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Thanksgiving offers a mixed bag for hunters

Why is there no fall hunting season for wild turkeys? Thanksgiving traditions revolve around this grand game bird, right? The powers that be in Columbia decided a long time ago not to offer such a season, and my sources tell me that this issue will remain the status quo. But, hunters will be able to load plenty of other bird shot into their shotguns in their quest to harvest a mixed bag over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Have you ever wondered why dove season, duck season, and goose season only last one week long during this special holiday week? Well, it’s because the policymakers know that sportsmen love to embrace the outdoors when they have a few days off from work to spend hunting with their family and friends.

The wood duck remains the number one duck in the game bag for South Carolina hunters, and the limit is three per day for the hunter. Remember to have your state and federal duck permits and your steel shotgun shells in order to not to violate the legal guidelines. With the dry conditions right now, scouting for water holes can often reveal groupings of wood ducks, which may offer a perfect early morning hunting opportunity.

Migratory geese are also invading Colleton County water holes presently and the daily limit for honkers is five per day. All waterfowl hunting is legal from a half hour before sunrise until sunset. If targeting ducks other than wood ducks, then the daily limit is six ducks per day; not to include more than four mallards, two pintails, one fulvous tree duck, one black-bellied duck, two redheads, one canvasback, four scaup and one black or mottled duck.

Perhaps the most traditional hunt over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is the dove shoot. These are informal gatherings for anywhere from10 to 20 people to test their wing-shooting abilities, and the share in traditions. Yours truly can remember many Thanksgiving Day dove hunts as a youth, tagging along with my father, attending the hunt and barbecue provided by my great Uncle in western Colleton County. That particular hunt has been discontinued over time, but I can still recall just how many doves used to crowd into those fields!

Fast forwarding to present day, I am thankful for the friends who invited me to join in their dove shoot on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. A mighty wind picked up that morning and made for very challenging conditions, but that’s just a part of hunting. Even if the birds don’t fly well, the hunters must bring their dogs into the field, dust off their dove vests, and go through the motions that help to measure the level of passion they have for the outdoors. In most cases, Colletonians measure up very well in this department.

Continuing with the mixed bag of hunting options, the private lands in Colleton County are about to open up even more small game options. Squirrel season opened October 1 and runs until March 1, and carries a limit of 10 per day. Quail season opened on November 19 and will continue until March 1. Rabbit season opens November 22 (today) and runs until March 1, with a limit of five per day. Each of these endeavors requires a special breed of dog, and offers hunters time in the field with their favorite canine companions.

 Happy Thanksgiving Colletonians, and Good Luck hunting!

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

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (359 Posts)

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