Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10-point buck on SCDNR draw hunt

Paul Tyler and his trophy 10-point; his first ever deer harvest!
Hunt Camp and Rifle Range facilities 
It is SPOOKY how well this story demonstrates that SCDNR public lands management is working, and how finding a trophy buck at a public hunting area can help to make any fortunate hunter into a life long advocate for the outdoors. Upstate hunter Paul Tyler had been hunting for several years but had never been able to harvest a deer. Taking a chance on a public draw hunt at Palachucola WMA, where he had never visited before, it was a matter of fate that allowed him to secure his first ever deer on the first evening hunt. At 5:30 Tyler's first ever deer was on the ground, and oh my, it's a 10-point buck stud! On Oct. 25 hunters expect for bucks to be on the move and in rut, but this buck appeared to be alone, and it's worth noting that 20 other hunters on the same hunt session did not manage to harvest a deer during this same evening hunt. Other hunters did find success during two more days of hunting though, harvesting three bucks and three does. Now, Paul Tyler is all jacked up about the remainder of deer season, and has taken his 10-pointer to a trusted taxidermist to put his buck of a lifetime on the wall. Hunting public land on a draw hunt is no guaruntee of success, but it can still happen, and when all the right circumstances come together it can make for a very special hunt memory for all involved.

To view my feature story on this 10-point buck click Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about big bucks click here.

Recent signs of timber thinning for wildlife habitat

Doe harvested on 10/24

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lowcountry Fishing Report - 10/30/12

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Jim Goller with a Beaufort bull redfish
Charleston Inshore: Scott at Haddrell's Point West declares that It's grubbin'time! Yep, that means that the speckled trout bite has kicked into full swing and they are shredding the soft plastics right now! The old stand by of trolling for trout is producing solid numbers of fish in the 13 to 18-inch range. Most of these fish come from water depths of 3 to 6-feet near submerged shell banks. Remember the spots where trolling produced some strikes, and ease back in there to cast some Smokey Shad Z-man Paddlerz to lure other specks to bite that are 'staging.' Chatterbaits and D.O.A. shrimp are also performing well on the trout. Redfish are still chewing, though this dose of cold weather may slow them up a bit. Look for them around docks at low water using live minnows, shrimp, and Gulp jerkshads for solid results. The sheepshead bite has been picking up with the cooler water temps using fiddlers and shrimp around bridge pilings and rock piles. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Colt Harrison at The Charleston Angler in West Ashley begins by sharing that water temps are hovering near 70-degrees. The hottest topic during this cool weather is the trout bite, with the best catches of the year being reported both in size and total numbers of fish. Early morning topwater action has been hot, and redfish can join in the fun too. Switch to unweighted jerkshads and suspending mirrolures later in the morning - or the old standby D.O.A. shrimp under a popping cork. Find the trout along main river mouths where the water is moving. When the water movement hits a lull, look for a redfish hanging on the deeper edges and shadowing schools of mullet. Fly anglers can use toad flies, which mimic crabs, to target these low-water redfish. When the water levels rise, the redfish add shrimp to their diet. Colt says to use diving sea gulls to helps locate them, and then cast under them looking for a slot red. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at The Charleston Angler.

Hilton Head Inshore: Josh Boyles at Southern Drawl Outfitters reports that the bull reds have begun to push offshore. He expects a few to be found inshore through the New Year, but then anglers will have to search for them at reefs and ledges. Look for diving loons and gannets as a great way to identify that areas that the bull redfish are using. Smaller slot redfish will stay inshore and settle into their winter patterns. With bait less abundant, and waters becoming more and more clear, then sight-casting opportunities begin to increase for anglers. The trout bite is strong and using a shrimp under a popping cork remains the most popular method. Anglers who opt to fish soft plastics can cover more ground though, and D.O.A.'s, Bass Assassins and Gulps are working as good as live bait. Don't overlook topwater baits either, since Josh relates that some of his largest trout ever hit a topwater target! At the nearshore reefs, if you can keep your bait away from the 'endangered seabass' then you should be able to produce impressive numbers of sheepshead. For the more information visit the Internet at Southern Drawl Outfitters.

