Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Dream Realized

Seven-year-old Austin Scott and father Marty with Austin's Wyoming elk

Photo courtesy of Marty and Leigh Anne Scott

Outdoor Dream Foundation of Anderson, SC, has helped to make this an outstanding year for Austin Scott. He has caught striped bass, taken his first wild turkey, killed four whitetail deer, an alligator and trumped it all by taking a 5x5 bull elk in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Many of these adventures were made possible by the efforts of Brad Jones and the Outdoor Dream Foundation. Harold Jones, noted coach of T.L. Hanna High School, was founder and his son Brad is actively running the organization to help make the dreams of kids with life-threatening illnesses come true.

Austin is an eager, happy boy that is fulfilling many of his dreams of adventure. He started shooting a .22 rifle and developed his skills by shucking thousands of rounds through the firearm. He later graduated to a Thompson Center 7mm-o8 that was customized by Jarrett Rifles of South Carolina. With this rifle, he took his big elk at 130 yards. The guide said that he couldn't have made a better shot himself. The elk only traveled 20 yards before dropping.

One only has to talk with Leigh Anne and Marty to realize the pride they have in Austin and the gratitude that they have for the Outdoor Dream Foundation. Austin has battled leukemia and gone through chemotherapy and stem cell transplants and has been in remission for 3 years now.

We have been praying for Austin for several years and following his progress. It gives us great joy to see him healthy and enjoying life.

Merry Christmas to Austin, Leigh Anne and Marty Scott.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Goose

David Rogers and his son Patrick were duck hunting on an upstate river on Thanksgiving day. They didn't have any luck with ducks, but they did collect the Thanksgiving geese.

Patrick is an acquaintance from meeting on the water several times. He is a nice young fellow and an avid hunter of waterfowl, deer, hogs and turkeys.

David and I met once and have communicated by email several times.

Good job, guys.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great Days Afield

Noted outdoor writer Bennett Kirkpatrick at Black's Brier Shooting Preserve

Photos by L. Ross

Patrick Rogers with 275 pound hog

photo courtesy of Rogers

L. Ross with a couple of deer taken recently.

photo by Patrick Rogers

On a recent hunt, I met a Patrick Rogers at the landing where we were both launching boats to go deer hunting. Rogers is a friendly, well-mannered 25-year-old that reflects the attributes that we all wish to see in outdoor persons.

We went our separate ways and I filled one of my doe tags and also took a small buck. As I was shooting a couple of photos, Rogers came by and stopped to chat. He shot a couple more photos for me and since I was in a canoe and two deer was quite a load, he volunteered to haul one to the landing for me.

Rogers is an all-around outdoorsman, enjoying kayak fishing and hunting for waterfowl, turkeys, deer and hogs. Subsequent to our meeting, he was hunting at another upstate location and shot the big 275 pound hog pictured above with a shotgun and slug.

This is the kind of person that you enjoy meeting in the woods. Congratulations to him on the big hog!

Lowcountry Hunt

Recently, I attended the fall meeting of the South Carolina Outdoor Press Association. On Friday of that week, I had the good fortune to be able to hunt with Bennett Kirkpatrick. He has
written for sporting publications for decades and in addition to being an excellent writer, he is an all-around good guy.

Kirkpatrick was shooting an old Parker 12 guage that was a thing of beauty. It was smooth from hand wear, almost devoid of bluing and had a piece of tape around the grip. You could tell that it had seen many days afield.

Age has not diminished Kirkpatrick's ability to shoot quail. We took 25 birds on the hunt and were pretty equally divided with the successful shots. It was the first hunt of the season and the dogs soon tired, but made a valiant effort to give us a good hunt.

Our host was William Peagler and our guide was Allan Weiss. They made our hunt most pleasant and we had a great time.

It was a privilege to hunt with Kirkpatrick and I hope we have the opportunity again in the future.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Anderson youth take 8-point buck with bow

River Cathey proudly displays a nice 8-point buck taken with his bow - Photo courtesy of Daniel Cathey

Rivers Cathey is 13-years-old, but this is his third deer with a bow. He is becoming an accomplished archer and hunter and carrying on a family tradition. Daniel Cathey, Rivers father is an avid archery hunter and when he talks about Rivers, his pride is obvious.

