According to Brandon Seffrin of Cabela’s in Greenville, the first part of South Carolina’s waterfowl season has started off with a bang, at least in the Upstate.

Seffrin, who is from Piedmont, said conditions appeared to be just right this past weekend when he and several other work buddies fell just two birds shy of a five-man limit.

“I think we’ve got a lot of different birds that have already pushed down into our area,” said Seffrin, who hails from Piedmont. “I have seen more woodies in the swamps I’ve scouted than I normally do this time of year, but I also know several big-water hunters who killed ring necks, some pintails and even a black duck on Hartwell and Clarks Hill.”

With the temperature well below freezing this past Saturday, Seffrin was fearful that many of the small waters he hunts – beaver ponds and sloughs – would be frozen over. When the season opened on Saturday, he said it was the best of both worlds.

“The swamps were locked up a week ago, and that pushed a lot of birds out to the big lakes,” he said. “I was hoping it would warm up before the season arrived, and it did, and the ducks also started pouring back in to the swamps.”

Abundant rains across the Upstate on Sunday could not have come at a better time. With enough water, cold weather and plentiful ducks, the remainder of the week should be excellent for duck hunters.

“Normally, we don’t see a lot of divers until mid-way through the season, but they’re here now,” said Seffrin. “We also have a lot of mallards, which I believe are more resident birds than migratory – but you never know – with black ducks, pintails and even a redhead showing up this weekend. Plus we always have a lot of geese. My dad killed a banded goose this weekend on a farm pond in Berea.”

The first session of South Carolina’s waterfowl season runs from through Saturday, Nov. 29, to allow waterfowlers to hunt over the Thanksgiving holidays, then resumes on Dec. 6 and lasts until Jan. 25.