Sunday, February 22, 2009

Landowner chores and rewards

Landowners have a lot of goals in February, chief of which is to burn woods with prescribed fire. There is always a premium on days when forest managers can actually burn due to rain or high wind conditions - resulting in a red flag or no burn day from the South Carolina Forestry Commission. Providing food for wild game is foremost in the landowners mind, and prescribed fire helps to replenish the available browse in the forest because the burned material acts like fertilizer for the new growth, which will arrive in spring. (or late February.... as redbuds are out, forsythia is out and pear trees are blooming). The heads on some Lowcountry wild turkeys are already bright red...... but I digress. Other chores associated with forage for game animals includes discing of fields, food plots and even random strips through the woods ahead of the spring ritual of planting seed and letting mother nature grow corn, sorghum and more. The last of winter is cold and chain saw work for firewood is another chore that is completed, and is mostly looked forward to - as long as your chain stays sharp.
An early rise gets the daily chores started and it may be cold out (it was 25 degrees Saturday morning!) but that is no reason to wait, for if the chores get done then there may be time to take advantage of the last remaining days of quail season, and what better pursuit in late February then letting bird dogs revel in the virtuous task that they were bred for - pointing the bobwhite quail. A baker's dozen quail in the game bag can feed a family, and there is no measuring the benefits that it brought to the Lowcountry outdoorsman's body and soul. The photos show two brittany spaniels on point with noses almost aligned, two double guns and a bountiful bobwhite harvest, and Gentleman Bob in the sunlight of a late February afternoon.

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