Friday, October 30, 2009

2009 SCWA Charleston Chapter Banquet

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association held its Waterfowl Conservation Dinner and Banquet at the brand new End Zone facilities at the Citadel. Co-Chairs Will Brown and William Dotterer welcomed SCWA Director David Wielecki to town with a catered supper from Ward's Barbecue of Sumter. A silent auction preceded a great live auction that included waterfowl hunts and even a safari to Africa. Raffles for guns, gear and more were much anticipated - especially for the Beretta Extrema shotgun! Sportsmen talked about current events like football games and deer season, all while plotting their waterfowl game plan come Thanksgiving. Camp Woodie benefits the most from these banquets, so get out to a banquet near you - like maybe the Walterboro SCWA affair on November 7!

To view past blog entries on SCWA / Camp Woodie click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: John G. Thornhill and daughter Lucy are all smiles - celebrating ducks on a school night, this canvasback print was one of the beautiful items on the silent auction, Sponsor Charlie Aimar joins William Dotterer and Rawlins Lowndes at the Charleson Chapter SCWA waterfowl banquet

Thursday, October 29, 2009

S.C. Forestry Commission Summit

The S.C. Forestry Commission (SCFC) invited leaders of the Agribusiness world to convene at their Harbison State Forest Education Center in Columbia to discuss the economic contributions that affect the state of South Carolina. The purpose of the meeting was to set out an agenda for the alliance of forestry members present. Agribusiness is defined as agriculture and forestry together, which the Darla Moore Business School at USC has shown impacts the state with $30 million in revenue annually. Gene Kodama, state forester with the SCFC proposed that forestry provides roughly 5% of the SC Gross State Product, and showed that the SCFC only receives .2% of the state budget. The Southeast has a lot of pine woods that stretch from Maryland to Texas, and S.C. feels it is well positioned to be a leader in the agribusiness field - perhaps generating as much as $50 million dollars by the year 2020. A new Biomass plant is being built in Newberry by RollCast Energy and there is great hope that clean and green energy can be produced in this form to benefit the public. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Camo Coalition Meeting

The S.C. Camo Coaltion held its annual membership meeting at Millaree Hunt Club near Columbia to discuss the upcoming legislative calendar year. The steering committee met before the general meeting where several politicians spoke, coming directly from a special session of the General Assembly dealing with the economic recession. Some of the priority bills that the camo coalition will be supporting is the S.452 Surface Water Permitting and Protection bill, H. 3723 the Prescribed Fire bill, and as usual full funding of the S.C. Conservation Bank will be sought. No bill for the formation of bear hunting is currently pending, but likely will be a hot topic in the near future. Most importantly, the Constitutional Amendment for the Right to Hunt and Fish is on the ballot for the Nov. 2, 2010 elections and needs to be supported by all wildlife enthusiasts. A special thanks goes to Marion Burnside for allowing the meeting to take place at the beautiful facility alongside Mill Creek.

To view past blog entries about camo coalition click here.

Photo by Jeff Dennis: Representative Jeff Duncan addresses the Camo Coalition members at Millaree Plantation, a chart of the many members of the Camo Coalition - are you present and accounted for?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Twin Ponds Rifle Range Clean-Up

The National Rifle Association is assisting the U.S Forest Service in cleaning up the Twin Ponds rifle range located in the Francis Marion National Forest. The range was closed in September for excessive vandalism, and the clean-up date is scheduled for Saturday Oct. 31. A troop of Cub Scouts has volunteered to help that day, and the NRA is asking its members to turn out for this cause. Directions can be obtained by calling the Seewee Visitor Center at 843-928-3368. If enough volunteers show up then some will be dispatched to perform similar chores at the nearby Boggy Head rifle range. Tools and trash bags will be provided, and the range is scheduled to reopen on November 1.

Photo by Matt Rice: Lowcountryoutdoors shoots a Smith & Wesson AR .223 at the range

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Polo for the Point in Walterboro

A fundraiser for the Colleton Center in Walterboro saw Buck Limehouse volunteer his equestrian facilities near Walterboro for a charity polo match. The Colleton Center is a non-profit group with a mission to renovate the Hampton Street Auditorium in downtown Walterboro so that it can be a premiere museum and arts civic center. Their capital campaign is called 'Raise the Point' and has drawn support from the S.C. Arts Commission and local business leaders. The first annual Polo for the Point was held under sunny conditions that were excellent for the tailgating patrons that arrived when the gates opened at noon.  The four on four benefit polo match was quite entertaining at 3 p.m. and Buck Limehouse provided a color commentary that helped explain all of the on-field activities. Colleton Center Executive Director Harriet Bonds hopes that this polo match will become a tradition in Walterboro.