It is great to see youth today that love the outdoors and take part in traditional pursuits such as hunting and fishing. They are the future of outdoor sports. If we don't encourage them, a way of life will be lost.

Daniel and Bob Cathey run a quality duck hunting operation near Lavonia, GA. It is Skeeter Branch Shooting Preserve and their hunts are top notch. They provide a great outdoor hunting experience.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail

Photos courtesy of Jackson County Tourism Board

Western NC Trout - Photo by L. Ross

Many sportsmen's minds have turned to hunting, but if you can work in a fly fishing trip, it is a great time to be on the streams.

Check out for details about special deals on lodging near some of the top streams. Check the topic "November Deals". In addition, check out the neat video "We Love Our Trout" which highlights some of the top streams. You may even recognize some of the faces in the video.

Many of the delayed harvest streams have been stocked and the water is cooling down, prompting the fish to be more active.

Hope to see you on the stream!

Huge black bear taken in upstate stillhunt

Dennis Chastain, Pickens outdoorsman and naturalist, recently harvested a huge black bear on a stillhunt in Pickens County. He was hunting with a friend on Horse Mountain unsuccessfully for three days. They made a move to Pinnacle Mountain near Table Rock on the fourth morning.

After reaching the desired elevation, they separated. Chastain went to a spot where three years earlier he had harvested a 400 pound bruin. There was scattered sign in the area and it didn't take long for the action to start.

At 7:15, a large bear appeared at 40 yards. Chastain immediately fired at the bear with little apparent effect. The bear started ambling away. He shot it twice more and shortly after the third shot, the bear collapsed. All three shots had struck vital areas, but it took moments for them to take affect.

When Chastain approached the bear, he saw that it was huge and called to recruit help to drag it out. It took four people over four hours to drag the bear to a spot where a four-wheeler could reach it. After a 15 minute drive, it was transferred to a tractor and taken to Holly Springs Grocery where it was weighed. The bear weighed 485 pounds and was the biggest reported in the week-long stillhunt in the mountain region.

Chastain has been a very successful bear hunter. He is a frequent contributor to South Carolina Wildlife magazine and other publications as well as being involved in environmental causes and is an expert on upstate petroglyphs by native Americans.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Coyote Effect

Self photos by L. Ross on Oct. 28th with big male coyote

After seeing several deer on opening day of bow season, I had not seen another deer in the same area on several hunts. I have seen a lot of hog sign there, which is a new development. In the past no hogs were in the area.

I was aware that coyotes were in the area, by on Thursday, Oct. 28, I hunted for a couple of hours from pre-dawn to mid-morning and saw a large male coyote approaching. I made a good shot and he dropped in his tracks. A smaller coyote was following him and vanished instantly.

The presence of coyotes in the area probably explains the absence of deer on recent hunts. I skinned the coyote and the hide is being tanned to use as a conversation piece for my primitive craft seminars.

Upper Greenville County is a special area to visit

Gene Cunningham on a trail in upper Greenville County - Photo by L. Ross

Upper Greenville County has some beautiful timbered areas. Deer numbers are not as great as other areas, but the size of the bucks is better. Turkey numbers are excellent. Much of the area is game management property and some of the heritage preserve property is bow hunting only.

Many of the areas were logged in the distant past, but today the huge stands of oaks, poplars and scattered hickories have recovered and there are some awesome spots to explore. Old logging roads wind through the hills and provide access, but even so the walking is very demanding. If you plan to visit, carry plenty of water and a high energy snack.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Upstate Outdoor Report

Photos of handgun kills by L. Ross

Dennis Hardwick, Greenville Gun Club official, killed his second buck with a handgun this season. Dennis enjoys hunting deer and hogs with his handguns which includes several Smith and Wesson revolvers and Thompson Center Contenders.

