For many South Carolina hunters, the end of deer season is coming too soon.
Scott Hammond is one of those people who can’t spend enough time in the woods. Last season, the Colleton County resident shot deer 107 times.
“It was a good season and I saw a lot of deer,” he said. But the hunt that many times still leaves him hungry for more. He fills that void by hunting squirrels.
“I love squirrel hunting. It’s a great way to end deer season and get rid of those recalls,” Hammond said. “It’s a wonderful time of year to be in the woods. All the leaves are off the trees and you can see everything. You end up finding deer sheds. You find deer trails you didn’t know existed when you’re out hiking. You can learn a lot about the forests in general at this time of year”.
Hammond uses a .22 long rifle equipped with a scope while hunting in woods located in Orangeburg County and on property he owns in Colleton County.
“I focus on hardwood areas with a lot of oaks. I cover 30 to 50 yards very slowly, walking. Then I lean against a tree and sit there and listen for 10, 15, 20, sometimes 30 minutes,” Hammond said. . “Your ears are the best tool you have. You hear the squirrels chattering back and forth, talking, whistling. You can hear them rustling on the ground in the leaves and feeding.”
He said you can’t successfully catch squirrels by stumbling through the woods, as the squirrels quickly learn that they are being attacked.
“Once you’ve caught them a time or two, it’s definitely more of a challenge. They’re enthusiastic little critters. Once you’ve caught them a couple of times, I’ll go home and get a limit (10 squirrels) the first time.” weather. Next time you might get eight, next time six, and next time two or three. They start to learn. It’s not because there aren’t hundreds of them there. They become wise very quickly.”
Hammond said that squirrels are most active in the first three hours of the day and the last three hours of the day. If it is a nice cold day, they will move in the middle of the day. But the first sunrise is when they most often come out of their nests and start chattering.
Hammond said none of his squirrels go to waste. He gives them to an old man at the processor where he takes all of his deer. He said that he has brought the man more than 50 squirrels this season.
The season for gray squirrels and foxes runs from October 1 to March 1 with a limit of 10 per day. There are also seasons for the exclusive use of dogs. Most deer hunters will not look for squirrels on their property until after deer hunting season.
“I seem to be enjoying squirrel hunting more and more,” Hammond said. “It’s going back to the roots of hunting. A lot of us who are hunters, that’s how we started out, going through the woods with our parents and shooting squirrels, missing a lot more than hitting. It’s fun.”
SC Wahoo Series Captains Meeting
The Captains Meeting for the 2021 South Carolina Wahoo Series will be held from 1-4 p.m. on February 6 at the Skull Creek Dockside Restaurant on Hilton Head Island. Participants can fish three days and count their heaviest fish from two of the three fishing days. Fishing begins on February 19 and ends on April 24 with the awards ceremony held on April 25 at Hilton Head Harbor MM 20. Anglers can weigh their catch at Hilton Head Harbor Marina, Toler’s Cove in Mount Pleasant or Georgetown Landing Marina.
First place in the tournament pays $20,000, based on 111 entries. Last year’s series, with 151 entries, was won by the husband-and-wife team of Morris and Tamesha Beck from Johns Island with an aggregate total of two 147.8-pound fish, including a 98.3-pound catch. The Becks earned a total of $63,294.
The captain’s meeting is not mandatory and online registration is available at scwahooseries.com. Entry fee is $600 per boat, with optional categories for Wahoo High Roller, Wahoo Big Fish, Dolphin Big Fish, Tuna Big Fish, Amberjack Big Fish and Daily TWT. There is also the Carolina KDW TWT for anglers fishing the SC Wahoo series, SC Mahi series and SC Fall Classic (king mackerel).
Yacht Club of America
America’s Boating Club Charleston will host boating safety classes February 6-27 at 1376 Orange Grove Road, Charleston. Classes begin at 9 am and end around 4 pm Successful participants earn a boater’s education card from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The cost is $25 for adults and youth ages 12-18 are free. Call 843-312-2876 or email [email protected].