I had gone to Santee Cooper in early June with the intention of catching bluegill on my fly rod. Fishing with Kevin Davis out of Blacks Camp, I had no doubts my host would put me on fish. My objective was to fish spawning beds in a few feet of water with a popper and wet-fly dropper.
I feel obligated to digress here and mention my passion for catching bluegill on their spawning beds. I don’t need to keep them other than the occasional mess, but a bluegill is just a fun fish to catch. They smack flies like they are tasting them, almost licking their lips, and then those panfish fight with a passion that belies their size.
In short, during spring and early summer, I often drive past trout streams to get to a good bluegill pond. Among my bad habits, this one can hardly be held against me.
As is typically my dilemma, I was a week early on the spawn and the fish were mostly in deep water still. Kevin managed to find some fish for me I could reach in shallow water with these flies, but the challenge had been issued by my finny friends so I was determined to try again with flies that could go deep.
Through the summer I tied weighted versions of bugs that catch bluegill. Clousers with oversized barbells and nymphs with enough weight to drop like cannonballs filled my fly box. I leaned slightly to one side when I put the box in my pocket.
Then, I rigged my fly rod with a longer leader and fluorocarbon tippet, thinking that I could still get by with a floating line. In ten feet of water, my line tip might work like a strike indicator when I got a bite.
Pedro looked at my fly rod and asked, “What do you plan to do with that?”
The next chance I got to chase deepwater bluegill came during our South Carolina Outdoor Press Association conference at Santee Cooper. This one was held in October and I expected the bluegill to be deep, most likely around brush. We had lined up plenty of guides to get our media members on the lake, so I was confident of getting a ride in a panfishing boat. I guessed wrong.
As it turns out, I was assigned to chase catfish with Captain John Smith, who goes by “Pedro.” He never said how he got his nickname, but I’m guessing the Pocahontas jokes got old. As I stepped onto his boat, he took one look at my fly rod and said, “What do you plan to do with that?”
The South Carolina Outdoor Press Association gathered in Lake Murray Country for their annual conference and banquet Oct. 4 – 7. During the banquet, the organization named their Excellence in Craft award winners, which are listed here:
More than 6 1/2-years-old, 17 1/2-inch spread, 185 pounds and 7 points. These are the final numbers on a buck that has been keeping Whitney Phillips of Summerton, SC up at night.
“He was beat up and on his way down when we finally connected. But it’s not the size of the antlers on this deer. This is the first deer that I had an emotional attachment to. Please don’t tell my husband Trey,” she said, only half jokingly.
Phillips manages Clarendon Club, a sportsman’s paradise for deer and duck hunting that encompasses more than 3000 acres of prime hunting land on the shores of Lake Marion in Clarendon County.
“My Old Man,” as Phillips endearingly called him, has been the primary target for her Thompson Center Arms .25-06 for the past three seasons. At one point, he had larger antlers, but he and Phillips just couldn’t connect.
Numerous times, he walked past her stand with circumstances that would not allow for a shot. Too far. Too fast. And one time, too close, directly underneath her stand, seemingly taunting her. She dared not move for fear of spooking him. He walked away unharmed. So the chase continued.
“The Old Man and I met for a short visit last year when he came by my stand. Everything was perfect,” she said. “I slowly settled the crosshairs behind the shoulder and gently squeezed the trigger. NOTHING!”
But the problem, she soon realized, wasn’t the gun.
“I called Trey to tell him my gun was messed up, and he asked if I had loaded it,” she said.
Time to try again
After loading the gun, Phillips waited for another chance. This time, she got settled, gently squeezed the trigger. But again, NOTHING.
She looked at the back of the gun and noticed she had forgotten to pull back the hammer. So she pulled it back, anticipating that the deer would be moving on shortly. But there he stood, offering her a shot.
“She settled the crosshairs and once again squeezed the trigger. The bullet found its mark, spraying matter violently into the air. The matter in the air was sand, and the mark was the dirt in front of the deer. Her Old Man ran off without even a scratch.
“Immediately I regretted pulling the trigger. I waited all this time for this opportunity. And then I bombed it,” she said.
Luckily, the Old Man kept coming around, and was seen on other outings by every member of the Phillips family, including son Troy and daughter Clara, who often join Whitney and Trey in the stand, enjoying family time afield, which, along with big bucks, is a major part of the Clarendon Club story.
For the Phillips family, allowing bucks to mature to their full potential before harvesting them is their goal. Proof of their strategy is in the South Carolina state record book, where Trey’s name is written beside the 150 4/8-inch buck he killed on the property just a few short years ago.
