Monday, December 27, 2010

Change of pace for outdoor fun

Abbeville Squirrel with blond tail - Photo by L. Ross

Fleeing squirrel and handgun kill photos by L. Ross

Now that big game season is drawing to a close, it is a good time to concentrate on small game. For a real challenge, try hunting with a high velocity pellet rifle or a handgun for squirrels.

Some of the new pellet guns are super efficient, especially using PBA ammo. This ammo is lighter in weight and doesn't deform as lead does. You may have seen promotions on TV showing hogs up to 180 pounds being taken with head shots by pellet guns.

Scope-sighted pellet rifles are good for 30-40 yard shots and head shots are not difficult. One advantage of hunting with these guns is the quiet report. You can shoot a squirrel and remain quiet and soon they will be moving again.

Another option is to spot and stalk. After a shot, a short move will have you approaching another squirrel that has not been alerted to danger.

Great fun can be had with .22 caliber handguns hunting squirrels. This provides more of a challenge, but is great practice to improve your handgun skills.

Don't mope around the house when deer season ends. Hit the woods with pellet rifle or handgun from some great action. Squirrels are abundant and the small target will be a challenge to your skill.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hunting Geese in S.C.

The reports of migratory waterfowl are going strong this year, including two fabulous goose harvests over the weekend. First off the Wrecking Crew guide service in Rock Hill got in a good 'whack and stack' hunt when 100 Canadian geese worked their deadly decoy spread. Then a couple of experienced duck callers in Elloree saw these snow geese working an ag field and use throat vocalizations to draw them near enough to harvest! Keep FoothillsOutdoors in mind for waterfowl harvest reports and keep a check of the waterfowl forum on here.

PhotosSubmitted: Canada geese stacked like cord wood in the foothills, a pair of snow geese in the midlands

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

YMCA Conference at Camp Greenville

The Greenville YMCA will be holding the annual PEAK (Preparing Educators for Adventures with Kids) at Camp Greenville. It is a great opportunity for educators, camp directors and mentors of youth to participate in sessions dealing with subjects that will broaden their horizons in subjects of interest to that age group.

Last year's keynote speaker was Rudy Mancke, former host of Naturescene on ETV. This year's list of speakers and presenters will cover a range of interests and offer topics that will help to prepare attendees for the challenges of working with young people.

L. Woodrow Ross had primitive craft exhibits at last year's conference, bt will be a presenter this year. He will offer a pre-conference session on Feb. 10. This will be an extended session and will offer hands-on activities for participants in primitive crafts from how-to sessions on making bows, arrows, natural fiber cordage, atlatls, fire-starting, flint knapping and more.

On Feb. 11 and 12, Ross will be leading sessions on "Introduction to Primitive Crafts" and "Writing for Publication".

In addition to the sessions, a new booklet entitled "The Outdoor Life and Primitive Crafts" will be available, along with previously published books and booklets on various outdoor topics.
Photos above by L. Ross show arrow and stone points knapped by Ross, bow drill starting fire, illustration of cordage making and a knife by Ross with stone blade and Osage Orange handle.

Rimini duck hunt in 18-degree weather

The state democratic caucus annual duck hunt was held a the South Carolina Waterfowl Association facilities in Rimini. The state legislators shared the camaraderie of the duck blind the morning after their planning meetings for the 2011 General Assembly. With unusually cold December weather already in S.C., some unusually good duck hunting has been on tap this year. Waterfowlers always yearn for cold weather up north to bring some migratory ducks down to South Carolina, and temperatures in the teens may be even more than most folks wish for, since it freezes up a lot of the duck hunting ponds in the area. For a detailed report on what was in the bag on Tuesday 12/14 visit the waterfowling forum on here. How cold was it? Hunter Tony Wielicki coined a new phrase yesterday - a 'bloodsickle' is when you pick up your harvested duck and the blood coming out freezes in an icicle formation. Strange but true!