Hardwick handloads his own cartridges to his specifications and gets great satisfaction from taking deer with handguns and handloads. He is also uses a longbow and fashions his own arrows from Port Orford cedar.

The Midlands Striper Club held a tournament at Lake Murray on Oct. 15. Lester Jones took first place with his top three fish of his five fish limit (top three weight determines winner) weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces. Julie Griffin was second with three fish totalling 15 pounds, 12 ounces.

Upstate whitetail bucks are on the move. Chuck Mulkey of Chuck's Taxidermy and Deer Processing in Anderson reports an increase in morning activity. The best buck checked in there was 230 pounds and scored in the 150+ range.

Northwest Meat Center in Hodges reports 1,100 deer checked in so far this season. The best was an 11-point, 226 pound buck. In general, the bucks with big racks have not had great body weight. It appears that the dry summer and spotty mast has affected body weight.

SCDNR, in cooperation with Hunter Safety Systems, will have drawing at each Hunter Education class in Nov. and Dec. and one person in each class will receive a free tree stand safety harness.

A video on hunter tree stand safety is available on DNR's website at Additional tips are listed for hunters on the site.

South Carolina Ducks Unlimited reported in the latest newsletter (The Palmetto Call) that the license tag program has raised $275,000 in the last seven years. Funds have been allocated to the Mottled Duck Ecology Study in the ACE Basin, DNR's wood duck box program and the State Junior Duck Stamp program.

To purchase a South Carolina Ducks Unlimited license plate for your vehicle, contact your local DMV office.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Handguns and archery for deer

Deer and hog photos courtesy of Dennis Hardwick

Additional photo by L. Ross

Dennis Hardwick is a friend and official with the Greenville Gun Club and a man that enjoys doing things the hard way. The photos show him with a hog killed with a handgun and open sights in 2010 and a deer that was killed recently in Dillon, SC, with a handgun and open sights. The other photo is of Hardwick and some of his memorabilia.

Hardwick also enjoys fashioning Port Orford cedar arrows and hunting with his longbow and has been very successful at this pursuit. Despite a shoulder injury, he has recovered and is planning to hunt with his bow this season.

As of September 21, in the upstate area, Chuck Mulkey's Taxidermy and Deer Processing in Anderson, SC, reported that 30 deer had been checked in at the shop. Chuck said that evenings had been more successful than mornings. He had not taken a deer in South Carolina at that point, but had taken a doe in Kentucky.

Northwest Meat Center in Hodges, SC, reported that 37 deer had been checked in archery seasons at this time.

Yours truly had his chance, but ended up with two broadheads inbedded in tree trunks when shooting at a doe in a thickly wooded area. Better luck next time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Landowner Protection Act

North Carolina Rainbow Trout
Photo by L. Ross

Trout fishermen that fish in North Carolina should be aware of the newly passed Landowner Protection Act. It clarifies existing trespass laws for the purposes of hunting, fising and trapping to specify the requirements for written permission on posted land only. It is effective Oct. 1, 2011.

There are four key elements to the Act:
1. Defines the requirements for written permission to fish, hunt or trap on posted lands.
2. Allows landowners to post land using purple paint marks or by placing signs or posters, as currently allowed.
3. Allows Wildlife Officers to enforce trespass laws on site, instead of executing process issued by the courts.
4. Removes the exemption for Halifax and Warren counties that requires landowners to initiate prosecution for trespass on posted land.

The important thing is to avoid entering posted lands and be aware that signs may not be present, but only purple paint on trees at eye level.

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 Archery Season for Deer begins Sept. 15

Self-photos of L. Ross on a successful 2010 bowhunt and another more recent photo of him practicing with hand-made Osage Orange selfbow in preparation for bow season.

The upstate bow season in game zone 2 opens on September 15. It will be interesting to see how hunter success rates this season with the continued effect of coyote predation and competition for habitat with wild hogs.

Scouting this season has shown that the range of hogs is increasing in areas formerly void of hog populations. Greenville county now has hogs from the north to the south end of the county.

