|Shooting sporting clays in the rain in early 2013.|
Looking back on the highlights in the outdoor realm during 2013 it is impossible to notice the tally of rainfall amounts. Even SCDNR declared that the drought was over. The Lowcountry was in dire need of a wet year, and the first nine months of 2013 offered a pretty fair glimpse into what should be normal rainfall for every year. However, the rain tapered off shortly the final three months and once again thoughts of prolonged drought dominate the minds of farmers and wildlife managers.
Generations of Colletonians talk about how harsh cold and wet weather were always part of the winter cycle. With more than a few dry winters over the past ten years, we are learning there is a new normal. Couple that with the ‘whiplash weather’ that takes our mercury from the freezing point up into the 70’s and then back down, causing both critters and hunters to scratch their heads about how to proceed.
A little rain will never deter an outdoorsman from his pursuits, but the amount of rain seen in 2013 will slow them down. Specifically, dirt roads become muddy and impassible and farm tractors cannot get into the fields either to plant or to harvest their crops. The relation between food and wild game will never change, and that equation states that if you provide food then the game will utilize it. By the way, it’s the same with water availability during a dry year, but mother nature provided the wet stuff in 2013.
The 2014 outdoors calendar begins with the 49th annual UKC Grand American Coon Hunt in Orangeburg on January 2 – 4. There are two nights of hunting and one bench show set at the Orangeburg Fairgrounds, which is also home to a large array of outdoor vendors. A celebrity in the outdoors world will return to Charleston when Jack Hanna appears at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo the weekend of February 15. The 32nd annual SEWE festival runs for three days and always attracts a crowd of wildlife enthusiasts.