Peeking ahead to fall: Time to prepare

August 8, 2013 

As hard as it is for me to believe, the summer of 2013 is quickly drawing down. Children are preparing to return to school and, as much as I always hated that when I was young, it signals that the fall hunting season is just around the corner. That makes this older version of me smile widely.

The opening of dove season is an annual rite of passage that serves as the gateway to another year of chasing game, since it’s always the first opportunity to grab a gun and get out there.

For 2013, the big dates for legally taking mourning doves will be Sept. 2-7 from noon until sunset, then starting all day from Sept. 8-Oct. 5, Nov. 23-30 and Dec. 19-Jan. 15.

Hunters will need to remember that the daily bag limit is 15 birds per day.

Another big part of that first weekend in September is that this is when most local hunt clubs begin preparing their properties for the upcoming deer season. Whether the projects include planting fall food plots, placing stands, repairing old ones or just general cleanup, it’s typically a busy time for each group’s members.

One of the biggest problems hunt clubs face is that the majority always seem to have no trouble finding their way to camp when the season arrives, but only a few show up to do the work that must be done beforehand.

Did you know that there’s now an easy solution for that?

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has developed an extensive list of contractors that the state calls Wildlife Technical Assistance Providers. These contractors provide on-the-ground services to landowners and hunt clubs that include such desperately needed services as prescribed burning, food plot planting, timber management, wildlife management and dove field preparation.

By using a contractor, a club can split the cost evenly among themselves without having to do the work. This could solve that problem related to the members that never show up when there’s something that needs to be done, and it’s fair to each person. There’s no doubt it will cost a little more than performing the tasks yourselves, but it’s probably the best way to keep tensions down and everyone on an even keel.

DNR doesn’t endorse anyone or guarantee the services of any contractors. The list is simply meant to help hunters locate service providers. Let’s face it; you can’t exactly look these types of contractors up in the Yellow Pages.

The agency strongly recommends that landowners and clubs seeking such assistance ask a contractor for references and have them explain in detail the work to be done before agreeing to anything or signing a contract. They also say it would be advisable to discuss your situation with several contractors before making a choice.

With the help of the Clemson Extension Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, the USDA Forest Service and the S.C. Forestry Commission, DNR collected the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone it knew that is involved in providing wildlife services. More contractors were identified by contacting those on the state’s Tree Planters List and the Herbicide Applicators List.

The result was an extensive collection of contractors that can take care of pretty much any project anywhere within the state.

If you’d like to see a copy, you can find it on DNR’s website at www.dnr.sc.gov.

Hunting and fishing day

Like to pick up a few more outdoors skills? With a little help from Duke Energy, you can do just that by attending the celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 21 at Duke’s World of Energy complex.

The event allows participants to try such things as shooting a bow, tying flies for fishing, and kayaking, to name a few.

“This is a wonderful event for families to enjoy together in a beautiful outdoor setting at the World of Energy,” said DNR’s Greg Lucas in a news release. “There is truly an activity for everyone to enjoy and it is also a good venue to learn about conservation from many local groups and agencies attending.”

The festivities are made possible through sponsorships. Joining Duke Energy in the efforts are Trout Unlimited, the Clemson University Extension Service, DNR, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, Upstate Forever, The Weatherby Foundation, Calm Water Kayak Tours of Ware Shoals, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Outdoor Adventures of Clemson, Clemson’s 4-H Shooting Sports and the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund.

Even better, folks can take part for nothing more than the cost of getting there. All activities and parking are free, and any needed gear is provided. You can even carry a picnic lunch or purchase one from an onsite vendor.

For information, contact the World of Energy at 800-777-1004. That’s right: Even the call won’t cost you a dime.

Did you know?

According to information released by DNR:

Hunting and fishing together are an economic force worth $76 billion a year.

A Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation report shows that if hunters and fishermen were a nation, their gross domestic product would rank 57th of 181 countries throughout the world. About 1.6 million American jobs depend on hunters and fishermen.

The economic impact of these outdoors sports approaches $4 billion in our state alone.

Pretty impressive stats, I’d say.

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at www.bradharveyoutdoors.com or follow on Twitter @BHarveyOutdoors.

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