Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inshore Slam in between rainy days

With a deluge of rain hitting the coast over the weekend and into Monday, and more rain in the forecast from Wednesday through Friday - the shining sun on Tuesday was put to good use by Captain Reed Simmons who reeled in an inshore slam! Putting in at the IOP marina, he navigated the ICW into an ocean inlet and searched for fish along marsh points, shell banks, drop offs and in gulleys. Plenty of bait was moving about, and except for the tarpon rolling occasionally, it could have passed as the first taste of fall weather.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Captain Reed Simmons with a flounder that fell for a DOA shrimp rigged under a Cajun Thunder float; Capt. Simmons fishing in the shallows; a Lowcountry Sportsman in the outdoors with a redfish; Capt. Simmons is a DOA-endorsed guide in the Palmetto state

Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Governor's Cup Awards - VIDEO

The 2010 South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Awards were held at the Governor's Mansion on September 26, and was punctuated by the winning team's owner donating $20,000! Caramba won the 2010 Outstanding Billfish Boat award and Bob Faith made a grant towards the 2011 Gov. Cup Series and challenged future Series winners to make this kind of support a tradition.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Jim and Wendy Goller represent the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Foundation; This blue marlin plaque was given to Governor Sanford for hosting the Gov. Cup awards for six years; Angel and Gregg Brown are regular readers of, John and Emily Horton represent the Georgetown Landing Marina.

To view the Lowcountry Outdoors blog entry for the 2009 Gov. Cup awards click here.

VideoByJeffDennis: SCDNR Board Chair Mike McShane recognizes Governor Mark Sanford

Caramba Accepts 2012 Gov. Cup Award

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fox squirrels - to hunt or not to hunt

In the rules and regulations of SCDNR it is legal to hunt fox squirrels. In the mind of the most ethical outdoors enthusiast, the shooting of fox squirrels is not warranted. They occupy a niche in the natural world and their population seems to be a bit tenuous; strong in some places while barren in others. In they Lowcountry outdoors they hold an intrinsic value that places their well-being above their pelt. Harvesting a fox squirrel for the purpose of a taxidermy mount is fine. Again, it is legal to hunt them.

For a past blog entry on squirrel hunting click here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Freshwater fun on the North Santee

Sundee Afa'noon is a great time to go freshwater fishin' in the Lowcountry Outdoors and the North Santee River offers easy boat access to good fishing grounds. Stopping in at the Seewee Outpost for worms, crickets, sandwiches and supplies for an evening on the water, John Archambault and I set out to catch some panfish and maybe a catfish. The weather was hot, but the sunfish were biting and the time passed quickly until it was time to set out some catfish baits at dark. When darkness settled in two rod-bending strikes resulted in two snags in the sunken timber, which is a trait of the North Santee, and no catfish were landed.

To view past blog entries on freshwater fishing click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: John Archambault of James Island was catching stumpknockers two at a time; a brim comes to the surface; what does a big chunk of catfish bait look like?; we fished all day using slip floats and into the night using glow sticks - all from Rod-N-Bobs.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

500th Post - Outdoor path a worthy journey

On January 19, 2009 this blog was started with a promising quote:

"Lowcountry Outdoors is coming to life in 2009. There are so many great events and happenings that are newsworthy, beyond the hunting and fishing seasons, and you may now find out about all manner of outdoor-related pursuits on this blog."

Jotting down my 500th post on 9/21/10 about the outdoors path I have chosen to follow, I feel very grateful to have the commitment of family, friends, blog followers and visitors who read my work. There is much to be thankful for, but rather than be wordy or verbose, I'll just say - Thank You.

Writing for The Charleston Mercury and for other hunting, fishing and conservation publications is truly rewarding, but this blog keeps all outdoor pursuits in mind. Particularly the fact that the average hunter or angler may not harvest an above-average critter in order to make it into the newspaper or a magazine. There will always be room on Lowcountry Outdoors for both the headlines AND the everyday sporting occurrences.

Looking forward, their are many more goals to be met, both personal and professional, and there are many more outdoor-related stories to be told among sporting enthusiasts - so let's stay in touch!! Help me to keep sporting traditions portrayed with a positive description.

To view my 200th blog entry click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Mookie and his three possums: This photo came from a rabbit hunt in 2005 when my friend Mookie, a brick mason that does not use a computer, took up a station in the pine woods at Snipe Hill waiting for a rabbit during a beagle chase. When I heard his shotgun sound off that day there was no way I could have imagined that he would harvest three possums out of one tree - just to add a little variety to his supper table. This photo has never been published, but is an example of a regular outdoor moment that is worth sharing from our 10-year tradition of rabbit hunting together.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dove hunt with fishing friends

The third weekend of September brought plenty of heat to the Richland County dove field that hosted several fishing guides for a bird hunt and barbecue. Getting a chance to put the rods down for a day and to pick up the shotgun is a nice change of pace for all fishermen.

