• Volume 7 Number 12 - December 2012

    Features

    Wild hog populations are exploding across the country, and South Carolina is no exception. Here are a few tips to help you bag your boar.

    With hog-hunting regulations growing less stringent and the animals becoming more widespread, you’d think hunting them would be getting easier, but that’s not the case. In fact, the highly intelligent wild porkers seem to be staying one hoof ahead of us.

    Cowden Plantation, home of Jarrett Custom Rifles, covers 10,000 acres along the Savannah River, a stone’s throw from the “bomb plant.” It’s a Shangri-la for deer and turkey, but it also provides the ideal setting for wild hogs.

    Fifteen years ago, Kenny Jarrett and his son, Jay, had a bag limit on wild hogs and discouraged the killing of sows in order to encourage population growth.

    December offers fishing opportunities for catfish, stripers and crappie on this huge South Carolina reservoir.

    Several years ago, Bill Plumley of Greer, had a decision to make. He planned to retire and start a fishing guide service, and the question was, “ Where?”

    Plumley loved deer-hunting and fishing for catfish and had spent a lot of time in the Lowcountry, fishing the Santee Cooper lakes. That’s where he was headed when he made a discovery.

    “Well, it was actually two things,” Plumley said. “The first was that I stumbled upon a fishery in Lake Hartwell that was relatively untouched. Hartwell has got a huge population of channel cats, and the average size of its blue catfish has been increasing every year, along with a pretty decent supply of flatheads.

    Big blue catfish are no match for in-the-know fishermen as the late fall and winter bite kicks off.

    It was still dark when Ed Robinson and guide Chris Simpson met for a catfishing trip to Lake Monticello.

    It was a cold, crisp morning, with the frost shining in the grass like little diamonds and a predicted high temperature in the low 40s — a typical South Carolina day, as winter starts to creep up on autumn.

    Robinson, who runs Ed’s Curb Appeal in Belton, met Simpson when he called him for advice; he’d fished Monticello several times but had caught only small blue cats.

    Some of South Carolina’s best inshore fishing is during the holidays. Here are the details.

    The five-week period beginning at Thanksgiving and stretching through the New Year is a non-stop hustle of family visits, neighborhood parties, football tailgates and Christmas shopping — and that’s just the social side.

    On the outdoor sporting side, hunters are chasing everything that can be legally pursued in South Carolina, while fishermen in the know reap the bonanza of some of the best fishing of the year.

    Spot-tail bass — aka redfish, red drum or puppy drum — are the premiere shallow-water game fish in South Carolina’s Lowcountry; they’re hearty creatures that remain active in December and beyond.

    Give late-season bucks some space and you’ll get more opportunities as the season draws to a close.

    There’s a lot of ways to kill a deer in South Carolina, from up close and personal with a bow to in front of dogs that scatter deer from almost impenetrable cover. Then, in some sections of the state, there’s the tried and true method of hunting from a stand over bait, usually at a respectable distance for a hunter.

    While all of these will work late in the season, another strategy is overlooked by many hunters: long-range hunting. According to several expert hunters, long-range hunting is ideal for taking big deer anytime, but perhaps especially late-season.

    As is the case with any tactic, some hunters take it to the extreme and shoot from extremely long distances — the opposite of hunters who set up at 100 yards or less and limit their late-season opportunities. These experts give advice that will enable many to feel comfortable at distances of 150 to 300 yards — sometimes longer.

    South Carolina waterfowlers need to take advantage of public hunting opportunities to bag the first migratory ducks of the season.

    On Dec. 8, more than 20,000 South Carolina hunters will finally get a shot at millions of waterfowl retreating from the famous northern breeding grounds in Canada and the United States.

    Flooding the coastal marshes, river swamps and grain fields, new arrivals will pour into the Palmetto State this month along their migratory itinerary, looking to rest and refuel. Hunters who don’t get in on the action early will miss out on some of the best wing shooting of the year, especially on the hundreds of thousands of acres of South Carolina’s publicly accessible waters.