PhotoByJeffDennis: SC House Minority Leader Rep. Harry Ott, Phil Bailey, Rep. Ted Vick (Chief of the SC House Wildlife committee), Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Matt Nichols; SCWA's wetland wildlife center sign welcomes hunters; Rep. Ted Vick and Jeff (in True Timber camo) are dressed for the extreme cold weather and managed to take their limits in wood ducks; Tony Wielicki and his dog Moon with his black duck and woodies

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

QDMA founder up for Bud conservation award

Did you know that the Quality Deer Management Association was formed right here in South Carolina? Joe Hamilton of Walterboro started the very first QDMA chapter in the Lowcountry, and it has now become an international entity. To read more about Hamilton and to use the Bud link to vote before Dec. 17 visit here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Carolina Bay Duck Hunting

Andy Stevenson and his son, Mac, have experienced a successful beginning to the 2010/11 waterfowl season. The photos, courtesy of Andy, show a good mixed bag on a couple of hunts and one photo shows Mac with a nice black duck that he killed.
Black ducks are some of the wariest of puddle ducks and the populations are not huge, so it is an accomplishment to add one to the bag.
The Stevensons hunt on a unique property. The family farm is the location for a Carolina Bay. These are interesting natural occurences thought to have been created thousands of years ago by asteroids. They are usually eliptical in shape and the depressions usually contain water and some plant types that are not found anywhere else on the planet.
Andy says they they refer to it as the "Three Holes Bay" and it offers some excellent duck hunting. Judging by the photos, I'd say he is correct!
Reports around the state seem to indicate that the waterfowl numbers are good and hunters are experiencing a good success rate.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oconee hunter take nice 10 point buck

Photo provided by Ken Lundin

Three times was the ticket for success for Ken Lundin in Oconee county on a November 23rd hunt. Lundin has seen the buck two times before and even shot and had a clean miss the second time.
On opening day of gun season, Lundin was hunting in a favorite hollow. The buck appeared below his position and winded him and quickly disappeared. The second sighting was in the same area, but Lundin was hunting farther down the hollow and the deer came out above him and stopped between two trees. He shot and missed cleanly and the buck disappeared again.
On November 23rd, Lundin moved to the position where he had last sighted the deer. He hunting from the ground on this occasion. He heard snorting and grunting and soon a doe appeared with the buck trailing about 20 yards behind her. He stopped broadside at about 50 yards and Lundin dropped him with one shot from his .30-.30 with a 150 grain slug.
It looks like the third time was a charm and he took a trophy that would make any hunter proud.

Successful Events for Upstate Mobility Impaired Hunters

Photo: L. Ross

Two special hunts were held at 45 private tracts of land in the upstate this deer season. A total of 138 hunters participated and 55 deer were harvested. No application fees or other costs were involved for the hunters.

The two hunts (two days each) were scheduled in October and November. They were the result of cooperative efforts of private landowners, timber companies, sportmen's preserves, hunt clubs and SCDNR.

On these hunts, requirements are that participants must have severe and permanent mobility impairments. Each participant may bring a non-hunting person to assist them. All hunting is from ground blinds.

All participants were also invited to a barbeque lunch at either Tyger Ranch in Union County or Quaker Creek Farm in Laurens County for a time of fun and fellowship. Overnight accomodations were available at some of the hunt sites.

In addition to the other sponsors, the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund and Wounded Warrior Project were involved in supporting this project.

These events provided a unique opportunity for a very deserving group of individuals.

November WMA duck harvest report

It looks like the waterfowl hunting in S.C. during November of 2010 was far better than say the last four or five years. With drought conditions nearing, it's hard to predict why this year the ducks think our habitat is looking good. Possibly it's because nature revolves in cycles and the replenishing rains of last winter have made a difference in the quality of our forage this year - just a thought for readers to consider. For a full report of the tally number on click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Scenes from past Bear Island WMA draw hunts

Friday, December 3, 2010

Savannah River Site 12/1 Hunt Report

The "Deer Control Activity" draw hunt at the SRS near Aiken, S.C. is likely the largest driven deer hunt in the Southeast. With roughly the same amount of acreage as the Francis Marion National Forest, the Department of Energy has consistently held about 10 hunts a year for the past few decades in order to control the deer population. Safety is the hallmark of the SRS hunt with more than 50 standers and 50 dog drivers in the woods, each hunt begins with a thorough safety meeting that drives home what is expected from everyone. Lowcountry Outdoors first visited the SRS for this hunt in 1998 and found it to be well attended by like-minded hunters from other states like Georgia, North Carolina - and even Alabama, Louisiana and beyond. While not for everyone, the SRS draw hunt has stood the test of time as a worthy endeavor and a well-run program. To see more pics on click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: William McClure of Mooresville, N.C. with his 237-pound hog; Kym Gainey with one of the fine bucks harvested at the SRS; A hunter admires his harvest; Two S.C. men drag their buck to their truck