For past blog entries on dove hunting click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Lovie and Dickie hunt doves together - and Dickie loves to moonlight for catfish in the Wateree River, Jason Fowler of Homewaters clothing connected with some doves while hunting with fishing friends; a good looking and well-prepared dove field; Jeff and Captain Mark Phelps leave the field in search of a cold beverage

Saturday, September 18, 2010

CCA Spread Some Lead event on 9/19

Please join the Coastal Conservation League for their 'Spread Some Lead' sporting clays shoot at Partridge Creek Gun Club in Ridgeville. For all the details click here.

CCA brings us great publications like TIDE magazine, and their efforts benefit things like the Sportsman Fund!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Northern lady takes Southern GATOR

Guide Kevin Davis congratulates Maryellen Mara-Christian
Maryellen and Mark in the photo by Kevin Davis
 When Maryellen Christian traveled to South Carolina to hunt a gator during the 2009 season, she was not able to harvest anything. Back for more in 2010 with her husband Mark, she was not only able to use her tag, she took one of the most massive alligators that has ever been brought into Black’s Fish Camp, one that went over 13-feet in length and weighed over 1000-pounds.

Measuring 4.5-inches beyond 13-feet, guide Kevin Davis said, “This is our third year of guiding for gators, but I’ve never seen anything like this one. The girth on the belly measured 79-inches and it looked to me like you could have fit a 55-gallon drum in it, and the same goes for the base of his tail – it was just an unusually large specimen.”

Putting in at Black’s Camp in Cross, S.C. on Wednesday, September 15, the trio of hunters set out at 8 a.m. for a full day’s hunt. Driving into the cut that enters the diversion canal near the Santee Cooper Lakes, Davis spotted the big gator at 8:10. “As many times as I’ve used this cut, I had never seen this giant before and we were literally hooked up using a snatch hook by 8:10 a.m.,” said Davis.

Using three different rods and reels rigged with snatch hooks, they battled the big fella for two hours, as the gator continued to stay close to the bank during the entire fight, not choosing to swim for open water. The gator kept using overhanging trees like wax myrtles to rub off the snatch hooks. At one point he managed to break free of all the lines, but Davis kept more rods ready and the South Carolina Sportsman Field Reporter kept his clients in the game.

Eventually they employed two harpoons, a snout snare, and eight pistol shots to subdue the beast, with a final coups de gras coming from a huge Bowie knife that was gouged between the vertebrae to make sure he would not fight when being tied to the side of the 24-foot Ranger boat that Davis uses.

“We were back at the landing by about 10:30 a.m. and we used a backhoe to life the gator out of the water,” said Davis. “We took him to 301 Taxidermy in Florence and used their 5,000-pound calibrated scale to verify his weight at 1025-pounds. The Christians’ are getting the head mounted as a trophy. We have had television stations in Massachusetts broadcast this story, but no one has got all the details right, so I’m glad to let the Sportsman readers know that real deal.”

Mary ellen had the gator tag in her name, and the Christian’s had to pay the new fee for out-of-state gator hunters this year, which was $200 apiece. With gator tag, out-of-state hunting licenses and guide fees – they spent close to $1000 to come hunt in South Carolina. Mark is a bear hunting guide in Maine and a commercial fisherman in Massachusetts, and now he has a trophy gator story to add to his resume.

To view a past blog entry about gator hunting click here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Team Lazarus Racing - UPDATE

Check out this riveting report from Captain Brad Van Liew as he puts his sailboat through sea trials on the way to La Rochelle, France for the start of the Velux 5 Oceans race!

PhotoByBradVanLiew: Just look at the eerie sky that he encountered during those storms!

For prior Velux 5 Oceans blog entries click here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

USTA Best Tennis Town is CHARLESTON

The Family Circle Cup has brought its first-class facility and tennis tournament to town, and outdoor concerts are only one of the fringe benefits to the community. The U.S. Tennis Association just completed a contest where the public votes for the Best Tennis Town In America, and Charleston had achieved a spot as a Top-3 Finalist. The winner of the contest was revealed at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament's completion and Charleston brought home the first-place ranking of Best Tennis Town and the $100,000 grant that accompanies it!!

For a concert review from the FCC stadium click here.
To view my blog from the 2010 Family Circle Finals click here.

To read more about the award visit the Family Circle Cup website here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Loris, S.C. man top F & S Outdoorsman

A resident of the coastal plain of S.C. won the Field and Stream Outdoorsman Challenge and won honor for all woodsmen of the Carolinas.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Archery Range at Webb WMA

Here's something you don't see everyday, but is practical for everyday spent in a treestand - a tower at an archery range so that bowhunters can practice shooting from an elevated position.

