Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
Attached is a video of our season and I hope you enjoy it, because "it's who we are" and "what we live for"!
Click Here for the Video
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!
As mentioned in the summary, this is a guest blog entry written by Jon Charles of of River Oaks Wildlife Management
Fall planting season is here!! I know some of us are a little late on planting certain types of plants, but we all know it?s been hot and dry in parts of the south. It?s time to get started. One of the most frequent questions that I get asked is ?I planted a food plot and the seed did not come up...Why? That seed must not be any good.? There are a few simple reasons it did not come up:
1. Soil Analysis The first step anyone needs to do before planting any type of seed is have a complete soil test done. Not just test for pH but also check levels of micro and macro nutrients. If your soil is void of the right balance of these minerals it can have a negative effect and you will not see the results you?re looking for. Please get this done first and save yourself the headaches, money, time and labor you went through and take $20 to $ 30 dollars and do this first. Missing minerals can be added into your fertilizer for as little as $6.00 per acre. There are also several types of managers you can add into your fertilizer like Nutrisphere N, Avail, and Wolf tracks. These products can save you money and produce higher amounts and higher yields in your field or plot. Use the right type of lime and remember ag lime takes 4 to 6 months to correct the PH in your soil so if you planting in the spring you need to have added lime the previous fall. Another great product we use at River Oaks Wildlife Mgt is a product called Solu-Cal. A 50 lb bag of solu-cal is equal to 300 lbs of lime and starts correcting soil in weeks not months and will last a lot longer. You should check it out.
Next avoid the ?Farmer Brown? syndrome. What is the ?Farmer Brown? syndrome you ask? It?s the guy down the road that is Mr. Know It All. They use outdated methods, the same methods their dad and granddad before them did. All they know is 400 lbs of 10-10-10 per acre and 2,000 lbs of lime and that?s all you need to plant any seed you want. WRONG!!! Farmer Brown will get you in trouble and will cause you a great waste in your time and planting. Stay away from Farmer Brown folks!!! Listen to qualified wildlife mgt consultants or agronomists, not the guy working in the back of local feed store or the farmer down the road that has not evolved or is not practicing modern productive methods of planting. Remember we are planting for wildlife.
2. Time Make sure you read the seed bag and recommended planting times for your zone.
3. Soil Amendment Please after getting your soil test back amend your soil correctly using the right type of fertilizer and add in the correct fertilizer mgrs to assure you positive results.
4. Depth When planting make sure when getting the seed in the ground by either broadcasting, using a plotmaster, or drilling, make sure you plant your seed at the right depth. Small seeds like clovers, alfalfa, and brassicas (like any seed) need good seed to soil contact.
5. Packing Your Soil If you?re broadcasting, drag your seed over lightly and compact your soil lightly. Do not get out and take the truck or tractor and drive over the plot as a lot of times this compacts the soil to tight?especially in clay soils! If you get a rain and the water runs off the top it can crust over and harden up. These small seeds need a lot of energy to push through the soil and reach the surface. With small seeds only cover over lightly or plant about ¼ inch deep. Larger seed like Lab Lab, soy beans, peas should be planted about ½ to 1 inch deep and NO deeper .
6. Herbicide Residue Make sure your soil has had time to deplete itself of chemical agents (Roundup etc.) I have seen guys plant too early after spraying and till in grasses and weeds before a complete burn down only to have the seed get contaminated with herbicide residue and not come up at all. Believe me, I have seen a few properties that were hit with ?Farmer Brown? syndrome or just too anxious to hurry up and get it planted. So, please, if you spray for invasive grass or weeds, give the area time to dry out and burn down. This is usually at least 14 days minimum.
7. Inoculants This is something that most frequently gets overlooked. Please take the time and inoculate your seed with the right type of Rhizobium bacteria. Check your seed labels and see if it was pre inoculated and always plant before the expiration date.
Blow is a list of the different types of Inoculants needed for different seed types.