To view blog entries from past polo click 2013 or 2012 or 2011.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Eduard DesFranc leads the Red Team onto the polo field, the festive tent for event sponsors shows a flare for Fall, Polo ponies surround the goal post during play, Patrons Michael Smith, Chris Rowe, Jamey Copeland and Jim Nolte support Polo for the Point

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Affinity Charters Report

Captain John Ward of Affinity Charters reports a massive trout bite over the last two days. Twenty fish? Fifty fish? Nope, some reports of 100 fish days are coming in to, so get out tomorrow and wet a line for some specks.

Photos By John Ward: A client with a 26-inch spotted sea trout, Flipper makes a mullet stew in the surf - just another natural occurrence in the Lowcountry 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Deer Gear Review

Want to read about the popular gear that Lowcountry hunters rely on during deer season? Please refer to the October 22nd print edition of the Charleston Mercury.
Thermacell smokes out the competition from Off!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NRA donates $75K for shooting ranges

The Sept. 24 board meeting of the SCDNR saw the NRA provide funding for three new shooting ranges in South Carolina. A 50-yard pistol range and a 100-yard rifle range will be built at both Belfast WMA and Woodbury WMA, while a skeet and trap range will be constructed at Marsh WMA. The $75K donation will be matched by Pittman-Robertson funds that are derived from federal excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and more. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sailfish Slam UPDATE

Houdini, a 71-foot Jim Smith out of IOP, released 15 sailfish to take the lead of the Sailfish Slam Tourney. They tagged 11 of the sailfish and they also brought in an 11-pound wahoo for the tournament weigh-in, giving them a grand total of 3613 points, AND they still have one more fishing day eligible. Miss Annie, a 52-foot Viking is in second place with 3010 points for releasing 15 sailfish (tagging 10) in their four days of fishing. Fishing continues this weekend, and the HMY Megadock Happy hour is set to go Oct. 24 from 5 to 7, while the sailfish slam awards are scheduled for Oct. 31 at 6:30.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lowcountry CCA tagged redfish tourney

The Lowcountry Chapter of CCA in Hilton Head is holding a 30-day tagged redfish tournamentin October for BIG prizes. It seems only five redfish with CCA-tags are swimming around in Port Royal Sound and if anyone catches one of the tagged fish they are gonna win a new fishing boat. Their is also a second prize boat if anyone should catch another tagged fish. There are no prizes for third, fourth or fifth place. Entry fee is $25 and you must be a CCA member in good standing to be eligible. This is a unique fundraising idea and maybe the Lowcountry Chapter should think of a prize after the 30-day period for any lucky CCA angler that comes across a CCA-tagged redfish.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Charleston Angler photo and essay contest

The Charleston Angler tackle shop is sponsoring a photo and essay contest during the month of October, and supports their efforts. Submit from one to three photos of your best fishing pics and a 500 words (or less) story about a great experience from that fishing trip. The Charleston Angler is giving away some great prizes and the winners' photos and stories will be posted on the Angler's website blog and Facebook page. So go fishing and remember to Say Cheese!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

SC Prescribed Fire Council meeting

The S.C. Prescribed Fire Council met at the Clemson Extension station in Blackville, S.C. on 10/15 and the large turnout demonstrated that PX fire is alive and well in the Palmetto state. The mission statement of the Council is to foster cooperation among all parties in the Palmetto State with an interest in prescribed fire and to promote the public understanding of the importance and benefits of prescribed fire. The wise use of prescribed fire improves public safety by reducing fuel loads in the forest and enhances ecosystems that require or benefit from fire. Carefully burned lands can also be more aesthetically pleasing. I was invited to join the panel of speakers, bringing the message of Fire Co-Ops that had been discussed at the last Private Landowners of the ACE (or PL-ACE) meeting, thanks to the American Forest Foundation. I told the Council that when I attended the first S.C. fire council meeting six years ago, an annual meeting was only a concept, and that fire co-ops may seem to be a concept now but a few years from now they may be a new reality. Fire Co-ops may be a key to the future of prescribed fire if it accomplishes the mission of bringing non-participants onboard as describing a smoke plume as a beneficial occurrence.

