Crew

19 Degree Morning on the River

With hopes of shallow ponds and swamps freezing my father Pete (74) and I decided to hunt the river as the temperatures dropped in the low teens this past weekend. We were very optimistic on the way to the landing, but after arriving and seeing only one other boat at the landing our hopes slightly dropped. We thought we may have guessed wrong.

With all of our Drake Waterfowl gear on we managed the 19 degree boat ride really well.  Once, we got to our hunting spot, my dad and I starting throwing out all of our Drake Breeze-Ryder duck decoys.  I was very interested to see how well this year's models would work. We got the decoys out and got situated into our hunting spots and waited on daylight.

Shortly after day break, we had a pair of mallards fly across the river. I picked up my RNT Short Barrel and started hammering them. They responded immediately with a wide turn. They circled several times and within minutes they were feet down and wings cupped over the decoys. I hollered to my dad, “Wreck em!” and wreck’em he did, getting both of them one right after the other.

After retrieving his pair of mallards and getting settled back in we had two different pairs of Mergansers to work our spread. We managed to harvest three out of the four mergansers. During the next thirty minutes or so, we had a lull in the action not seeing many birds at all. Around 8:30, I heard a single "honk" and my dad hollered "Start calling". I picked up my RNT Warbird goose call, and started calling. Shortly, we spotted him up the river, coming down wings cupped and feet down.  He sailed the last 200 yards and started to light in the decoys and I hollered to my dad again, “Wreck em!” and, again, he did just so.

This was the coldest day of the year so far and one I will remember forever. Hunting with my dad, is truly a blessing.

Daryl Hodge & Pete Hodge after a morning duck hunting 

Good Hunting
Team Wrecking Crew

Opening Day

This was the first opening day of duck season that I wasn't standing in water beside an oak or cypress tree and that is due to the fact of having mild temperatures and the lack of migrating birds. We found some geese in one of our leased agriculture fields a few days before the season opener and we made the decision to hunt them instead. 

We loaded up our enclosed trailer with layout blinds, full body and shell Canada goose decoys and headed out to the field.  After playing the wind and setting out our spread we began getting "locked & loaded" for the legal shooting hours.  

It was very cloudy and it had been raining and early on this morning there was some fog so we adjusted our style of calling for those conditions.  We had Blake Langley filming for us and he did an outstanding job for the conditions, location, while being mindful not to spook the birds. We had two small flocks work in and we managed to harvest five.  

Shortly after our last volley, I saw a pair of mallards flying across the field and I picked up my duck call to give them a try.  I made the comment, how sweet it would be to call them in our goose spread.  They responded almost immediately and told the boys, "Game on!” They were very high, but they descended quickly and worked well with the wind. After five circles, we had them where we needed them.  When I called the shot, "Wreck em!" shots rang out and the drake fell, as no one even tried the hen.  So instead of icing on the cake, we added a big beautiful greenhead to the mix. We gave high fives and laughed for several minutes, over what had just happened.

The Wrecking Crew 2013 Opening Day

Team WC ~ It's what we live for.

The Last Day
WeHuntSC.com - Me and some ducks on the last dayThe last day of duck season for us ended with a bang!   We found a hole where some mallards and woodies were using and we decided to go in a few extra hours early to beat anyone else there.  We had a long boat ride to our location and after placing only a few decoys (late season) we waited patiently on daylight.

Once daylight came, we heard the familiar sounds of woodies coming from a distance, and then our attention was redirected to the sound of a hen mallard. We called in the first pair of mallards and we got both of them. We passed on some more woodies as we were seeing a few more big ducks in the air.

As we started working them, my dad noticed some black ducks in the flock. He was really getting excited and bluntly stated ?Let the green go, and get the black?! And man did we get the black.  We took one black and one hybrid which was a mix between a mallard and a black duck.  A few minutes later, we started working another group of three mallards and after only 4 circles they pitched in through the trees.  We took two out of the three from this group.
WeHuntSC.com - Ducks and the boatAs the morning action slowed, we just stood around and reflected back on our season which really was a good one.  We only had two hunts that were a bust and the rest were pretty good for here in SC.  After taking a few pictures and admiring our bag, we got back in the boat and heading back to the landing with all smiles!

I would like to thank Team WeHuntSC.com, Butch @ RNT Calls, Kent @ Hobo Duck Calls, Mark @ Lodge Creek Calls, Drake Waterfowl, Ricky T. @ Decoy Outdoors, and Drew& Cheryl @ WinnTuck Waterfowl Lanyards for their continued support.
Good Calling & Hunting,

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