Offshore Report: Josh relays that the few reports he is hearing involve a mixed bag of fish and not many numbers of fish. One or two dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna for trollers, and one or two Beeliners, triggers,  and spades for bottom droppers.

No one is sneaking out into the 'big pond' right now with late-season surprise Hurricane Sandy in the mix. One week ago Scott had reports of a decent wahoo bite, and blackfin tuna, at both the Georgetown Hole and the Southwest Banks. It's not out of the question to come across a school of mahi either, with two boats picking up a dolphin fish each. The sailfish bite has not been wide open like we have been waiting for, but 1 to 5 shots a day for sailfish has been the average thus far.

To view past fishing reports for the coastal Lowcountry click here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Polo for the Point

Polo player leans out for a solid strike
Good eats are on hand each year at Polo for the Point
With Hurricane Sandy passing by the coast of South Carolina, it was a sunny and breezy day for several chukars of polo. The annual Polo for the Point matches benefit the Colleton Center, and are hosted at the Limehouse polo field in Colleton County. Attendees from Charleston, Aiken, Walterboro and other Lowcountry locales come to support these equestrian pursuits, which of course can be traced back in time to the sport of kings across the big pond. Before play commenced, with color commentary provided by Buck Limehouse, there was a fox hunting demonstration by the Lowcountry Hunt group. Then a junior squad of polo players used a shortened field to hold an exhibition match, where the pace of play was a bit slower, but where polo etiquette was executed perfectly. In the feature matches it was the Hall's Chophouse team vs. Limehouse Properties team with polo pros like Brien Limehouse racing up and down the field making artful sweeps with their mallets and scoring lots and lots of goals. Meanwhile patrons feasted on chicken bog, stilton cheese, barbecue shrimp and Colleton officials judged culinary displays in each tent to determine who was the top chef.
Fox hunters inside the polo field goal posts

Colletonian newspaper tailgate group
For past blog entries about Polo for the Point click here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DUDE e-zine / Ducks and wetland management

Fall 2012 cover shot
Looking at the issue of impoundment management regarding attracting ducks, and other birds, did you know that Army DUDES have regulatory jurisdiction over these type areas? This feature article in the fall 2012 edition of DUDE magazine takes a look at that issue, and explains how in 2012 the Army Corps came to a compromise of sorts in 2012. Working with private landowners and other stakeholder groups, they issued a new 'General Permit' to lessen red tape when it comes to DUDES who practice impoundment management. That's SWEET - DUDE!

To view the Fall 2012 edition of DUDE click here.

Let's get ready to hunt some ducks DUDE!
To view past blog entries about DUDE magazine click here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Deer hunt tips in Georgia's Goin' South

Georgia's coastal hunting magazine
Coastal Georgia has so much to offer an outdoorsman, very much like the Lowcountry. Whether it be saltwater fishing or big game hunting - the menu of options is equal to a buffet of pursuits. With the peak of the rut along our coastal areas, I wanted to share these articles from the Fall 2012 magazine for the deer hunting enthusiasts who might appreciate them while in preparation to Go South and do some hunting!

To view past blog entries from Goin' South click here.

QDMA's Joe Hamilton
Fishing Reports Ad!

Blake Hodge lays out a nice buck!
Eddie Salter and I talk deer tactics!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shrimp baiting in All At Sea

Graham Able casts his net
Check out the November issue of All At Sea magazine to read about how one Mount Pleasant local handles the recreational shrimp-baiting season that runs for two months each fall. Thanks to Graham Able from Haddrell's Point for running through everything from set up, his specific gear and he even how he likes to eat the fresh shrimp that he catches.

To read my feature article click on All At Sea.

Lynn Able cooks 'em up
November cover

Bigger net for deep drop technique
To view past blog entries about shrimp-baiting season click here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 Colleton Historical Society Plantation Tour

Paul and Dalton overlooks the Combahee River
The anual plantation tour in Colleton County took place on Oct. 21 under clear blue skies and moderate temperatures, perfect for walking the grounds at historical stops. While the main homes are not open to foot traffic, most of the outbuildings and grounds are open during such a tour. Wildlife such as wild turkey, bald eagles, wood stork, ducks and much more are easily visible when visiting these rural areas that stress conservation and preservation.

Cheehaw Combahee marshy vista

To view my feature article on the 2012 plantation tour click here.

