Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
This past weekend we had a great time at our youth duck hunt give-away! If you?ve seen the home page at all then you know that we hosted a youth duck hunt give-away this season. Youth had to submit essays about why they liked duck hunting & why conservation was important for the sport of water-fowl hunting. By the end of the weekend our 2 winners, Austin Bagwell & Luke Humanik, said that the pain of writing the essays was well worth it.
I should probably back up and say that this hunt wouldn?t have been possible without some extremely generous guys from the watershed hunting club who not only donated their hunting hole, but who also donated their cabin & even cooked 2 meals for the kids and everyone involved. A big kudos and thanks to them as well as WinnTuck who donated some really neat prizes to our winners. We should also thank Darryl & Blake Hodge for coming by and giving some calling demos & pointers to our winners.
Friday afternoon we all arrived to the cabin & hung out overlooking the lake. It was a very relaxed environment. Early in the afternoon Mr. Dale Knight did some work with his dog ?Shine? and it was really neat to watch the dog work. Shine is very trained and disciplined. It?s almost a work of art to see him listen & respond to all the calls and signals. Dale has definitely spent some long hours in training that dog.
After Shine put on his show we started building a fire in front of the cabin. It had been warm, but the temperature was starting to drop. The fire burned from the afternoon and kept it warm as the sun set. During the daylight we could see some ducks swimming around on the pond, but when the sun started to go down the ducks & geese really started coming in. We could hear the mallards just cackling on the water throughout the evening.
As it got dark Dale fired the grill up and started cooking. Some of the other members of the hunting club pitched in and helped cook as well. We had a big time eating and talking smack about duck hunting while we ate. One of our youth winners even brought a pecan pie that made for a great dessert. After we ate we went back outside to hang by the fire & Darryl & Blake Hodge stopped by. They did some calling demos and worked with Austin & Luke on their calling giving them some tips on making certain sounds with mallard, wood duck, & goose calls. I can tell you that Blake has some strong lungs with some of the notes he was holding on his competition calling demo set. Before it was over the guys were taking calls apart & looking at reeds & getting flashlights out to see more clearly than the light of the fire provided. After Blake & Darryl left the boys were practicing calling for a while.
It didn?t take long after that for everyone to wind down and get ready for bed. We would have an early morning & the quicker we went to sleep the quicker we would be in a swamp the next morning. Though, sleeping for some of us wasn?t as easy as we?d planned ;-) Let?s just say that we had multiple lumberjacks in the cabin sawing logs at different rates throughout the night! Eventually 5:30 came and it was time to roll out and get ready.
We all got up and got our gear on and headed to the swamp. It was cold, but not as cold as I thought it would be. We made our way into the swamp and Shine, the duck dog, was really anticipating the hunt. He was fired up and energetic to get out in the swamp (and we were too). I got situated to the right of where the hunters were in hopes of getting some footage & pictures of the hunt as it happened. Dale guided our youth hunters and their fathers deeper into the head of the swamp and got everyone set up in position. It was just a matter of time.
Mallards were already on the water when we arrived. We could hear them cackling as we walked in. For this reason we were as quiet as possible while entering. It was a little overcast and there were clouds in the sky which made it a little darker than normal. Though, as soon as I could barely see we had ducks flying all around us. There were 2 initial groups of ducks that got up and left the pond and then more groups started coming into the pond. I had hoped to get some footage of all this, but it was way too dark to get any of this on camera. The kids started firing shots and no one made a connection.
As it got lighter out the ducks continued to come in. Wood ducks were the majority of the early morning action then mallards & geese got into the mix. At one point one of the hunters hit a bird because we saw feathers come out, but it wasn?t good enough to bring it out of the sky! Shine was just itching to go retrieve something & would get worked up every time Dale started calling. We had a lot of mallards circling us and then they would land just on the other side of the area we were in. I bet there were 50 mallards over there just over a wood line. I watched piles of them come in there from all directions. That?s not to say that our boys didn?t pull the trigger on a few as they circled, but we only had a few come right down the pipe. One wood duck even slipped right down the middle of all of us while we were watching some other ducks circling behind us. It was ?Murphy?s Law? I guess.
Eventually we called it a day and started out of the swamp. As soon as the kids unloaded their guns, you guessed it, another group came circling in. The kids loaded up their guns, but it was too late. Everyone then re-unloaded and headed out. I got the guys to stop on the edge of the swamp for a picture & then we headed out. As we walked along the edge of the swamp we saw those coots out there again and were almost about to let them have it, but decided not to go after them as they were headed the other direction.
We then returned to the cabin for another great breakfast and more hunting stories. Nothing like having a hot breakfast waiting on you as soon as you get off the water. We all sat around for a bit and talked about the morning?s hunt. As we finished eating the youth hunters were back outside practicing their calling. We cleaned up the cabin as much as possible and then we all said our goodbyes.
