Saturday, March 28, 2015

Prescribed Fire Awareness - Introduction to Controlled Burns

This same burn can be carried out with as few as two people
The month of March is designated as Prescribed Fire month in the state of S.C. and this blog is supposed to be an introduction to the benefits of controlled burning via graphic illustration.

To view past blog entries about controlled burning click here.

To view past blog entries about controlled burning click on 2014 Dry Weather Fire Threat - SCDNR Prescribed Fire 2013 Prescribed Fire - 2012 Prescribed Fire 2009 Wildfire - 2009 Prescribed Fire Council

Wildlife abounds after controlled burning

Green up follows closely after controlled burning in Spring

Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 Smoke In The 'Boro - Barbecue Cooking Competition

Smokin' Stacks Competition BBQ came from Aiken
Pig Tales BBQ came from Charleston
This was just the second year of the Smoke In The 'Boro barbecue cooking competition. The Coastal Electric Coop's parking lot and Outback Building are the setting for the two-day event. Folks come in with their cooking rigs from all around the state of South Carolina in order to compare their butts! In fact, Friday night's competition was call Anything Butt, which was in reference to that fact that only side dishes are served, since the BBQ must be cooked all night.

Saturday is the real competition with judges looking at ribs, pulled pork and overall presentation. For some folks you just can't ever get enough barbecue, and the $1 servings allowed for a economical chance to visit the 20 or so cooking teams for a taste. This friendly competition to benefit the Colleton Center is run by Jean Harrigal, and her team of judges declared All Smoked Up from Lexington the 2015 Grand Champion. Pig Tales BBQ from Charleston won the Anything Butt contest, All Smoke Up won for Best Ribs, and Carolina Grill and Catering of Varnville smoked the rest in the Butts Contest.

Pioneer Boats in Walterboro sent over their Smoker Team

To view past blog entries about cooking click on Camp Chef - Dead Meat TV - Charleston Cooks! - Palmetto BBQ and Brew - CCA Convention - Tony Chachere

Up In Smoke came from Rock Hill

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Soggy, Slow Start to Turkey Season; Youth Day March 28

Busted! A Boss Gobbler breaks out of full strut
as his hens head for the woodline.
Turkey hunters in the Lowcountry's Game Zone 6 are looking forward to when the weather has a consistent chance to warm up and dry out. An abundance of grey days and wet weather has kept gobbling activity at a minimum, with too few warm and sunny days mixed in thus far.

A statewide youth turkey hunting day will be observed this March 28, including the 34 counties where turkey season doesn’t begin until April 1. Another option that opens up on the first of April is the public turkey hunting at Wildlife Management Areas across the state. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) estimates that 50,000-hunters will be hunting for wild turkeys this spring, which keeps the pressure on for a turkey population that is faltering in many areas.
SCDNR turkey biologist Charles Ruth shares that the overall outlook for the wild turkey season is only fair. “Reproduction in turkeys has generally been poor to fair for the last decade,” said Ruth. “Last summer the average brood size of 3.9-poults remained relatively consistent, but there were 59-percent of hens that had no brood at the time of the SCDNR summer turkey survey. With the exception of the lower coastal plain, reproduction was poor in most of the state.”
Depiction of Flying Gobbler
“The gobbler to hen ratio is the lowest since the year 2000, and that can affect the quality of any turkey hunt since the hens are extremely available,” said Ruth. “The state’s turkey population is about 35-percent below record levels, and we need better reproduction for several years to get the population back up. Given the right weather and habitat conditions they can bounce back naturally in a short period of time.”

To view this feature article in the newspaper click Colletonian

To view past blog entries from the start of Turkey Season click 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2010 - 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 3/25/2015

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Red Drum images on picnic table artwork
Inshore Report: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West shares that with water temps hovering in the 60's there has not been a lot of change in the fishery as of late. Sheepshead are stirring around docks and rock piles in 8 to 15-feet of water using live fiddler crabs and live shrimp. Reds have begun to disperse out of their large winter schools into smaller packs, and can be found hanging out under docks and creek mouths as well as still on the shallow water low tide flats. Live minnows, and Gulp baits rigged on all new JNT jigheads are hard to beat for the redfish. The past week has even seen our first decent trout reports of the season, including some pushing 5-pounds, and the speck bite should only get better from now into May! For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore Report: Scott is screaming like a Penn reel hooked up to a smoker HOO - The Season Is Here!! Strong reports of wahoo, blackfin tuna and even some dolphin have all been coming to the dock in the past week. While the dolphin were found way out deep, like 75-miles offshore, the tuna and wahoo are available in 150 to 250-feet of water in areas known as the deli, SW banks and Edisto banks. Bottom fishing in 60 to 90-feet of water is still producing some quality black sea bass as well as plenty of b-liners, porgies and such.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Salkehachie Longbeards Banquet

Jamey and Sharon Copeland with Andy and Erica Strickland
This dog (from silent auction) will hunt!
The 2015 calendar day for March 15 was a Sunday, meaning that the 2015 NWTF Salkehatchie Longbeards banquet came about a week after the start of the turkey hunting season, breaking a long streak of many years when the banquet was held prior to opening day. Even without all the build up and anticipation seen in past years, the banquet hall was full and a new record of 150 sponsor members kicked up their spurs in the name of hunting heritage.