To view a past blog entry about the Colleton plantation tour click here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Audubon's Aviary book review

Chuck Will's Widow by Audubon
New book on Audubon's work
The most comprehensive look at the watercolor depictions of birds by John James Audubon, comes in the form of the new coffee table book Audubon's Aviary. Published by the New York Historical Society, the book is a partnership with the Oppenheimer Gallery of Chicago, since they went to N.Y to produce high-quality digital scans of the original Audubon plates. These images make up the heart of the new book, but full-size digital scan prints can now be purchased at the Audubon Gallery in Charleston located on King Street. This local gallery is under the direction of Burton Moore, and he has  duck decoys, rare books and much more for sale. Original Audubon prints adorn the wall of this gallery, and Moore is ready to discuss Audubon's artwork at all times.

Bird watercolor by another artist for comparison

Great horned owls by Audubon
To view my book review click on Charleston Mercury.

To see my latest Birding Journal observations click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wine, Wheels and Wildlife benefits CSF

Jeff Foxworthy entertains at Wine, Wheels and Wildlife
Event host Richard Childress
The annual gathering at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, N.C. to support the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation was held October 17 under crystal clear blue skies. The sparkling weather was complimented by the 300 participants who came to dine together while enjoying local wine, and to enjoy bidding on a top flight live auction. The outdoor industry helped to sponsor the event with Beretta, Zeiss, Bass Pro, and Remington joining conservation leaders from groups like SCI, CCA, the Mule Deer Foundation and more. Corporate leaders from Shell, Caterpillar, Daimler and the National Shooting Sports Foundation were in attendance. After an afternoon of activities that included touring of the vineyards, shooting skeet, animal demonstrations and more, CSF President Jeff Crane welcomed everyone under the big tent for dinner. After dinner host Richard Childress welcomed his fellow Sportsman For Romney teammate, Jeff Foxworthy to the stage. No one and no issue was safe from the comedic probing of Foxworthy, who is an avid sportsman and an advocate for conservation. He took time to jab fun at how some of the more powerful men in the room 'might be a redneck if' they agreed with some of his jokes! After a 30-minute monologue by Foxworthy left the audience in stitches, the CSF live auction launched with a Richard Childress Racing VIP weekend at the May 2013 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The auction zoomed to the finish line in record fundraising fashion. Childress added, "America's hunters and anglers are NASCAR fans. When they are not watching or attending a race, they are outdoors. It gives me great pleasure to combine three of my favorite passions to champion a worthy cause."
Jeff Dennis, Jeff Angers, Pat Murray and Bruce Culpepper

NASCAR fans love the outdoors too
To view past blog entries about the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation click here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

2012 McGladrey Classic won by S.C. golfer

S.C. native Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey wins 2012 McGladrey
D.J. Trahan prepares to hit on No. 12
The third year for the PGA tournament at Sea Island gave patrons another chance to see PGA pros teeing it up in a coastal Lowcountry setting. With beautiful fall weather settling in over the wekend, it was Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey who shot the low round on Sunday. It was a 10-under par score of 60, setting a new course record in the process, to lay claim the 2012 McGladrey Classic title. Gainey is a native of South Carolina and he out-dueled fellow Sandlapper D.J. Trahan and tourney host Davis Love III for the top spot. New for 2012, this is now the first event in the FedEx Cup standings, so Gainey is now in the points lead and in the hunt for the season ending $10 million bonus in 2013 if he can maintain his position. The McGaldrey Classic is Gainey's first ever PGA Tour win - Congrats!

To view my preview story about the 2012 McGladrey Classic click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about the McGladrey Classic click here.
Camillo Villegas approaches the 18th green

The Oak Allee at Sea Island in the morning sun
To view past blog entries about the 2012 Ryder Cup and PGA Championship click here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Turkey Hill Sporting Clays - Hilton Head DU

DU of HHI at Turkey Hill Plantation
The weather on Saturday Oct 20 was great for joining fellow waterfowl enthusiasts for a round of sporting clays. The Hilton Head Island / Bluffton Chapter of Ducks Unlimited gathered at Turkey Hill Plantation in Jasper County for an afternoon of food and fellowship. If other gunners were like your humble shooting enthusiast, then the rust really showed on the the first station, but the aim and timing got noticeably better by station number ten. As always, the rabbit station was a fan favorite and the grain silo station was quite unique! The HHI chapter of DU is building up to their annual banquet on Nov. 10 - so be sure to put that date on the calendar.

