Team Roscoby Competes in First of the 2009 Campbell’s Outdoor Challenge
By Justin Mason
Apr 20, 2009 – 4:36:29 AM
Team Roscoby just returned from the first circuit event of the 2009 Campbell’s Outdoor Challenge. Kyle Cauley, cameraman, and I traveled down to Bang’s Paradise Valley Hunting Club (PVHC) in Erhardt, South Carolina to compete in the Wild Boar Challenge March 1st through March 4th. The hunt was a 3 ½ day hunt deep in the timber and swamps of beautiful South Carolina.
Even though we didn’t hit the woods until Sunday to hunt, the Wild Boar Challenge kicked off on Saturday February 28th at 10:00 am with registration and a lottery drawing for hunting spots. With 15 hunting teams in the competition the outfitter was able to accommodate one hunting area for each team during the duration of the hunt. It seemed like as soon as teams knew where they were going to be hunting they grabbed their gear and headed for the woods with the guides Chris and Tom. Chris was in charge of our hunting area so we followed him into the timber to our stand location. We were situated along the edge of a shallow swamp with plenty of large trees surrounding us. Kyle and I spent about an hour scouting our area and became comfortable with the stand set up and shooting lanes. We felt confident that our location would produce many shooting opportunities within the next few days.
Bang Collins, owner of Paradise Valley Hunting Club (PVHC), welcomes the teams during the Rules Meeting Saturday evening.
Opening morning we awoke to the sounds of rain drops hitting the roof of the lodge. The thought of rain did not slow down our momentum because we both knew we had an excellent hunting spot where the pigs would be moving. We quickly gathered up the bow, Canon camera, Roscoby Riser Cam, hunting packs, the Hunter Cam Cradle, and all of our other hunting gear and headed for the stand site. The 400 yard walk to the stand was virtually effortless; we walked down a very open 4-wheeler trail and cut into the woods to reach our stand. The rain continued slowly through the morning until 8:30 when the rain got so intense we could not take it anymore. We packed up the camera and headed to the truck to get cover. With the rain not letting up we were concerned about the camera equipment getting wet and malfunctioning. We checked the radar on the cell phone and realized that we only had about an hour left before the storm cell hit so we made our way back to the tree. The hunt was only 3 ½ days long so we knew that we had to spend every possible minute in the woods to be successful. Just as it appeared on the radar, the lightning and rain became so intense we had to get down about 10:00am. We made the 9-mile drive back to the lodge and dried our gear for the upcoming afternoon hunt.
Author (l) with Kyle Cauley, cameraman, prior to second afternoon hunt.
After taking a short nap we set out for the woods about 1pm. Shortly after 5 pm we finally spotted our first wild boar. We had 3 piglets, ranging in size from 25-35 lbs, come running right underneath the stand. They came up so fast– Kyle was not able to get the camera ready and as soon as they appeared, they disappeared into the deep brush. There is a 60lb minimum weight requirement for harvesting hogs so Kyle and I knew we would not be able to shoot. But it was an awesome experience because this was the first time Kyle and I had ever seen a Wild Boar in the woods!
The second morning brought falling temperatures and windy conditions. We hunted in the stand set until about 11:00 when we came out to enjoy a nice lunch prepared by the PVHC cook, Geneva. After hunting in the cool, wet weather conditions we were facing–nothing was better than a hot meal. Over the course of the 3 ½ day hunt Geneva prepared prime rib, chicken, and fresh-carved ham for the evening meals. This was an added bonus to the hunt at PVHC because we were usually starving by the time we came out of the woods in the evenings.
The second afternoon we had our second encounter with Wild Boars. About 6pm we spotted 7 pigs rooting the soils in the timber, roughly 100 yards in front of the stand. Given the direction the hogs were headed we decided to get down and try our luck at a spot-and-stalk hunt. This gave us the perfect opportunity to test our filming abilities with the Roscoby Riser Cam, as we had never gotten the chance to stalk an animal with this camera. We only had 40 minutes of daylight remaining so the clock was ticking. The rains seemed to finally pay off because the ground was so wet we were able to be very quite as we slipped through the woods. But, that was the only thing we had going for us; the pigs got out in front of us and made a big circle so we were not able to catch up to them before we lost camera light.
Dave Watson from Mathews TV and Wayne Burns from Outdoor Allstars play a few licks providing some musical entertainment for the group.
We made the quick trip back to the lodge where we had a surprise visit from a few professionals to the hunting industry. Dave Watson from Mathews TV and Wayne Burns from Outdoor Allstars, joined the hunting teams for the Outdoor Challenge. They are both very talented musicians, too, so they brought their guitar and banjo along to play us a few songs. Watson is a former band member of The Oak Ridge Boys so he has written many songs for viewers across the county. He has a sincere passion for the outdoors, which came though in his hit song “Last Stand in the Rockies”. This was a theme song written and performed by Dave Watson for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. What a treat to have the duo perform for us. It was truly amazing. They both have a tremendous amount of respect for the great outdoors and were able to illustrate this through the songs played. That night was a little tougher to wind down for bed, but we knew we had to as day three was right around the corner.
The morning came much too soon, but with song lyrics still in our heads Kyle and I set out for our third day of the Wild Boar Hunt. With the hunt quickly passing we decided to try our luck in the ground blind. We set up our Eastmann Under Cover 360 ground blind along a hog trail about 100 yards from the stand. Weather conditions were a little more favorable for this hunt, although the temperatures had slipped into the low 30’s. After sitting for 3 hours with no action, Kyle and I headed for the truck to grab some lunch. After talking with some of the other teams about the success they were having with bait, we decided to make a trip to the feed store in the next county over. We purchased a few bags of corn and sweet feed, and headed back to the woods to set up our evening spot. The logging road that bordered the woods we had been hunting offered up an excellent spot to set up a ground blind. There was a down tree lying over the road so we were able to position the blind next to the tree and conceal it with small limbs and brush.
That afternoon we climbed back into the blind around 2pm for the last afternoon hunt of the trip. Temperatures had climbed, too, into the mid 40’s. The cloudy skies had also passed so we were able to watch the sun slowly set into the Western sky and enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature had to offer. We finished out the day with no Wild Boar action in the woods, but had one more hunt to try our luck.
Upon arriving at the lodge that evening we were greeted by a few team members who had harvested animals. A total of 5 teams ended the day with a successful hunt; one team actually harvested 2 pigs. This was a neat experience because we were able to share in the excitement with these other teams and watch footage captured of the kills.
The last morning Kyle and set out again to finish up the hunt at PVHC in our ground blind. Although the morning didn’t bring any action we were able to reflect back on the past 3 days hunts. Kyle and I both got to experience some truly memorable “firsts”; our first encounter with a wild boar, our first hunt in South Carolina, and most importantly, we had just completed the first hunt in the 2009 Campbell’s Outdoor Challenge.
The team will head down to Tell City, Indiana on April 18th to compete in the second circuit event, the Wild Turkey Challenge. Teammates Josh Grossenbacher and Walt Gabbard will take you along their journey through beautiful Southern Indiana on their quest for the Eastern Gobbler. We look forward to bringing you all more action from Team Roscoby. Team Roscoby.’we got your shot! ‘