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Early season teal and doves at C.E. Farms on Edisto

 

Jeff Dennis, Matt Key and Chad Fisk wearing oysta-flage at C.E. Farms.

Early season wingshooting can always be a hit or miss proposition since doves, blue-winged teal and other migratory birds are subject to move around under the command of nature. Preparation of dove fields and duck ponds must be completed on time to greet the September 1 dove season opener and the September 15 early teal season. The Fisk family at C.E. Farms has been offering these hunts for several years now, and hunters are always glad to visit them down Brick House Road on Edisto Island.

            The afternoon hunt on the opening day of dove season greeted the dove club members at C.E. Farms with a fair hunt. It seems that plenty of doves were on hand before the start of the season, but the remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac brought heavy rain to the island, which somehow forced the doves to move off. Such is the quandary of a dove field manager who must prepare the food to attract the doves, but is also powerless to keep them there.

            Now in their seventh season of a dove hunting club, Mr. Everette Fisk and his sons Chad, Ryan and Heath know that by the time they conduct their 10 scheduled hunts per year, they will have harvested a good number of migratory doves. They have 30 acres of dove fields prepared with sunflowers, corn, grain sorghum, white proso, benne and peanuts.

            “We like to keep our dove fields free of weeds and we’ll keep freshly tilled dirt along the food strips,” said Chad Fisk, who is the contact person at C.E. Farms. “We make a schedule before the season for our members, and essentially have a hunt every Saturday during dove season. As of right now, we have had two dove hunts this year, so we have eight more to go.”

            “We also offer 30 acres of duck ponds which are flooded with fresh water and planted in corn, Japanese millet and grain sorghum,” said Fisk. Early season teal hunts are scheduled according to the availability of ducks, and I was able to experience the formula for success at C.E. Farms during the teal season opener. Everyone met at the cook house at 5 a.m. to hear a safety talk, including instructions about how to remain hidden from the teal until shooting time.

            Hunters were taken to duck blinds in the darkness of early morning, and these blinds were plenty big to fit four or five hunters, and they were well camouflaged. Several hundred blue-winged teal had been coming to their duck pond during pre-season scouting and it was important for everyone to stay hunkered down and hidden while the teal were buzzing about before shooting time at 7:04 a.m.

            After much anticipation, the wingshooters began to fire their guns and the early season teal stayed true to their schedule. A large number of teal banked and circled their way through the duck pond and everyone had a chance to test their aim. The oldest hunter was 88-years old and several youth were present with their fathers. The total hunt experience was excellent, reminding sportsmen just how special the ACE Basin can be.

            The abundance of teal this year and the preparation put in by C.E. Farms has allowed them to schedule several more early season teal hunts. Chad Fisk is a fifth-generation farmer on Edisto who is clean-cut and easy to talk to, and to schedule a hunt give him a call at either 843-509-9814 or 843-869-0176. Early teal season concludes on September 30 but the duck season opens again in November, and they have ten hunt dates to choose from through January.

            In addition to migratory birds, C.E. Farms is offering deer and quail hunts this year for the first time. The Fisk family is also able to assist other land managers with their wildlife development program. This means that they can come to other locations in the county to help plant dove fields and duck ponds which benefit wildlife habitat.

            Chad Fisk is a guide for TideLine Outfitters which has invented a new camouflage in the form of oyster shells, or ‘Oysta-flage.’ Fishing guide Matt Key and brother Bart Key are putting their camo from the coastal Lowcountry on shirts, koozies, aprons, tablecloths and more! This camo pattern is being field tested at C.E. Farms all the time, and is proving to be comfortable to wear, while offering the hunter quality concealment. For more information visit the Internet at www.TideLineOutfitters.com.

 

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

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (345 Posts)

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