September is a transition month for outdoorsmen
When I was a kid, I hated this time of year. It only meant one thing to me — going back to school. I didn’t exactly hate school, but I loved summer. Even as an adult, it took me a while to get over the feeling. But now, September is one of my favorite months.
I still love summer, and even though September’s weather usually feels like summer throughout the Carolinas, it’s still an obvious transition month for sportsmen.
Back-to-school time depressed me as a kid, but it now means fewer crowds in all the places I enjoy fishing. It begins to get much easier to find lodging at reasonable prices, and far fewer boats are on the water.
It’s been a great summer of fishing, but an influx of bait and shrimp, plus hints of cooling water temperatures put the fish in a different state of mind.
Also, depending on where you live in the Carolinas, deer season has either started or will begin soon. I grew up in South Carolina’s Game Zone 4, where archery season starts on Aug. 15, giving way to rifle season on Sept. 1.
And deer aren’t the only game in town this month. Dove season also cranks up, this year on Sept. 3. These hunts provide for great felllowship, fun shooting, and provide meat for memorable meals, often grilled during the first college football gatherings of the year.
Don’t forget the geese
A handful of other lesser-known migratory bird seasons open this month. Marsh hens, rails, gallinules and moorhens have small but passionate followings.
And then there’s my personal favorite bird hunting season — the early Canada goose season opens Sept. 1 with little fanfare as most hunters are focused on getting ready for doves or deer. It ends on Sept. 30. Throughout most of the Carolinas, the early goose season means a daily limit of 15 geese. That’s a pile, and three times the limit we’ll have later this fall.
I’ve spent many a September day in a small boat on one particular farm pond in Kershaw County, SC. I take along a shotgun and a fishing rod, casting for bass while waiting on the local honkers to show up. Usually, a group or two will come in, not at all concerned about my presence. Halfway through the month, some buzz right past with a few others attempting to land.
By the end of the month, most of these resident geese have been educated enough of my presence to know I’m up to no good. But it’s not uncommon for a few to still pass close enough for a shot or two. And in between, I’m catching bass on topwater lures, Texas-rigged worms and spinnerbaits.
All in all, it’s not a bad way to say goodbye to the summer. September, you’ve been away too long. I’m glad you’re finally back.
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