The 2014-15 deer season was an interesting one for Palmetto State hunters. In the Upstate, baiting is still a relative novelty, and with a huge acorn crop this past fall, it’s likely that big bucks didn’t have to travel too far to find something to eat. And that’s never good news for the troops in camouflage and blaze orange.
Deer season opened back on Sept. 13 of last year, and almost instantly, big bucks started to fall. Within a week, a handful of enormous bucks had been tagged by archers across North Carolina, and the fun didn’t stop there.
When North Carolina started allowing hunters to target wild hogs after dark, Milton Turnage was one of the first hunters to do so effectively. He began offering guided night hunts as soon as he was set up, in January 2012, after honing his techniques by hunting them during daylight hours for years.
February’s weather can be tricky, with very cold but also very mild temperatures. That’s the primary reason why most experts use the term “transition” for catfish in the Santee Cooper lakes this month. Make no mistake, the action can be on fire during this cold month, but where the action is found is tracked directly to the weather.
It seems among sportsmen and sportswomen there are houndsmen, and then there is everyone else. Caring for, breeding, training and hunting with hounds takes a commitment seldom seen in today’s “instant gratification” culture. You are either a lover of hounds or you are not; there doesn’t appear to be any middle ground.
A stubborn chill hung in the air, and the anglers aboard Capt. Rick Percy’s boat were anxious for the sun to the same. Percy was watching his depth finder, looking for a certain piece of structure on the Fish America Reef, and finding it, he pushed a button on his trolling motor’s remote control, and reached for the bucket of fiddler crabs.
A desert-tan, four-wheel-drive vehicle bounced along a farm road, a cloud of fine dust rising up from its tires. The car had a broad brush-guard on the front, a lighted roll bar on top and a half- dozen hunters seated high and low.
Frost is on the ground, waiting for the sunlight to warm it away; it’s a brisk 42 degrees, and the wind is whipping. Who wants to hit Lake Wateree for some bass fishing? Camden’s Dearal Rodgers does, and while he’s not alone, the number of anglers out in February is small compared to warmer times — a big reason but not the only one that he’s fond of fishing this month.