Even though the youth hunters weren?t able to get any ducks it was still a great overall experience. We met some new friends and shared some great times out by the pond, by the fire, eating some good meals, and in the cabin. Dale & the guys from the watershed hunting club were kind enough to donate their resource to help put this hunt on in hopes of helping to pass on the love of the outdoors & the importance of wildlife conservation to younger generations. Hopefully these youth hunters that won the hunting trip and joined us will continue to value these principles as they grow and become adults. I also encourage you to do the same and find ways to help pass the love of the outdoors on to younger generations.
Thanks again to everyone who helped put this hunt on and to our 2 youth winners Austin & Luke!
Well first of all, I would like to apologize for my tardiness. It?s the middle of the week and I?m just now writing my weekend recap. I have been traveling a lot for work and haven?t been around a computer. The rain helped me stay in the office today, so let?s make good use with our time.
This past weekend was just bad all around. I didn?t get a chance to put my trail cameras out so I didn?t have any pictures to share on the site, nor did I gain any knowledge of what was roaming in the woods I hunt. And this weather, man it is terrible. Where is the cold weather? I hate when you get in the stand in the morning and it?s like 40°, but by mid-morning it?s 75°. Not only am I sweating profusely because I have too many clothes on, now I have freaking mosquitoes attacking me like crazy.
Saturday morning I got into the stand about 40 minutes before daylight. This particular stand is with-in walking distance of my house, so it doesn?t take me long to get there. However, since it is within walking distance I have to chain my dog or she will be right behind me. I get situated in the stand and within a few minutes I can hear the deer moving around me. I?m thinking, "Man this is going to be a good morning. The wind is right in my face and the deer are up and moving. This is perfect!" Wrong. Shortly after daybreak, the wind started swirling. One minute it?s blowing in my face and the next it?s blowing on my back toward the bedding area. Luckily, I had brought a Tink?s Doe Estrous bomb. So I dispersed it to hopefully mask my scent and attract any curious bucks. About 30 minutes after the bomb had finished dispersing, I decided to do a sequence of calling. Not even five minutes after calling I heard something coming from my right down the deer trail. As I was turning to get in position, I caught a flash of brown. Now my heart is pumping!! All I could do was imagine how big this buck was going to be. It was the size of my dog because it was my dog. Here came Daisy with her nose in the air, winding the doe estrous that I had recently put out. She didn't stay long, so I figured something could still happen during the rest of the morning. Oh no. Daisy ended up coming back down several more times. My hunt was shot.
For the afternoon hunt, I decided to try something a little different. The stand I chose to hunt overlooks a two acre plot of a mixture of Biologic products. I placed a decoy in the edge of the food plot right in front of me. I lit a Rut Smoking Stick by Tink's and placed it upwind of the decoy. That way, any human scent left on the decoy would be masked by the scent from the smoking stick. I was in the stand less than 30 minutes when I caught something coming out of the woods right beside my stand. It was a bobcat. I went from hunting deer to bobcats within a matter of seconds. One bobcat down, but no deer. Since I shot the bobcat so early, I decided I would sit the rest of the evening out. Who knows, anything can happen! It was getting pretty dark and I was getting ready to leave, but I decided to scan the field one last time with the binoculalrs. I spotted what I thought was a deer walking away from me on the left edge of the plot. So while I was watching the deer in the binoculars, I was reaching for my grunt call. Before I could reach the call, I realized the deer was actually walking toward me. Not only that, it was a Nice Buck!!! Now my heart is pumping for the right reason, not because of my lovely dog. The buck spotted the decoy and I thought he was going to head straight to it. So I dropped the binoculars to grab my gun. When I looked up, I couldn't find the buck! He walked into the high grass and I don't know if he laid down or what, but I had no clue where he went. Now it is getting dark and it's time to get out of the stand, but I DO NOT want to show my presence to this buck. He would never come back if he saw me getting out the stand. So I sat until pitch black, then I called my Dad to come drive his truck into the hayfield adjacent to the plot. That way the buck would be spooked away by his truck, not me. I don't know if that was the smartest thing to do, but I guess will find out.
Sunday morning I went back to the same stand as Saturday morning. No luck. I didn't even hear anything moving. The evening wasn't any better. I went back to the 2 acre food plot stand and guess what I saw, another freaking dog! So as you can see, I had some bad luck all around this past weekend. On the bright side, I did see a nice buck. So I know they are out there, just need a little luck. I did get my trail cameras out this weekend, so hopefully I'll have some good pics for you guys soon. I don't know if I will get to check it this weekend because I'm headed to Charleston to see my wonderful girlfriend.
Let's move on to college football. If the Tigers can take care of the Cavaliers this weekend, they will face the Yellow Jackets in the ACC championship. Unfortunately, my Gamecocks let another one slip away. See I'm what you would call a hybrid. I grew up a die hard Gamecocks fan, but decided to go to college at Clemson because of the engineering. Now I pull for both teams. So who will I pull for Saturday November 28th, them Gamecocks! I got to give quick shout outs to Sadat Chambers and Justice Cunningham representing them Eagles.
Good Luck Hunting, Be Safe, and God Bless,