• December 2014 - Volume 21, Number 12


    Find out-of-the-way water courses and find a big, late-season buck.

    As the last month of the season arrives, hunters can still fill their last buck tag and make one last visit to the taxidermist, even though most of the immature and dim-witted bucks have learned about deer season the hard way. The surviving animals are well educated and unlikely to make the same mistakes their late relatives did. 

    Big decoy spreads, big weather fronts can mean big days on the waters of Pamlico Sound.

    A knot of ducks appeared low on the horizon, coming right out of the sun, headed for the spread of decoys, when Carlton Thornton, aka Captain Froggy, warned the hunters in his well-camouflaged boat to get ready.

    Public waters and WMAs will hold enough ducks to make Thanksgiving, Christmas hunts memorable

    The confluence of South Carolina’s weather pattern with our duck season makes Thanksgiving week and the entire Christmas season idea for bird-shooting in coastal marshes, inland lakes, puddles and streams. By Thanksgiving, cold weather almost invariably freezes ponds and lakes in the northern portion of the Atlantic Flyway, forcing migrations of smaller ducks like teal and woodies toward us. By Christmas, with many duck seasons in New England already closing and everything inland solidly encased in ice, the remaining big ducks like mallards and blacks have only the option of coastal wetlands or flying south. Like human snowbirds, lots of them head for the Carolinas. It’s show time.

    Drift or anchor for Kerr Lake’s big winter blue catfish.

    Have you ever been swimming in a pond or lake and wondered whether a big fish might be swimming nearby? If you were swimming in Kerr Lake, aka Buggs Island, there’s a chance that fish might have been bigger than any you’ve ever seen.

    Artificial lures are December staples for Lake Hartwell striper fishermen

    If you’re looking for the best way to hook monster striped bass from Lake Hartwell this winter, one of the best ways is to forget live bait and use artificial lures. 

    Artificial lures are the ticket for winter stripers in the lower Roanoke River.

    So you filled your 2014 deer tags and don’t know what to do with yourself until spring peepers start chirping and turkey gobblers strut their stuff.

    Troll, cast to catch limit of Charleston speckled trout in December

    Speckled trout fishing can be fantastic throughout the fall, but when the weather turns cool, a lot of anglers look for other species. But, according to guides and expert trout fishermen,  there’s no reason to abandon trout fishing this month, especially in the waters around Charleston.

    Watch the rut, watch the food, watch the weather and watch your chances for a late-season buck increase.

    For more than three months and counting, South Carolina deer hunters have turned out in the deer woods, keeping game processing facilities and taxidermists working late nights and long weekends. 

    Redfish take to docks for protection when bottlenose dolphin come calling in the winter.

    Atlantic bottlenose dolphin stalk and relentlessly hunt Lowcountry redfish year-round. The two species play an age-old game of cat-and-mouse, and redfish. The redfish, at the top of their menu, quench an insatiable appetite. These two species play an eons-old game of cat-and-mouse, and redfish instinctively seek shallow, oyster-lined sandbar flats for sanctuary. A flat though, isn’t always conveniently located for a pod of 500-pound starving dolphin encircling and charging the unsuspecting gamefish.

    Group in Columbus County, N.C., is putting kids and raccoons together to promote outdoors activities.

    Out in the yard, beneath a canopy of pecan trees, the aroma of wild boar barbecue set stomachs to growling. Inside the house, Rev. Wade Hall Jr. sat at the kitchen table, registering participants in the inaugural Lumber River Outdoors/True Vine Coon Club Youth Hunt.

    Hunting bears with hounds is a time-honored tradition, and it’s the most-effective way to target North Carolina bears.

    Even though black bears are built to survive in just about any environment, they are no match for North Carolina’s bear-hunting battalion, and in December, hunters looking for a real trophy bear should definitely not head for the hills; they should head for eastern North Carolina.

    Mud minnows, artificial baits are speck and red killers around Morehead City in December.

    Matt Lamb paid strict attention to the water as he maneuvered through the Haystacks marshes above Morehead City, being careful to stay in the channel, even though he was running behind at first light, trying to get to a spot on the right stage of the tide.

    Modern air guns offer hunters a chance to take a limit of bushytails without stirring up the woods.

    After waiting silently for 20 minutes in  the small woodlot, attention was drawn to the movement of limbs in an oak tree, shaking from the weight of a gray squirrel that scampered from a nearby hollow in search of acorns. 

    Find out all you need to know to wrap up your season with a nice buck, like this Bladen County beauty killed by Joey Nicoll of Calabash.