Friday, December 31, 2010

Four Hunting Dogs Dead, 13 Hunters Quarantined and Released

A dog drive on a Lee County hunt yesterday left 4 dogs dead and several others sick, and had 13 hunters quarantined at KershawHealth Medical Center. All but one of the hunters were released last night after being decontaminated. An 11-year old boy stayed overnight at the hospital and is expected to be released sometime today.

The hunting party noticed some of the dogs rolling around in an unidentified substance, and according to one of the hunters, 4 of the dogs died on the spot as other dogs approached and began sniffing the substance. The hunters also investigated the substance and experienced various symptoms. The SCDNR went to the scene and identified the substance as Temik, a pesticide that is used by farmers to kill nematodes and other pests. Unfortunately it is also sometimes placed in hot dogs and other meat products and left in the woods to kill coyotes and other pests, but is indiscriminate with who or what animals it affects. According to one of the hunters, Joie McCutchen, the Temik was "in a pile in the woods by a tree, ground up into something. We don't know yet what it was."

The remaining dogs are undergoing treatment by a Bishopville veterinarian and seem to be recovering well. To leave a comment for this report on the website click here.

PhotoProvided: Joie McCutchen, shown here with an early season buck in velvet, was one of the Lee County hunters involved in the Temik incident.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Trees Make Great Fish Structure

Well, the fat man in the red suit has come and gone once again and MidlandsOutdoors hopes everyone had a Merry Christmas. Now it's time to put up those Christmas decorations and toss the tree onto the burn pile, right? Wrong! Take that tree and any neighbor's trees you can get ahold of and make yourself a fishing hotspot in your favorite pond or lake.

It takes a little time but it's one of those things that you can enjoy for the rest of the year. Lash a few trees together and tie a cinder block tight to one of them, sink the brushpile, and mark it on your GPS or by using triangulation with shore-bound trees, banks, or rocks. It will provide much needed structure for gamefish and can save a slow fishing day since you'll know at least one good spot that fish are likely to be.

We've enjoyed our Christmas trees, so now let's let the fish enjoy them as well.

PhotoProvided shows a couple of anglers dropping discarded Christmas trees for fish habitat.

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 MidlandsOutdoors 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

Friday, December 17, 2010

Impressive Buck Taken on Aiken SRS Draw Hunt

Cole Scroggs, a high school student from Augusta, Georgia harvested a deer with an impressive rack earlier this month. Have you ever seen a rack with a 6-inch base on one side and a 5.5-inch base on the other?

Check out the full story of Scroggs' hunt at South Carolina Sportsman Magazine here.

PhotoProvided: The rack on this buck scored 161!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cast and Blast

A friend of mine has a couple of ponds that I fish in quite a bit and in the past few months we've noticed Canada geese showing up occasionally. We've talked about hunting them and I finally got the chance to do so this afternoon. With no decoys or even a goose call, I decided to take along a fishing rod so I'd have a way to kill some time if no geese arrived. Even though it warmed up a bit late today, there was still a lot of ice on the pond, so I heard a lot of crunching as I slid my Native Watercraft kayak into the pond.

I positioned myself under some trees along one bank and hoped the geese would show up, casting a plastic worm as I waited. I didn't get any bites, but I did notice something that looked like an antler shed just in the woods off the near bank. Too early for sheds though, but I pulled my 'yak ashore and walked into the woods to check it out. It was the skull of an 8-point buck with both antlers still attached. The rest of the body was nowhere around, so I assume a dog carried the head a ways and dropped it here. Before long, I heard the telltale honking of geese in the distance so I relaunched the kayak, loaded my gun, and waited. The geese finally came in and offered me a perfect shot. Seven geese approached for a landing but only one hit the water, and that one got wet earlier than it expected thanks to some steel No. 2 Estate Cartridges. I retrieved the goose and waited a while thinking some other geese might show up, but none did. But there is always tomorrow!

