Saturday, July 13, 2019

2019 ACE Basin Oyster Project and Discovery Boat Ride

Roxbury Park Oyster Restoration Work / EIOLT 
The month of July is a great time to be at the beach or on the saltwater nearby to soak in all the daily happenings in the marine ecosystem. Don’t forget that July will mark the start of the sea turtle hatchlings season that will run into the fall. Oysters play a natural role by filtering the saltwater and volunteers can join in the artificial oyster reef project in Meggett on July 16. The Carolina Coastal Discovery marine education program returns to Edisto Beach State Park on July 24, offering and educational boat ride on ACE Basin Appreciation Day.
Coastal Discovery Pontoon Boat
The site of the oyster restoration project is Roxbury Park, a property owned by the Town of Meggett on Highway 174 just before Edisto Island. Toogoodoo Creek and the intertidal zone all around Roxbury Park make it an excellent nature preserve and it is open to the public for hiking and bird watching. Oysters are one part of the natural resources that come under strain from overharvest, but it is clear to scientists how to rebuild oyster populations. Replacing spent oyster shells to the estuary allows for new oysters to cultivate using the same shells, in a natural form of recycling. The Roxbury Park project on Tuesday, July 16 from 1 – 3:30 is collaboration between several conservation groups.

The educational boat ride on Wednesday July 24 from 10 – 12 is free, but space is limited. Participants need to visit the SCDNR website and claim one of the spots. And passengers must be 10 years of age or older. The purpose of the trip is the teach others to appreciate the ACE Basin, and that education begins at the Environmental Learning Center at Edisto Beach State Park. Participants assist in data collection during the cruise, since the SCDNR staffers record every creature encountered plus the water salinity levels. They also place an emphasis on connecting local conservation issues with larger concerns such as global warming.

To read the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

2019 Saluda Coon Dog Day

McGuire's Bagpipe Band from Florida
The 56th annual Coon Dog Day in Saluda, North Carolina went off with military precision. A 5K Road Race at 8 a.m., a parade at 11 a.m., and the 8 p.m. square dance all started right on time. What happened in between all of these events is the precious moments when like-minded folks gather together to celebrate July 4th and a love for the outdoors. The 2020 Coon Dog Day actually falls on the Fourth of July, so mark your calendars now for a fun weekend in the mountains.
The 2020 date is on July 4

To view past blog entries from Coon Dog Days click on 20182016 - 2013 - 2012 

To view past blog entries from Saluda click on Arts Festival -  Nature Notes - Green River barbecue - Green River Games - Saluda Tailgate Market

Turkey and havarti with frites

The 5K Race is going to the dogs

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation 30th Anniversary

The hunting and fishing regulations in South Carolina are always evolving, with input currently being sought on the management of wild turkey and saltwater cobia. The common thread is that the South Carolina Legislature will be the government entity which approves or disapproves these future changes. Some members of the General Assembly are sportsmen who actively hunt and fish, and they joined together for a meeting on June 7 in Edgefield at the National Wild Turkey Federation headquarters for a sporting clays competition. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation out of Washington, D.C. sponsored this event as part of their 30th anniversary in 2019.

Mark Cherpes, Congressman Jeff Duncan,
CSF's Jeff Crane and Rob Keck with Bass Pro
The Palmetto Shooting Complex is a relatively new state of the art shooting sports facility, that is able to regularly host visiting groups of shooting sports enthusiasts, including lots of S.C. students. The National Wild Turkey Federation runs and maintains the complex that was built with funding from several organizations in a cooperative spirit to promote the shooting sports.  More than 150 participants including elected officials, conservation partners and members of the sporting community, enjoyed shooting sporting clays for the day.