Shooting Instruction available at each station

Two DUDES who shoot sporting clays

DU Pres. Larry Muething draws a winner
To view a past blog entry from the HHI DU banquet in 2011 click here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two S.C. House members who care about conservation

Rep. Laurie Funderburk
Rep. Robert Brown
A recent assignment found me chatting with old friend Rep. Laurie Funderburk and new friend Rep. Robert Brown about conservation in the Palmetto state. Brown is a native of Hollywood, and has absorbed a lifetime of input from our natural surroundings - like many of us. Funderburk represents rural Kershaw County and works in Camden, but she is familiar to anyone in sporting circles. For example, I first met Funderburke at a sporting clays shoot at The Hermitage in Nov. of 2008, and we became fast friends, sharing a passion for the outdoors. She is now in line to become the President of the House sportsmen's caucus in 2013, continuing her longstanding commitment to hunting and fishing, with a special emphasis on outdoor education for youths. Representative Brown shares that he prefers a controlled growth plan for the Lowcountry area, and appreciates developers that are willing to share their plans in advance with the public in an attempt to provide transparency.

To read my feature article with these two Representatives click Charleston Mercury.

To view past blog entries about Funderburk and the S.C. Sportmen's caucus click here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Colleton County yields 12-point in rut

Jason Finley and his monster 12-point buck
James Island resident Jason Finley had been dog driving all day on Saturday, October 6. For a change of pace he and a hunting buddy decided to still hunt that afternoon, and as if it were a matter of fate, Finley harvested the biggest buck of his lifetime after 15 minutes of hunting time! Finley has deer hunted all his life and he knew how to deal with the intangibles such as rutting activity and heavy cover. When he first saw the big buck it was chasing another smaller buck, and thus offered him no shot. When the big buck came back to tend a doe, he was in such thick cover that Finley only had a neck or head shot. Calmly placing the cross hairs of his scope onto the buck's neck - Finley dropped him in his tracks and the celebration is likely still ongoing. What a beautiful Colleton County buck!

To read my feature story about this beautiful 12-point buck click on Colletonian.

Trail Cam of same buck from Sept. 2011

What a buck!! From Colleton County!!
To view past blog entries about quality buck harvests click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cedar Knoll Hunting Lodge checks in 10-point buck

Jon Martin with his Cedar Knoll 10-pointer
Photo By Jeff Hunt
The rut is on at Cedar Knoll, and guide Jeff Hunt is putting out hunters just as fast as he can for morning and afternoon hunts. One of their best repeat customers harvested a fine 10-pointer on October 8, and he had to pass up another buck during that hunt! Located about halfway between Allendale and Estill, these Savannah River woodlands are home to a high number of deer. Which is part of the reason that antler restrictions are not in effect on this property. They have managed their herd the same way since the 1980's and plenty of trophy bucks are being grown and harvested.

To read my feature story on Cedar Knoll click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about quality buck harvests click here.

Hogs are also on the menu at Cedar Knoll

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lowcountry Fishing Report - 10/17/2012

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
BIG Spanish mackerel caught on Oct. 7 off Folly Pier
Charleston Inshore : Colt Harrison at the West Ashley location of Charleston Angler reports that water temps have dropped again, into the middle 70's. Daylight hours are waning and the fish are getting into a fall season state of mind. Redfish are the story in October! Find them in grass flats on high tides, mud flats on low tides, grass edges, oyster mounds, in the surf zone and even around the Folly Pier. Colt relays that he sees the redfish feeding in various ways including 'sipping shrimp' on low water, bulldozing through schools of mullet at mid-tide or tailing for fiddler crabs at high tide. The huge tides of Fall should sweep bait out of the backwaters and into the estuary, creating a feast for the inshore fishes. Trout and flounder have been easy pickings on soft plastics and live finger mullet. Recreational shrimpers are reporting a painfully slow season thus far, and have one month left to cast their nets. In the nearshore fishery, bull redfish are causing quite a stir with the action almost non-stop at times. Along the beach anglers are finding spanish mackerel, bluefish and false albacore that are shadowing glass minnows. Use Diamond jogs, Hopkins spoons and Gotcha plugs on this assortment of feisty fish. Weakfish are showing up and can be found on artificial reefs along with sheepshead and flounder. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at The Charleston Angler.