PhotosByBrianCope: The 15-inch inside spread on this 8-point rack signaled an unfortunate demise to a promising deer. Native Watercraft, Benelli Nova, Canada Goose.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Too Cold to Fish? Not a Chance!

How cold is too cold to fish? Well, last Thursday it was awfully cold; 19 degrees when I woke up that morning. But I still went to Canal Lakes Fish Camp to meet Capt. Bill Saltzman for a day of catfishing. There was ice in the mud puddles and the wind made it seem even colder than it was, but we headed down the Diversion Canal and on into Lake Moultrie just the same. It was all worth it when a big 40-pound blue catfish hit my cut bait while drifting in 50+ feet of water near the dam.

Luckily for me, Capt. Bill has an enclosure on his pontoon boat that allowed us to get out of the wind in between baiting lines and reeling in fish, and I would not recommend going out with a guide who does not have that during a cold winter day. I mean, being cold is one thing, but not having that shelter to warm up in would have made the day downright  miserable. But as it was, we had a great day of conversation and caught some nice fish, including the 40-pounder.

Capt. Bill is a great guide to fish with. His pontoon is roomy and well equipped with gear, and he fishes with Abu Garcia 6500 reels matched with Shakespeare Ugly Stick Tiger rods, which are great combos for catfishing. He's also happy to share his fishing tips and does a great job making his guests feel welcome and entertained. And he's been fishing the Santee Cooper Lakes system long enough to know where the catfish are in every season of the year.

Don't let a little bit of cold weather scare you away from some of the greatest catfishing you'll find in the Palmetto State. Book a trip with Capt. Bill and catch yourself a trophy cat. Call him at 803-524-1951 or visit his website at

PhotosByBrianCope: Capt. Bill prepares some cut bait, then shows off the results of drifting one such bait along the depths of Lake Moultrie.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aiken County 8-pointer, 19-inch spread

A deer with a 19-inch spread in South Carolina is hard to come by, but Aiken's Scott Ray came by one this season and harvested it near Jackson at the River to Rail Hunt Club. The 8-pointer weighed 165-lbs. That's a quality Palmetto State deer.

PhotoProvided: Aiken's Scott Ray poses with his nice buck.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Florence County Archery Range Open to Public

If you'd like to get some practice with your bow, the SCDNR has opened a new archery range that is open to the public from 9 a.m. to sunset. There is no charge for using the range, which is located at Lynches River County Park on 1110 Ben Gause Road in Coward. Available for archers is a flat range where bows are required to have a draw weight of 30 lbs. or less, and a 15-foot elevated range with no draw weight restrictions. This platform features a realistic hunting experience, with targets ranging from 10 to 40 yards.

The range is unmanned and broadhead points are not allowed on any portion of it.

PhotoProvided: An archer practices on the elevated platform at the new Florence County Archery Range.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Delta Waterfowl Banquet-Sumter

The Sumter Chapter of Delta Waterfowl held their banquet  Friday night at the National Guard Armory. Bar-B-Que, baked beans, and cole slaw were on the menu and sweet tea and an open bar complemented the meal. Items auctioned off included a Benelli M2 12-gauge and several other guns, a trained black lab puppy, an offshore fishing trip aboard the Wadmacallit, special edition Delta Waterfowl buck knives, and a whole host of duck hunting gear.

Delta Waterfowl's goal is to use science-based ideas and solutions that will conserve waterfowl and keep the future of waterfowl hunting secure. For more information, visit Delta Waterfowl's website.

PhotosByBrianCope: Delta Waterfowl held their Sumter banquet Friday night.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

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

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sumter Hunter Kills Dream Buck in Pennsylvania

Sumter's Jimmie "Cricket" Kennedy went to the Keystone State for a hunting trip, and he brought back a rare find. Kennedy killed a buck that weighed 262-lbs, and that's not the only detail that made this a dream buck. The animal was also white. Kennedy is careful to point out it wasn't an albino deer, but rather a rare strain of white deer that is believed to have been shipped in from out west.

PhotoProvided: Cricket Kennedy killed this dream buck in Pennsylvania this past October.