For past blog entries on prescribed fire click here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More SCI hunt pics

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Youth hunter Tucker Hudson represented the Take One Make One program that SCI supports and he ran the tables at Hope Plantation by harvesting a 10-point buck and two nice hogs, The Parris Island Marine Corps Band played a concert for the SCI hunt, It takes volunteers like Skye and Gene Tucker of the Charlotte SCI Chapter to help make a hunt like this a success, SCI member Clint Lemon dispenses a Thermacell unit (provided by the Schwabel Corporation) to a disabled sportsman

To see more photos from the 2009 SCI hunt click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More SCI hunt pics

Photos By Jeff Dennis: The oak avenue at Nemours Plantation is lined with patriotic well-wishers during the SCI hunt, wounded warrior hunter Jeff Pcola with his 8-point and doe, SCI hunt organizer Mark Petterson with Sgt. Eric Edmundson, celebrity sharpshooter Tim Bradley makes it a point to support the SCI hunt

To see my blog entry and more photos from the 2009 SCI hunt click here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

5th annual SCI wheelchair hunt

The Lowcountry Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI) hosted their 5th annual wheelchair and wounded warrior deer hunt at multiple plantations in the ACE Basin. Nemours Wildlife Foundation serves as the host property for the hunters and volunteers to gather, receiving instruction and enjoying the fellowship of meals, before hunting parties fan out to enjoy some of the bounty of deer that the Lowcountry has to offer. A great weather day saw plenty of hunters harvest bucks, does and hogs and the wheelchair hunt continues to grow as a quality option for disabled sportsman.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: The patriotic feel is unmistakable as members of the wounded warrior regiment turn out to register to deer hunt, the marine corps color guard from Parris Island honors the hunters with their presentation, ex-marine Bill Thrift suffers from paralysis of the legs due to diabetes but that did not stop him from harvesting this 8-point buck and a doe, SCI chapter president Pat Autore delivers a check for $1000 from SCI to SCDNR's Take One Make One leader Sgt. Lynwood Kearse

Monday, October 12, 2009

SEOPA goes to the shooting range

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and Smith & Wesson sponsored a day of archery and firearms experiences at the public gun range in the Babcock Wilderness WMA (in Fla.) The public range is run by the Florida DNR and was simply the finest shooting range that Lowcountryoutdoors has ever visited.

To view past blog entries about SEOPA click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Matt Rice with Smith and Wesson holds a .22-caliber modern hunting rifle, the shooting range was a first class facility, Florida DNR officers were on site and literally 'ran' the shooting range, Jeff takes aim on the archery range

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Punta Gorda, FLA welcomes SEOPA

Punta Gorda (PG) - Florida, host of the 2009 conference of the SouthEastern Outdoor Press Association, is a small city that sits on an expansive body of water known as Charlotte Harbor. The Peace River and the Mayakka River flow together to form the harbor that is nine miles wide and twenty-two miles long. The waterfront Best Western serves as the hub for the meeting and an adjacent city conference facility hosts the many writer's workshops that discuss subjects from Archery in Schools Program to when is the best time to write an outdoor book. Jennifer Hubert of the Charlotte County CVB has been present at nearly every step of the way (even at the gun range event today sponsored by Smith & Wesson) to ensure a successful presentation for the city of Punta Gorda. Dinner at the harborside Laishley's crabhouse was one of the side trips into downtown PG.

to view past blog entries about SEOPA click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: photo of the GIANT crab at Laishley's, believe it or not this is only ONE Big banyon tree in Punta Gorda, a yellow-crowned night heron patrols the mangroves, tropical flowers bloom in the tropical heat of Florida

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fishing in Charlotte Harbor, Florida

Captain Bill Lotito picked me up at Ponce De Leon Park and we went after the elusive silver king. Long story short - a nice 100-pound tarpon inhaled my live ladyfish offering and took off like a runaway train before jumping completely out of the water and shaking loose the circle hook, leaving me holding the Ugly Stik Tiger rod that previously was doubled over. But that's fishing..... His 20-foot Florida Skiff and 150 Yamaha V-Max engine provides a great platform for harbor fishing. Captain Bill said, "I specialize in light tackle live bait fishing and I like redfish the best becasue they never stop fighting." Lolito has been guiding in Charlotte Harbor for 18 years and is a retired NYC police officer.

To view past blog entries about SEOPA click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: an artist's rendition of a snook jumping has a classic Florida feel, a Charlotte Harbor speckled trout for Lowcountryoutdoors, a stout rod baited with a live ladyfish waits for a tarpon to bite, Charlotte County is known for its tarpon fishing

Friday, October 9, 2009

Backcountry fishing with Soulmate Charters

Fishing directly behind Fort Myers beach in the special backcountry preservation area, Capt. Rob Modys worked the final two hours of the ebb tide to perfection. He piloted his 17-foot Skeeter boat around shell banks until reaching the spot where the snook would congregate. Using sardines and white bait Modys said, "Freelining bait is the best way to go but a popping float is popular too." Modys is a full time guide that appreciates nature and is willing to book fishing charters, birding charters and shelling charters.

To view past blog entries about SEOPA click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Butch and Capt. Modys with a snook, with a spanish mackerel, mangroves growing on shell banks - does fish habitat get any better?, the new pontoon boat at Fish Tales Marina is wrapped in Guy Harvey artwork and marina manager Mark Combs charters the 45-foot pontoon boat to the Tarpon Lodge once a week