Scott at Haddrell's Point West shares that it is time to walk the dog! Especially early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Why? Because the topwater bite is wide open for trout, reds, and bluefish that provide explosive action for anglers. The Heddon Super Spook Jr. or Bomber Ba-Dank-A-Donk are both can't fail options. Later in the day, the trout are being found while trolling along grass banks with soft plastics. (Some things never change, since this is exactly how your humble fish reporter was instructed to fish for trout while being born and raised 'along grass banks' and such.) Large bull redfish are being found at the jetties and in the surf with cut mullet the hands down bait of choice. The sheepshead bite is picking up as water temps drop, with plenty of fish in the 2 to 7-pound range gnashing their teeth around bridges and rock piles. Fishing the nearshore is easy when you find a calm day, with spanish mackerel and bluefish crushing silver casting jigs and #00 Clarkspoons. Just look for the birds working above the schools, and get in on this action before they migrate south for winter. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Josh Boyles at Southern Drawl Outfitters reports that the bull reds have gotten thick in the sounds. Also, the blackfin tuna and wahoo bites are strong. Don't forget that the Lowcountry Redfish Cup is fishing out of Hilton Head on October 20, with the Capt. Mtg. at Southern Drawl on Oct. 19 at 5:30.

Offshore Report: Scott says though it seems most offshore boats have remained docked lately, the few that are fishing are catching wahoo in 140 to 300-feet of water, as well as decent numbers of blackfin tuna. Bottom fishing has been producing plenty of triggerfish and vermillion snapper in water depths from 75 to 150-feet using squid or jigging.

Colt shares that a few billfish are still in the bluewater, including sailfish and perhaps a stragler blue marlin. Dolphin and blackfin tuna are eating blue / white or pink / white lures from Blue Water Candy, rigged with a ballyhoo. High-speed trolling for wahoo from ninety-feet of water on out to the ledge is producing some full-grown Hoos! Bottom fishing has been hot the past few weeks for triggers, scamps, gags, vermillion - and the extremely elusive red snapper is being found in plentiful numbers from twenty miles on out. Those fishing for swordfish have had an amazing run of success, which begs the question, who doesn't want to spend the night on the ocean in a thousand feet of water soaking a luminescent squid for a nocturnal swordfish?!!

To view past fishing reports for the coastal Lowcountry click here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 SCI Wounded Warrior Deer Hunt - Day Two

A happy Wounded Warrior and guide Capers Cauthen 
A Patriotic banner adorns the Nemours sign and gate
The morning hunt on October 16 saw a cool 50-degree morning produce good deer movement, but less opportunity for sporting shots on deer. A total of 12 deer on Day Two were added to the Day One total of 32 deer - making 2012 hunt one of the most successful to date. Hunters and volunteers dined on Elk burgers donated by Safari Club International and everyone enjoyed telling their hunting stories. What kind of stories? One fellow harvested a nice buck, but he shot at and hit a better buck that he was not able to recover. Another soldier was placed on a dike where a big buck was known to cross, but with water all around a kill shot would be necessary, and he delivered just that! Pretty much all of the usual scenarios played out in the deer stands of the Lowcountry for these Wounded Warriors to experience. Thanks to pre-planning, every hunter who wants to take home venison from this hunt will do so. Members of the SCI Lowcountry chapter hunt hard well before the event in order to have the venison processed and packaged beforehand. Hunt organizer Mark Peterson was pleased with the overall participation and success of this year's event, and Nemours Plantation is to be commended for once again hosting the gatherings in between hunt sessions. As the Wounded Warriors return to base we wish them safe assignments ahead in their military career, and extend our gratitude for their admirable service to America.
A crack shot by a Wounded Warrior stopped this fine buck

Jason Ellis, Mike McShane and Sgt. Major Gary Buck
To view past blog entires about the SCI Wounded Warrior hunt click here.

To read my feature article click on Colletonian.

To view a brief video click here.