This should get you going for now. Make sure when inoculating your seed that you follow the directions. It?s a living bacteria and you should keep it in the fridge or in a cool place until it?s time to apply. You can add water and make a slurry and wash your seed in it and then spread your seed out on a tarp to dry, but not in direct sunlight or you can dry mix it in a bucket and coat your seed this way, but please follow the directions.
If you go down the check list above you should eliminate most of your concerns about getting a good food plot started. Remember it all starts with your soil. Your plants act as transfer agents that transfer the nutrients in the soil to the deer that you are trying to reach. Treat your soil right and it will treat your deer right allowing them to get the best nutrition possible.
In the next blog entry, we will discuss the different soil types and talk about supplemental feeding and minerals. Also stay tuned in for The Real Deal On Seed For Wildlife coming next month.
If you have mgt questions or need professional consultation we can be reached at email [email protected] or phone at 919-341-9659.
For question on Solu-cal go to www.solu-cal.com or call 508-295-1533 and ask for Craig Canning at ext 230. Let him know how you heard about the product!
Thanks again folks and remember to use best management practices and introduce a kid to the outdoors any chance you get.
Jon Charles, River Oaks Wildlife Mgt
Today I finally got the chance to ride up to our hunting club and check out my food plots. I have not been able to check on them since we put the seed in the ground so I was eager to see if any growth had taken place. When I arrived to the area of my food plots I was surprised to see how well the products had grown over the past 3 weeks! The rain sure has been a big help. This particular area is about 2 acres in size and we had previously disked it up and planted some seed. We also built corn feeders and placed them in our food plots. Nothing wrong with giving them options!
If you read these blogs then you know that we frequently monitor the site traffic to see what is going on with the metrics and to monitor our growth. We try to give periodic reports of site metrics to let readers and site visitors see who else is checking things out in South Carolina.
Turkey season did show growth in hits and we?re happy about that. From April 1 ? April 30th, in South Carolina, we had 987 visits from 60 different cities. The image below will give you a feel for the spread of hits that we received from South Carolinians.
See the detailed South Carolina report here.
On a national level we received 1,480 visits via 33 states, which is pretty good for just one month. It seems that others around the country are interested in what?s going on with the hunters of South Carolina!
The image below will give you a feel for the spread of hits we received from the national audience.
See the detailed national report here.
I also looked at the metrics from when we started back last September until now and we?ve had 10,395 visits and 77,568 page views with users spending an average of 6:53 seconds on the site. I?d say that?s a pretty good start for not even being up a year yet. So thanks to everyone who visits the site and contributes videos, photos, forum posts, blog responses, competition submissions, etc. The more traffic we receive, the better the competition prizes will be in the future.
And we keep pushing.
In case you didn?t know the story, WeHuntSC.com launched in September of 2009. We weren?t exactly sure as to how the site would take among the hunting audience in SC. We have been surprised at the growth of the site and energy surrounding it. We are working hard on the back end to keep the site up and going and keep sponsorships coming in. It?s fun to do and we are trying to keep it interesting as much as possible. I wanted to communicate some of our web metrics to you all so that you can get a scope of the audience following the site & so that the competition winners know that there were more than 2 people looking at the site! Lol
Anyway, in the State of South Carolina we had 2,537 unique visitors from 70 cities
If you are curious as to which cities the dots represent or you want to know the frequency of visits per city, just DOWNLOAD THE STATE METRICS REPORT HERE We also got some attention of states other than South Carolina. To see which other states (40) that visited our site and the frequency with which they did, just DOWNLOAD THE NATION METRICS REPORT HERE Overall we had over 37,000 page views from 3,995 visitors.
So we are off the ground! We?re going to keep pushing and marketing and hopefully the site will grow even more. I?m going to update the site to a new, updated version of the site before too long. I?m excited about it, but still have some finishing touches/updates to get configured. Maintaining 2 sites at once is not an easy task! Also, we announced the competition winners today! Congratulations to Chad, Shannon, & Trent for winning our first annual competitions. We?re going to deliver their prizes to them next weekend and shoot some video of the winners to include in a future blog. Now back to the grind? thanks! CBP