Animals are very adaptable in spite of difficult circumstances. I live in a suburban area and in the last couple of weeks have seen foxes and deer within a couple of hundred yards of home. In addition, we have seen coyotes nearby.

Due to the population reduction of the deer numbers, proposals by DNR for reduced limits and a tagging system for bucks appears to be on the horizon.

On another subject, the Jocassee Gorges roads will open on September 15 and will be open until until Jan. 15, 2012. They will re-open again from March 20 to May 10, 2012.

In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that 15 of its larger recreation areas will be open for deer hunting in areas near Hartwell Lake. Eleven of these are in South Carolina and four are in Georgia. Acreage in these recreation areas ranges from 19 acres to 410 acres.

Thirteen of these areas can be hunted without special permits, but the 125 acre South Carolina River area and the 410 acre Hartwell Dam Quarry area will require a special permit for hunting. Contact Park Ranger Jess Fleming at the Hartwell Lake Project Office for information and permits at 1-888-893-0678, ext. 335 or 706-856-0335.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Duke World of Energy hosts Annual Hunting and Fishing Event

Left photo: Boy enjoying fishing experience.
Right photo: Instructor at last years event showing youth correct way to shoot bow.
Photos by L. Ross

On Oct. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Duke World of Energy will host the Annual Hunting and Fishing Day. It will be held at Duke World of Energy, Oconee Nuclear Station, off Highway 130. Shuttle service will be available to the site from a parking lot near the area.

All events are free of charge and cover the gamut from fly casting fly tying, kayaking, retrieve demonstrations, lake fishing, archery, air rifle shooting and much more. It will be a fun-filled family oriented event.

Sponsors include Duke Energy, Upstate Forever, SCDNR, Clemson University, TU, CWF, Harry Hampton Wildlife Fund, The Weatherby Foundation and Calm Water Kayak.

Bring a picnic lunch or purchase food onsite from concessionaires.

This is a great opportunity for an event that the entire family can enjoy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Schiele Museum Aboriginal Studies Program

Steve Watts, Director of Aboriginal Studies Program at Schiele Museum, Gastonia, NC, is shown in photo on left knapping a projectile point from novaculite. Photo on right is Rocky Culbertson, knapper from Waxhaw, NC, with Watts and a couple of points they had just completed. All photos on page by L. Ross.

Left photo is Watts percussion knapping with an antler billet. Culbertson is in right photo also using antler billet.

Left photo is incomplete projectile point by Culbertson, center photo is completed novaculite point by Watts and the right photo shows Culbertson finishing a Buffalo River Chert point.

Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC, is a very interesting place. In addition to the other displays and programs, they have a great Aboriginal Studies Program directed by Steve Watts. They have displays of Indian culture with shelter, tools and other artifacts to depict the life that these primitives lived.

Every year, the first weekend in August, they are host to flintknappers from around the southeast and beyond. Anyone interested in flintknapping can come an learn from the masters.

I had an opportunity to observe and pick up some pointers from Watts and Culbertson last Sunday. I missed the Saturday gathering which was much larger. I regret missing James Parker, master flintknapper and bowyer. I have one of Parker's Bamboo Dragon longbows and took a deer with it and a handmade arrow last season. I also have an obsidian dagger that he made with an elk antler handle that is a thing of beauty.

In addition to the knappers, there is usually someone there who is a supplier of rock suitable for knapping. I was able to secure some for some projects and knapped about a half dozen points today from the new chert, novaculite and other stone that I purchased.

If you haven't been to Schiele Museum, it is a great place to learn about the past. Also, mark your calendar for the first weekend of August next year if you are a knapper.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

QDMA Foothills Branch Annual REACH Banquet

Photos and article above from South Carolina Sportsman by L. Woodrow Ross

Managing deer herds sometimes means removing does to increase forage for bucks and to keep numbers on your property at acceptable levels.

Quality Deer Management Association is an organization that promotes healthy deer management techniques and disperses knowledge to deer hunters.

Join QDMA Foothills Branch Annual REACH Banquet on August 18 at 6:00 p.m. at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 406 North Academy Street, Greenville, SC for an evening of Bluegrass music by the Drovers, barbecue by Mutt's of Greer, live and silent auctions of hunts, equipments and more.

