|Decoys at dawn on Jan. 26 at Bear Island WMA|
The SCDNR lottery system that determines who will hunt ducks on state-owned property is straining to keep up with demand. Many of the hunters gathered at Bear Island WMA on January 26 for a draw hunt reported waiting four years to be selected. It takes consecutive annual payments and applications to navigate the system, and the general hope is that one might have a good chance at shooting some ducks on their hunt. The climactic conditions this winter didn’t seem to favor duck migration to S.C. and the final hunt at Bear Island WMA reveals that migratory ducks are still not present heading into February.
|Paddling around looking for ducks, but finding none|
|Hunting partner Charles Waring back in the marsh|
Getting drawn for a public draw hunt is never a guarantee that their will be ducks to shoot, but after years of waterfowl harvest results by SCDNR, these hunts can provide a high percentage chance of success. Readers of the Colletonian can recall that your outdoor correspondent recorded great success at this same hunt place and time four years ago during my last draw hunt. It is humbling to report that this year both my hunt partner and myself were skunked at this hunt. The entire field of hunters at this hunt only harvested a few ducks, a tally that will hurt this season’s waterfowl harvest percentages.
After setting up our decoys, hiding the boat in the grass and setting up a duck blind we watched the dawn break. A huge cloud of blackbirds was first to appear on the sunlit horizon and together they made a wild and raucous sound as they flew by us. Large flocks of glossy ibis began cruising right over our location in the middle of the marsh, along with all manner of wading bird. Then shorebirds like snipe began zipping low to the ground and darting around with purpose. The only thing missing in this early morning tapestry of aerial display was the presence of ducks, and they never materialized.
To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.
To view past blog entries from Bear Island WMA click on 2014 Duck Hunt - 2012 Youth Waterfowl Hunt - 2012 Droptine Buck - 2010 Birdwatching - 2009 Duck Hunt - 2009 Birdwatching