To view past blog entries about archery click here.

PhotoCourtesySCDNR: Ted Rainwater shows his archery skills on the new range tower at the Webb Center Wildlife Management Area

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Black Crowes rock Family Circle Stadium

The following concert promo was published in the Charleston Mercury newspaper:

The Black Crowes are celebrating their 20-year anniversary in style with a new album and a concert tour that began August 13. The ‘Goodbye to the Bad Guys’ Tour will visit Daniel Island on Sept. 10, just one day ahead of their induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 11 in Atlanta. A unique format accompanies the current tour promising one full set of acoustic music, followed by one electric rock’n’roll set celebrating their southern songs. The band’s debut album in 1990, Shake Your Money Maker, went triple platinum and featured an Otis Redding cover song. Their 2010 release, Croweology, is a double album of all-acoustic music with new arrangements of their best-loved songs and fan favorites. While the band has had a regular turnover of members, the driving force has always remained the Robinson brothers of Georgia. Chris is the tall and vociferous lead singer and Rich is the solid presence on lead guitar. While the brothers are sometimes famous for their feuds, which spawned the aptly name Tour of Brotherly Love, there is something about sibling symmetry that lends itself to artistic invention – especially concerning music. A catalog of fifteen albums shows that this has been a prolific pairing, and they have earned a reputation for excellence in the live music venue. Consider the fact that in the year 2000, rock legend Jimmy Page chose this band to tour with, to perform nothing but Led Zeppelin songs. The Black Crowes disbanded in 2002 and the Robinson brothers pursued solo careers, releasing separate albums and touring in support of them. But in 2005 keyboardist Eddie Harsch suggested that it was time to make music together again, and former members of the band were selected to reclaim their positions on drums, guitar and bass. This reinvigorated the Black Crowes, and while Harsch is no longer a member of the band, keyboards remain a prominent feature in the band’s sound. The reworked version of ‘My Morning Song’ features a hand-clapping acoustic piano bridge that is resonating with fans, and receiving radio airplay. While the band does have a greatest hits album available, it is arguable that to understand the band’s music one needs to listen to their roots – specifically the first three albums. While the first release was a success in every form, it enabled the band to follow-up with two memorable recordings, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion and Amorica. Successful bands often falter with their sophomore release, but the Black Crowes thrived and produced some of the best southern rock of the 90’s. If you can’t make it to the Family Circle Cup Stadium, which is a quite wonderful venue for a concert in the Lowcountry Outdoors, then you may be able to catch the band on public television. They recorded a concert for Live From the Artist’s Den, at the Lyric Theatre in Oxford, Mississippi. The show generally airs on weekends later in the night, but it features the acoustic music of the band as well as separate outtake interviews with lead singer and non-stop philosopher Chris Robinson.

PhotoCourtesyTheBlackCrowes: Brothers Rich and Chris Robinson

VideoByJeffDennis: Lowcountry Greetings from Chris Robinson and Jealous Again clip

Friday, September 10, 2010

New State Record AJ caught out of IOP

On Tuesday September 7th Captain Michael Owens and long-time fishing friend John Beauford went offshore fishing in S.C. waters for the first time. As luck would have it, they promptly reeled in a new state record 123-pound monster Amberjack. They had planned the trip for a week and a half, looking over charts, etc - and then they went out and executed - gotta give them credit!

PhotoByAmyDukes/SCDNR: Angler John Beauford is on the left

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Monster Tarpon released off Hilton Head

Captain Michael Perry is a private fishing guide at Spring Island and he put his anglers on a HUGE Poon on August 27. Buddy Paul Pile was the first to hook up at 10 a.m. but he lost his silver king after it took a mighty jump. Wade Bales of hooked up with the monster tarpon about 11 a.m. and good fortune kept the hook set for him and he reeled in and then released a true silver king.

PhotoByPaulPiles: Angler Wade Bales and Captain Michael Perry with the HHI Poon

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Addictive Fishing / Lowcountry Outdoors

I was glad to receive a call from my friend Blair Wiggins when he came to the Lowcountry to film an episode of his Addictive Fishing television show. Captain Champ Smith deserves much of the credit for bringing the Mogan man to the Lowcountry to fish each year. To view my feature article in the Charleston Mercury click here.

PhotoByChampSmith: Addictive Fishing and Lowcountry Outdoors team up on a redfish!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dove season opener in S.C.