On Oct. 13, the weather was just right. Mr. Gene (Eugene Phillips — the patriarch of the Phillips family) commented that someone always kills a good buck around the middle of October. Trey took the kids to school, allowing Whitney to get in her stand. Her buck had been moving around a lot, and had been spotted making visits on neighboring properties.
Phillips got in the stand before daylight, watching and listening to nature as the woods awakened. With the first hint of light, she could make out the silhouettes of deer in the bait pile, as well as other deer meandering about.
One look through her Zeiss scope confirmed the Old Man was there. The moment of truth was upon her.
She also noticed another buck that was considerably larger than her long-time target. But she didn’t consider shooting that one. Not even for a second.
“The Old Man was MY BUCK. He is old and I have hunted him hard. It was the one that I was after. And it was more about finishing what I had started than anything else,” she said.
Once it was light enough, the Old Man moved away from the other bucks, offering Phillips an opening. She gently touched off the shot. The Old Man ran away.
“Oh no. I rushed it again,” she thought.
The other bucks had not left the scene. So she had a good feeling the Old Man might come back if she hadn’t hit him.
After 4 long minutes, he came back. He stood broadside, 125 yards away. Phillips settled the crosshairs and gently squeezed the trigger. A hard hit with a visible reaction as the buck kicked out his back legs let her know the bullet hit its mark. The end of this multi-year craze engulfing the spirit of the entire family was finally coming to an end.
After a hurried wait, she began the search for blood. She saw right away that her aim was true. The ground was littered with blood. Turning in the direction of his travel, she saw in the distance the Old Man’s white belly.
The game was over. She finally had her guy.
She called Trey, then Matt Taylor of Woods ‘n Water Taxidermy in Manning, and then to her son’s school to ask Troy’s teacher to let him know the good news.
Once mounted, the Old Man will grace the wall of the Phillips’ home, and the stories of his adventures will be told for years to come. His legacy will always be remembered as another part of the Santee Cooper Life.
Today the SCOPe Board called a special online meeting to discuss rescheduling this fall’s conference in Aiken. Concerns about COVID-19 have led to discussions with the local tourism bureau and other partners, so our board has decided to delay the event until 2021. We appreciate your continued support as we plan for a great conference in the future.
Those interested in learning more about primitive and
survival skills might be interested in a two-day seminar in March that will
cover fire starting with bow drill and ferrocerium rod, flint knapping, water
purification, cordage making from natural fibers, archery, atlatl and more.
Other skills such as cast iron cooking, trapping, campsite
selection and many other valuable outdoor skills will be covered.
more details such as cost and registration information, location, etc., contact L. Woodrow Ross at email@example.com or call
“That Wild Country” by Mark Kenyon is excellent reading for SCOPe members and it contains a lot of historical information about the preservation of wilderness areas and some of the struggles of those who worked to preserve them.
The sub-title says, “An epic journey through the past, present and future of America’s Public Lands”. Mark Kenyon is an outdoor writer, has been published in Outdoor Life, Field and Stream and is a contributor to MeatEater, Inc. This is his first book. Kenyon traveled the U.S. to many of our most famous and beloved Parks and wilderness areas and detailed his personal adventures, but he went on to explain how these areas were set aside and protected. The text is a positive assessment of the needs for wild places, but it is also a warning of the need to continue to support the need for such places.
References are made to such groundbreaking and historical writings as Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac and Theodore Roosevelt’s “Hunting Trips of a Ranchman and the Wilderness Hunter.
You may not agree with all his statements, but it is a book that is well worth taking the time to read it.
Taylors, SCPete Rogers Outdoors announces the airing of Christian Outdoors Podcast
Christian OutdoorsPodcast will be hosted
by longtime award-winning outdoor writer photographer and speaker, Pete Rogers
of Taylors, SC. Christian Outdoors is a Podcast that will merge two
passions of host Pete Rogers. An ordained minister and longtime outdoor
communicator, Pete Rogers saw a need in the industry to bring these two
passions together into one place. For over twenty years Pete Rogers has
dedicated his life to promoting the hunting, fishing and outdoor lifestyle.
