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The Sporting Chef films TV show in Walterboro

Two cameras film Chef Scott Leysath while cleaning squirrel, rabbit and raccoon.

Hunting and Fishing television shows have become more and more mainstream with the advent of reality shows like Duck Dynasty. However, Chef Scott Leysath has been doing the Hunt, Fish, Cook television show for ten years already. With a new show, titled Dead Meat, set to debut on the Sportsman Channel, Leysath and his camera crew chose Walterboro as an appropriate setting to represent South Carolina’s hospitality and ample supply of game for hunting and cooking.

Traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas in 2007 I first met Scott Leysath at a meeting of the SouthEastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA). He was cooking elk for a large group of outdoor media, but he was not too busy to speak with me about the duck hunting he enjoys back in his home state of California. As the Cooking Editor for Ducks Unlimited magazine, Leysath is well known to many waterfowl enthusiasts.

With SEOPA meeting in Tennessee in 2012, Leysath asked me to advise him about possible scenarios for his Dead Meat show to

The Sporting Chef at his outdoor food prep station with an attentive audience.

film in South Carolina. The mission of his new show is to hunt, fish, trap and harvest animals that one normally might not think of eating. Hopefully after he applies his professional cooking talents to the meat, it is transformed into delicious table fare.

Enlisting the help of two long-time rabbit hunting companions, and some local cooking talent, we took on the task of hosting Leysath and two cameramen for a weekend of adventure and cooking. Arriving first in Georgia to film a show about hunting and eating crows, Leysath arrived in Walterboro with tight schedule to hunt and harvest game and cook it, while filming and recording audio for his show.

With no mainstream meat such as venison or duck allowed in the proverbial Dead Meat cooking pot, we set out behind three beagle dogs for rabbits and whatever else the woodlands might yield. James High Jr. and Jesse James have brought their rabbit beagles from Eutawville to hunt at Snipe Hill for about ten years, helping me to give chase to the sneaky cottontails. When asked if they would mind wearing a microphone and narrating the hunt for Leysath and his TV show, they were glad to help.

With mild temperatures, but overcast skies, we set out at daybreak to gather some game. A full morning of hunting yielded one rabbit, two squirrels and two raccoons that would make up the meat portion of Leysath’s stew. “We really walked a long way and beat the bushes, but the woods were kind of quiet for us,” said Leysath. “But following those rabbit dogs around was sure a fun, and it was a great Lowcountry experience.”

Think there was time for lunch after the hunt? Nope. Leysath and his camera crew set up in the yard by an old wooden barn and filmed what they call ‘B-roll,’ voiceover work to go along with any action video footage that was made earlier. Working as quickly as they could, these professionals kept working for another thirty-minutes while the rest of the hunting party were able to rest and regroup.

Launching the next part of our plan, we headed to the Copeland Family Farm to meet up with cooking enthusiast and Walterboro-advocate Jamey Copeland. He had enlisted Charlie Spears, Billy Ackerman, and Madison Utsey to help him prepare some alligator, rabbit and May River oysters for Leysath and his crew to film. The rabbit hunters came along to offer their family recipes about cooking rabbit and raccoon as well.

Copeland’s wife and daughters were on hand to see Jamey put on his microphone and welcome Leysath to town. Copeland had put a lot of planning into the day so that our window of opportunity would be met with success. Plenty of test cooking had gone on the days before the filming, making sure that all the necessary ingredients and accessories were on hand. When Leyasth showed up needing to clean a raccoon, and food prep the veggies to go with it, Copeland handled each request with vigor.

With the filming complete, and the sun beginning to set, a flight of geese came by honking and Leysath shared that he will be home for the holidays, and that after some family time, he will enjoy a few duck hunts. This episode of ‘Dead Meat’ filmed in Walterboro is set to air in February on the Sportsman Channel. Leysath’s latest book, the Better Venison Cookbook, has just been published and might make a great gift for those that share a love for the outdoors and for cooking.

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