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!