Thursday, September 29, 2011

Marsh Hen early season report

Capt. Todd Stamps in the Hell's Bay marsh hen stalker
Angus MacBride of SCDNR checks marsh hen hunters
Rob Bohnstengel, Clark Hinson and Ann Bohnstengel
Marsh hens on driftwood
The last week of September is the traditional early season for marsh hen hunting since it coincides with the flood tides best known as 'tailing tides' for redfish. With a liberal bag limit of 15 King or Sora rails per person per day, and no requirement in place for the use of steel shot, there are literally thousands of acres of marsh available for wingshooters. Shallow-draft john boats and flats fishing boats work well for probing around in the flooded grass for hidden marsh hens, but hunters are also allowed to get out of the boat and wade towards their quarry too. Marsh hen hunting is a wonderful Lowcountry tradition and the SCDNR law enforcement team actively monitors the hunting pressure out in the marsh, and thanks go to 1st Sergeant Angus MacBride for taking your humble blogger along on a marsh hen patrol that stretched from Sullivan's Island up to Bulls' Bay. SCDNR wants to know that the boats in use are properly registered, and that everyone who is shooting a gun has a hunting license, and that the shotgun is plugged to allow only three shells. Fisherman on the flats looking for redfish also warranted a quick check, as did a commercial crabber we encountered. The following day it was my turn to swing a shotgun at the scattering marsh hens with Capt. Todd Stamps. We poled the Hell's Bay skiff along hummocks in the marsh at flood tide and found ample numbers of marsh hens to target. Glorious weather gave us time to pause and appreciate our harvest and also to look for a redfish.

A limit of marsh hens from the ICW area

For a past blog entry about snipe hunting click here.


  1. I am so glad. I want to learn more of the good hunting down there. I know of some of the good fishing spots, but not on hunting!!

  2. I wish I had the time to get out and get a few. These are great when cooked slow in brown gravy. Yum.

  3. Ginger, a lot of the same good fishing spots are good for hunting too. It just depends on the tide!
    Angus, you just made me hungry with all that talk of brown gravy birds!

  4. Is it Legal to hunt Behind Sullivans Island?

  5. Great question! Anything south of the Ben Sawyer bridge is CLOSED to hunting and is deemed a part of the Charleston Harbor. Thus, anything north of the Ben Sawyer bridge is OPEN to hunting.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.