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Doe Deer Season Opens and Early Teal Too

 The weather has begun to cool ever so slightly overnight these days, and even the first flush of fall can be seen on the tree leaves. The tropical rains have left swamps and bottomlands full to the brim with water, so its possible the wet weather of winter is getting an early start as well. The early season hunting opportunities have just increased by two on September 15 with the start of doe deer season and early teal season, so no matter the weather it’s the right time to get into the field.The weather has begun to cool ever so slightly overnight these days, and even the first flush of fall can be seen on the tree leaves. The tropical rains have left swamps and bottomlands full to the brim with water, so its possible the wet weather of winter is getting an early start as well. The early season hunting opportunities have just increased by two on September 15 with the start of doe deer season and early teal season, so no matter the weather it’s the right time to get into the field.The biggest news by far for the 2017 deer hunting season was the regulations change stipulating that all antlered bucks must now be tagged, and that a first time ever buck limit is in place in South Carolina. The fact that all doe der must be tagged is not new, since state game managers have been using doe tag fees for years as a source of revenue to study whitetails. Properties enrolled in the Antlerless Deer Quota Program receive their doe tags prior to Sept. 15, but individual hunters can purchase separate tags at any point throughout the season.The doe deer season gives deer herd managers a chance to try and bring buck and doe numbers into balance, which is better for creating high quality bucks. Age, genetics and nutrition are also factors for bucks that grow the biggest and widest racks possible, the kind that trophy hunters cherish. Pulling the trigger on your doe population puts venison on the table for your family, but also likely produces enough meat to be able to share with others. Everyone likely knows a non-hunter who enjoys deer meat once in a while, and doe season is the perfect opportunity to practice this type of community outreach.Of course whenever hunters encounter does, there is an elevated chance to view young of the year doe, or fawns. It is becoming clear that coyotes are keen to track down and eat young deer, since the chance of them taking down a mature deer is much less. Doe hunters must always be ready to eliminate any coyotes on sight, and attempt to remove as many of them from the landscape as possible. Too many times hunters pass up shooting a coyote because they don’t want to spook the deer they are hunting, but the day for that mindset has passed since coyotes propose an immediate threat to the future of deer hunting. Early Teal Season

 Duck hunters will want to jot down the early teal season dates that run from September 15 – 30. Any teal encountered will almost certainly be the blue-winged variety, but green-winged teal are also legal to shoot now. Remember that the start of legal hunting time for early season teal is delayed until exact sunrise until sunset, and then the daily bag limit is 6 per hunter, with the daily possession limit set at 18. The past few years have been very hit and miss with early season teal, so those who harvest an early season teal should be thankful.Blue-winged teal are among the earliest waterfowl to migrate, so hunters should keep in mind that they are most likely just passing through. They may rest here no more than a few days or two weeks before moving further south, so be ready to execute a hunt whenever they turn up during scouting. Prototypical waterfowl impoundments are prime for hunting teal, but other bodies of water that are swollen with floodwaters like we see in 2017 are a likely place for a flock of teal to turn up. In early morning flight, teal can resemble wood ducks, so hunters need to be aware of this possibility in order to avoid any confusion.Another wingshooting opportunity comes into focus when marsh hen season gets underway on October 6 – 10. For those who love the tidal creeks and flooded spartina marsh, this version of hunting requires a somewhat secluded location that floods at high tide. Legal shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset and the legal limit is 15 per day. Keeping a rod and reel in your boat can put one in a position to enjoy a cast and blast style hunt if any tailing redfish are encountered while poling along. Casting a fly rod can make this endeavor even more sporting and may bring the type of outdoors tale that will make the early season more memorable. 

 

 

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (341 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com