Steven Murdaugh gave the invocation before Park Lane Seafood from Columbia served up fried fish, oysters and shrimp. The comfortable temperatures allowed for the fresh seafood smells to sail through the air at the National Guard armory in Walterboro. The silent auction and raffle sales put the jakes, hens and boss toms into a frenzy about how to spend their bucks in the 'Boro. Plenty of turkey hunting lifestyle merchandise went home with Colleton County families.

Auction trips included dove hunting in Argentina, quail hunting in Denmark and hog hunting on the Salkehatchie River swamp. Knife, gun and print of the year items were hotly contested with only those willing to dig deep getting the goods. One dove hunt donated by Rusty Kinard was in memoriam of the longtime auctioneer who had passed away fetched nearly $5000 dollars! The end of the night includes a general raffle giveaway, sponsor drawing and knowing that the tradition of turkey hunting is alive and well in the Lowcountry outdoors.

To view past blog entries from the Salkehatchie Longbeards banquet click 20142013 - 2012 - 2011

Unique boot scrape on live auction

Sponsor members Zeb Hutto and
Ashley Ayer from Broxton Bridge Plantation

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe by Tony Chachere

Aspiring cook and Chef Tony talk creole cuisine

Tony Chachere seasoning and Crawfish Etouffee
The early start to turkey season in S.C. draws some hunters to the Lowcountry from other states, with one such sportsman also being a renowned chef in Louisiana. Tony Chachere and his five-man cooking team from Chachere’s Creole Seasoning came to Lodge last weekend to cook a crawfish etouffee supper, and then to do some hunting when the season came in on March 15. “This is my second year cooking here, and after 2014 I’m just glad just to be a part of hunting camp again,” said Tony Chacehere.
“My etouffee sauce started simmering about 10 a.m. and I add ingredients all day,” said Chachere. “I bring several pounds of fresh crawfish from back home that has never been frozen, and the crawdads aren’t added until about 5 p.m., an hour before we served the sauce over fried catfish filets. Other ingredients I use are butter, onions, bell peppers, garlic, parsley, green onions and I add crawfish fat to flavor it.”  Here’s hoping that Chachere finds some wild turkey meat to try with his savory sauce, just as we did back in 2012.

To view this article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

Getting Shaved Up - Creole Style!
To view past blog entry recipes click wood duck - bacon wrapped doves - venison loin - quail supreme - shrimp creole

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Toyota 4Runner To Broxton Bridge and Meadow Wood

Neat sliding rear cargo deck option is good for sportsman
4Runner at the FCA Outdoors event in N.C.
The 2015 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 is a far cry from the very first 4Runner's, some of which are so durable that they are still on the road. The first 4Runner's were a pickup truck with a permanent camper shell, and they were quite capable 4-wheel drive vehicles. There has been a couple of design changes over the years which have kept the 4Runner so popular that it is hard to go for a drive and not see another 4Runner of some kind on the road or parked in a driveway. The 2015 Trail Premium V6 model has 4X4 but not all of the high end options that would come with a Limited model, and I ran the Barcelona Red 4Runner from the swamps of South Carolina to the foothills of North Carolina.

Civil War reenactors consult the map of Sherman's Raid
This 30th Anniversary 4Runner lists at $40,880 and sports a kinetic dynamic suspension system, and a neat sliding rear cargo deck with storage compartment underneath. The EnTune sound system and standard back-up camera make the center console a focus of attention. Lots of storage for drinks, cell phone and nicknacks are another positive of the roomy cabin. This 4X4 sits up high, so it takes getting a leg up just to get inside, and a short person might be challenged by this. No step rail is on this model, but that might be the likely solution for this issue. One of the best things about all 4Runner's have is the power back window, which goes nicely with a power moonroof for cruising along with good airflow.

CSA Post Office replica welcomes visitors the 4Runner
When I visited Broxton Bridge Plantation in Western Colleton County for the 150th Anniversary and Reenactment of the Battle Of Broxton Bridge, the Salkehatchie River was in flood stage. My plans to drive the 4Runner across the swamp had to be scuttled in favor of a drier ride along the edge of the swamp. The 4-wheel drive engaged easily and performed well, and I am grateful to survive this swamp test. The Living History day showed me that civilization has come a long way from frontiersman blazing trail to tourists driving out in 4Runner's to see how the rural countryside measures up against the concrete jungles in our cities.

Next up I loaded my over and under shotgun to head off to Meadow Wood Farm in Monroe, N.C. for a sporting clays shoot with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes(FCA). The Hank Parker Invitational in now in its 4th year and each year cold weather is part of the equation. With a 29-degree start and some light icing of the roads, I had very little to worry about with the heavy 4Runner just riding along fine. The gas milage rating for this vehicle is 18 miles per gallon, and that is about what I got during my ride on the Interstate to and from the event. Very nice SUV and I understand that the Toyota Sequoia is the largest SUV in their fleet.

To view past blog entries about my trusty Toyota Tacoma click 400,000-miles.