Tickets at $45 for singles or $65 for couples include appetizers, BBQ buffet and one year's membership to QDMA. Corporate tables are available for $500 and include 10 seats, two memberships, recognition at event and entry into sponsors only raffle.

Tickets are available from any member, Luthi's Sporting Goods, or contact or call John Stillwell at 864-414-1879.

Come and join QDMA for an evening of entertainment and to support a great organization.

We hope you see more than these two images at the bottom of the screen this hunting season.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Eagles in South Carolina and other news

Flint knapping by L. Ross

On July 27, Lynne Fletcher, a legal secretary in Anderson, SC, was boating and happened to have a camera handy. She captured some neat photos of a bald eagle on Lake Hartwell, north of Andersonville Island. She had seen what she thought was an eagle previously, but did not have her camera handy.

Ms. Fletcher said that she has lived near the lake for a number of years and had seen eagles in the past, but not recently.

It is nice to see our national bird on local waters. I shot some photos between Murrell's Inlet and Georgetown this spring. It is always a treat to see these majestic birds.

Thanks to Ms. Fletcher for sharing these photos with us.

Additional outdoor news.

How about our three South Carolina professional bass anglers qualifying for the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. Casey Ashley, Davy Hite and Marty Robinson all qualified. Ashley qualified on Elite Series points totals and each of them won an Elite Series Tournament this season as well. Either would have qualified them. Marty Robinson squeaked into the Classic on his points total only by rallying at season's end with some good tournament.

Ashley and Hite also qualified for the $100,000 Evan Williams Bourban All-Star Championship. Twelve professional anglers qualified and fished the first leg of the tournament at Lake Jordan, Alabama. Only eight would make the finals on the Alabama River, and Casey Ashley placed first.

Davy Hite Kevin VanDam and two other anglers were eliminated.

Today was the first day of the sudden death event. Each angler was paired with an angler and will have to win to advance to the next day. This is an exciting format and it will be interesting to see who wins.

Day one results are in and the survivors are Casey Ashley, Edwin Evers, Ott Defoe (Rookie of the Year) and Gerald Swindle.

Ashley defeated Reese by 13 ounces with 7-14 to Reese's 7-1. He will be matched against Edwin Evers on Saturday and the winners will meet on Sunday.

Upcoming events in upstate:

Mountain Bridge Trout Unlimited meeting - August 15 at Mauldin Cultural Center, 101 East Butler Road, Mauldin, SC. Guest speaker - L. Woodrow Ross.

Hunting and Fishing Expo on August 26, 27 and 28 at the Anderson Civic Center, Anderson , SC. Visit Saluda River Archery booth and talk with owner Russell Cooper about opportunities to join a first class archery club. You have an opportunity to shoot competitively or just to shoot in preparation for hunting. L. Woodrow Ross will be in the booth on Saturday with books, instructional booklets on primitive crafts and fly fishing and will have a primitive craft display.

Slightly out of the area, but if you are interested in flint-knapping, the Schiele Museum will have a "knap-in" on August 7 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. This event draws some expert knappers from the southeast an should be lots of fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wrecking Crew waterfowl video

The Wrecking Crew Guide Service in Lancaster is now booking early season hunts for Canada Geese and migratory teal. Summer scouting is underway and the September early season will be here very, very soon. Senior guide Darly Hodge is a member of the Drake Waterfowl Systems Pro Staff, and son Blake Hodge is the expert duck and goose caller. Blake has also shown an affinity for videography and shares this video review of their most recent season afield.

To view my past blog entry about a hunt with the Wrecking Crew clickhere.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Daryl Hodge in the foreground in a coffin blind set up in an ag field

PhotoByChipWolfe: Daryl Hodge, Englis Glover, Blake Hodge and Jeff Dennis after the hunt

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waterfowl Forecast for 2011/12 is Excellent

Andy Stevenson and Son in left photo and Ross on right after a successful hunt

Resting flock, Ross's kayak and mallard drake, unidentified hunter at Skeeter Branch Hunting Preserve near Lavonia, GA.