While simultaneously working to spread the gospel through a variety of avenues.
podcast gives me another avenue to reach an audience I may not have reached
before.” Rogers says. “And it allows me to expand beyond the normal avenue for
communication commonly found in the outdoor arena.” For decades the majority of
the communication has been through written word. More and more people are
turning to Podcasts to get their information. “As someone who loves God and
loves the outdoors, I think I bring a unique perspective to the microphone. As
a trained minister and longtime contributor to the hunting and fishing and
outdoor arena, I believe I can offer a podcast that can merge these two
Christian OutdoorsPodcast will cover a
wide array of topics near and dear to the heart of host Pete Rogers. Rogers is
dedicated to covering all areas of outdoor lifestyle. “I have long been
entrenched in the hunting, fishing and trapping arena, and love it there. But
there are dozens of other outdoor activities that we can reach with this
podcast. I hope to include episodes on camping, backpacking, hiking, skiing, off-road
riding, mountain biking, and anything else I can think of.” In addition, there
will be interviews with well-known outdoor folk who are passionate about Christ
and what he has done for them. When the opportunity presents itself, Rogers
will also cover topics many Christians struggle with and seek to address those
in a positive manner.
hopes to be a podcast that will enlighten, broaden and transform people in a
variety of areas. “I want Christian Outdoors Podcast to be a place where we
discuss all things outdoors and how we can enjoy God everyday” Rogers says.
Outdoors Podcast will
be available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play, Android and other podcast
platforms beginning October 1, 2019. To find out more, go to, www.christianoutdoors.org and learn more about the
podcast and host Pete Rogers. To contact Pete Rogers or to schedule him to
speak at your next event, you can email him at; firstname.lastname@example.org
About Pete Rogers Outdoors
Rogers Outdoors is the brand behind outdoor writer and author, photographer,
and seminar speaker and Podcaster Pete Rogers of Taylors, SC. Pete Rogers
annually produces over 100 articles and more than 400 photographs for various
outdoor outlets. An award-winning writer and photographer, he is the author of
two books; Times Well Spent: Ramblings
from a Sportsman’s Life, winner of 2012 Best Book from the South Carolina
Outdoor Press Association and his latest book, released in spring of 2018, So, You Want to Hunt Turkeys. He is also
the Host of “Ralph and Vicki’s OffGrid Podcast” with Outdoor Television
legends, Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo. For more information or to request him to
speak at your next event contact him at; email@example.com. Or Pete@christianoutdoors.org
with primitive weapons is something that is earned by repetition and
hard work. It requires good hand/eye coordination and being physically
fit for some skills. It would not be advisable for a person that is not
dedicated to learning these skills to set out on that path. If one
desires to hunt extremely successfully, it would be a good plan to use
firearms. On the other hand, if one is seeking a challenge and a doorway
to the most exciting way to hunt, primitive weapons are the way to go.
key to using primitive weapons and tools is to practice diligently to
hone your skill. When using atlatl or bow, developing good form and
having good concentration is important. Use of primitive weapons is like
shooting foul shots in basketball. There are no sights, it is a balance
of hand-eye coordination and concentration on a tiny spot on the target
or animal that you desire to strike. Repetition is the key. Practice,
hunting with any weapon, especially primitive weapons such as atlatl or
bow and arrow, it is vital that you not fall into the trap of looking
at the entire animal when the moment of truth arrives. You must pick out
that tiny spot on the animal that will result in a humane kill. We owe
it to our quarry to be the best that we can be.
all who make and use primitive weapons choose to hunt. Many enjoy the
opportunity to master skills that our forefathers practiced on a daily
basis. Flint knapping, making bows and arrows, making atlatls, cordage
making, fire starting and many other primitive skills are a way for us
to experience how our forbears lived. We can establish a connection with
the past in a very real sense. The satisfaction of developing skills
that seem foreign to our modern world is very attractive to those of us
who walk to the beat of a different drum.
is our wish that this text will start you on a pathway that will be
very rewarding. It will not always be easy, but it will open your eyes
to the past in a very genuine way. Godspeed on your journey to knowledge
that is as old as humanity.
Jim Mize shares his experience of buying rural land in three months,
from narrowing down the ideal location in his search to visiting
properties to choosing the perfect fit for his needs.
Month 1: Narrowing down the Search
When I first graduated from college, I lived in a rural area. I could
turn my bird dog loose in my backyard and take off walking. During my
working years, all that changed with a couple moves to mid-sized towns
and a larger city. Now, I’m entering a new career and thinking rural
living sounds like the way to go. The next question to answer is, “Where
do I start?” You might be in the same mindset so my journey could be
often use the quote, “Three things matter when you choose where to
live: location, location, and location.” But for rural living, what does
After some thought, I decided to think about where I would go and how often, and then balance my location to give consideration to my travel. For instance, I will be writing full-time about the outdoors, so being in the outdoors matters. I fish several streams regularly, so access to public land is a plus.
Check out this over the slot Redfish caught in the upper Wando river. Angler ( Steve Healey ) The weather is heating up and the fish are on the bite both inshore & offshore. Mahi are hitting the docks hard and will soon be on the grill of every avid saltwater fisherman. Get outside, listen for a gobble, chunk a cricket, throw a fly or just enjoy our great outdoors. Looking forward to seeing you in, on or around the water soon.