Maybe the most anticipated opening day among hunters in South Carolina, September 4 saw droves of dove hunters surrounding grain fields in order to shoot their way to a legal limit of 15 doves. The usual scorching hot weather that accompanies opening day activities was somewhat stifled by a cool breeze and a break in the weather forecast. Do gun barrels still get hot when shot 50 times or more? You bet they do! All hunts for the first three days in S.C. are afternoon hunts according to migratory bird laws, but beginning Sept. 7 dove hunts can be conducted any time of day during legal shooting hours. Fortunate to attend an opening day hunt in Richland County with Capt. Todd Stamps at Longbeard Farms, I can report seeing plentiful numbers of doves, and for those that drew a bead on the grey game birds - a limit was certainly there for the taking. Sportsman Robin Stamps shot his 20-gauge over and under shotgun from his position under a powerline in the main field, and did not stray too far from the Mojo Dove that Patrick Stamps deployed. Ten youths were also in the field this day with their mentors and young Taylor Ray told me that he killed three birds and that he 'crippled' two more while hunting with his father Mitch.

To view past blog entries on the opening day of dove season click here.
To view past blog entries on dove hunting click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Robin Stamps stands along the treeline looking for doves; Brothers Mike and Robin Stamps with some opening day doves; two doves that fell after a 'double' by Jeff Dennis; Father and son Mike and Todd Stamps with Sandy the 11-year old yellow lab

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nice sheepshead pic

The founder of LowcountryOutdoors with a nice sheepie!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Big Velvet Buck in Bowman / 2010 Opening Days Success Story

When high school senior William Kirkland of St. Matthews kicked off the school year with a hectic football practice schedule that left only a small amount of time for the start of deer season, he made the most of his opportunity by taking down a 224-pound Bowman buck.
“I chose this club stand because no one on the hunt club had utilized it,” Kirkland said. “I literally put some camo on it the day before this hunt. That’s when I saw a lot of fresh deer tracks, but I’d have to say I’m one of those people that likes to hunt where no one else has hunted.”
The mainframe 9-point with a 22-inch spread, came into a peanut field with a group of bachelor bucks, and Kirkland managed to place the crosshairs of his foggy Redfield scope on the shoulder and make a clean kill.
Kirkland attends Calhoun Academy in St. Matthews, and hunts on his family’s membership in a Bowman hunt club.
The 18-year old hunter had never had a buck mounted before, but now he has a record-book-class deer for his family’s den wall.
Father Danny Kirkland had just returned two weeks earlier from working for two years in Iraq as a private contractor training Iraqi police. Mother Hydie Kirkland had hunted a good bit in 2009 so her husband could live vicariously through her reports – like when she shot her first 8-point buck on her own.
“My father is how I got into hunting back when I was 8 years old, and I’m glad he was back here when I shot this monster,” the younger Kirkland said.
Danny Kirkland was not far away at all and in a different club deer stand Sunday evening (Aug. 22) when William hunted overlooking a peanut field.
“I climbed up my treestand at 6:15, and about 7 p.m. storm clouds appeared and the bottom fell out,” William Kirkland said. “I texted my father to ask if he wanted to leave, but he replied to sit tight. He had shot a nice 7-point in the rain just a week earlier, and maybe he knew something I didn’t.
“I was wearing Dad’s old camo shirt for good luck.”
Kirkland had only seen only one small doe when the rain switched off at 8 p.m. and five minutes later the young hunter heard a noise to his right, looked down and saw four nice bucks not 20 yards from his stand and already one row into the peanuts.
Kirkland lifted his Remington .270 off his lap and accidentally pinged the metal stand.
“All four bucks looked right at me at that point, and I just froze until they all out put their heads back down to eat,” he said. “The wind was swirling and the bucks continued into about the fifth row of the field when I made my shot at about 8:20.”
The ballistic-tip bullet found its mark, and the full-velvet buck was downed, but the other three bucks hardly even moved.
Kirkland called his father, with the bucks in the field, to tell him about the kill, and was told meet his father at the Rhino four-wheeler before going into the field.
“When we got to the buck I had no idea how big he was – just HUGE,” William Kirkland said. “He was with two nice 8-pointers and a 6-point, and I couldn’t tell how big he was.
“Then we had to go back to camp to get two more fellas just to load him up in the Rhino.”
The deer green-scored 141 5/8 inches on the Boone & Crockett Club scale, and aged at about 4 ½ years old.
John Mellis of Bowman's Great Outdoors Taxidermy said looking at the deer’s antlers was deceptive.
“The longest tine was actually an 8-inch brow tine, but it was the circumference measurements that make his score strong,” Mellis said. “This buck is special because it has great mass.”
To view past blog entries about harvesting bucks in velvet click here.
PhotoByJohnMellis: William and Danny Kirkland celebrate a father and son hunting moment