Photos by L. Ross except one of Andy Stevenson and son provided by him.

The recent report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is excellent news for waterfowlers. The results of surveys indicate that the population is at 45.6 million, an increase of 35% over the long-term average.

It is hard to imagine waterfowl hunting with the current temperatures in the mid and upper 90's, but it will be here before you know it.

Mallards, blue-winged teal, gadwalls and pintails showed significant increases in numbers. This, couple with the local resident populations of wood ducks and Canada geese bode well for the upcoming season. Of course, local weather conditions can affect hunting success, but the overall outlook is encouraging.

Don't forget your faithful hunting companions that work so hard in retrieving your downed birds. Continue to work and exercise them, but take into consideration the heat and schedule any training sessions in the cooler hours of the day. Dogs are like kids, they have short attention spans. Keep training sessions short. Several short sessions during the week are much better than one long session on weekends. Just as you are quick to reprimand a retriever for bad behavior or performance, be quick to praise him for a job well done. Your praise is the most meaningful thing that you can give a dog.

Now is a good time to take a look at decoys, duck boats and any other gear that might need attention. The last thing you need is to schedule a hunt and find that you have an equipment problem.

Here's hoping for a banner season for all of us dedicated waterfowlers!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saluda River Archery Club Tournament

Primitive craft display and demonstrations by L. Woodrow Ross

Jeff Stewart, Inman, SC, bowyer prepares to shoot through chronograph to check arrow speed.

PSE archery team (far left is pro staffer Robert Horton, far right on back is regional rep. Tony Valentine and to his immediate right is Saluda River Archery Club owner Russell Cooper)

Photos by: L. Ross

Saturday, June 25, was a fun day for local archers. About one hundred archers gathered at Saluda River Archery Club at 521 McNeely Road, Piedmont, SC 29673 for a great day of competition. There were no losers, as it was a day of fun and camaderie.

Most of the archers shot compound bows, but there was a good representation of traditional bows with most being recurves.

Jeff Stewart of Inman, SC, was there to demonstrate his recurve bows. They reached more than 200 mph through the chronograph, which is pretty fast for a traditional bow. My longbow only clocked 156 mph.

Gene Cunningham and I had a primitive craft display of flint knapping, hand make bows and arrows, natural fiber hand-made cordage, atlatls and darts, and demonstrations of fire starting with bow drill and flint and steel.

Local shooters interested in shooting at Saluda River Archery Club should contact Russell Cooper at (864) 230-8744 for information.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hagood Mill - Historic Upstate Site

Blacksmith Griz Hockwalt shaping a piece of steel that will be a paring knife.

Local character with 'possum Historic Hagood Mill, water powered grist mill

Ancient Dodge flatbed pick-up

Photos by: L. Ross

Hagood Mill, near Pickens, SC, is an upstate landmark. It has been designated as a historic site and every third Saturday of the month, craftsmen, musicians, vendors and the curious public gather for a day of entertainment and educational exhibits and events.

The agenda is always different. The same exhibitors are not always there, the musicians change and you never know what you will see. The constants are the historic mill structure that grinds corn on the one day of the month. They produce white and yellow grits and corn meal and the demand is always great.

There is a huge rock formation near the creek that courses through the property and I has a large number of indian petroglyphs on it. A building is currently being erected over the stone to protect it for current and future generations. In addition, by enclosing and controlling the lighting, the viewing of the petroglyphs will be improved. Some are cut very shallowly into the rock face and an oblique light will improve visibility.

The blacksmith shop is a new addition, but is set up to represent primitive techniques, just as used in the early days of our state. Griz Hockwalt demostrated metalworking with basic bellows to heat coals, hammer and anvil to produce some excellent tomahawks, knives and other utilitarian and art pieces.

You can often find a flint knapper, bowyer, quilt makers, bluegrass musicians, gospel musicians, various vendors and a gift shop to offer entertainment, products for sale and a day that you will find educational as well.