S.C. Representative Brian White addresses the group
United States Congressman Jeff Duncan took home the Top Gun Legislator trophy from the event.  “It was great to gather in South Carolina today with sportsmen and women to discuss our common mission of conservation advocacy efforts both here, and across the country,” said Duncan. “This event brings together men, women and youth shooters working together to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same freedoms to hunt and fish.” Duncan is a member of the Congressional Sportsman’s caucus in Washington, hailing from the upstate of S.C.
Sporting youth at the 3rd Annual S.C. Clays Classic

One issue on the agenda in D.C. right now that may affect saltwater anglers is the amendment put forth by Congressman John Rutherford of Florida that would provide $3.5-million dollars of funding for reef fish data collection. Reef fish are managed on a federal level, and one species of reef fish is the red snapper. A lack of good data contributes to the reef fishery being closed at times, limiting access by recreational anglers who pay fishing license fees. Any voter interested in supporting this call for more federal funding should contact their Congressman today and voice support for the Rutherford Amendment.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

2019 Jim Bost Memorial Won By Bad Becky

At the 2019 Jim Bost Memorial Offshore Fishing tournament fished on June 15 out of the Marina at Edisto, tournament Rules chair Calvert Huffines was also the emcee for the weigh-in. He gave a history lesson of all the boats that Jim Bost fished on over the years. “Jim was a special person to all of the saltwater anglers at Edisto, and this tournament educates others about his contributions to our fishing heritage,” said Huffines.
Youth angler Greyson Bullard 
The winner of the 2019 Jim Bost Memorial is a boat from Edisto named the Bad Becky. A 27.5-pound wahoo brought in by Bad Becky tipped the scales enough to claim the first place prize of $1080. Finishing in second place on the strength of their 20.7-pound blackfin tuna is another boat from Edisto, the Dealer’s Choice. A boat named Reel Pipes brought a 19-pound dolphin to the scales to secure third place.

The oceanic conditions were conducive to offshore fishing and several youths were able to make the trip into the deep blue sea and earn their sea legs. Youth angler Jackson Smith caught a 13.9-pound mahi while fishing with Dealer’s Choice, and youth angler Campbell Smith caught a 16.7-pound tuna. Youth angler Greyson Bullard fishing on a boat from Edisto called the Laid Back was able to release his first ever sailfish on this day, and he also reeled in a 12.7-pound dolphin to share with the crew. Youth angler Ben Bronson caught a 12.9-ppund mahi from the Miss Fishin’ and youth angler Louis Bucksa caught a 15.7-pound mahi on the Hot Jelly.
Nice haul of blackfin tuna

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from the Jim Bost Memorial click on 2018 2017 - 2016

To view past blog entries from the Edisto Billfish tourney click on 20182017 - 20162015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Regal Moth and the Hickory Horned Devil

Photo from June 1 at dawn along S.C. coast
A naturalist can identify with the old saying that the early bird gets the worm. Nature enthusiasts recognize that sometimes the best time of day to view critters is the early morning hours. A recent walk to a local beach just after dawn to look for loggerhead sea turtles revealed a nocturnal Regal Moth that was just settling in for a daytime slumber. Despite a stable population range in the Mid-Atlantic states, this chance encounter sent me searching for information about my first ever sighting of this large orange moth with white spots.
Drawing on a lifetime of experience, what I did know is that this was one of the largest moths or butterflies I had ever encountered.  It was not surprising to learn that the Regal Moth is said to be the largest moth by weight north of Mexico. Their scientific name is Citheronia regalis and they are members of the Saturnidae Family, which also includes the Luna moth and Imperial moth. Like most large moths, their lifespan is not much more than seven days, making this sighting even more improbable.

Hickory Horned Devil Caterpillar
Photo credit - Pinterest
The Regal moth is found throughout the deciduous forests of the eastern U.S. and its bright markings make it distinct in the realm of insects. What was surprising to learn is how the caterpillar stage of this adult moth is known as the Hickory Horned Devil for its fierce looking orange horns. The thick and beefy caterpillar can be as large as a small hot dog, and is a handful when picked up for observation. Both the caterpillar and adult phase of the Regal moth are harmless and all the coloration and horns are nature’s way of safeguarding them from hungry birds and other predators.

To view the entire feature article click on Colletonian.