The following press release has been disseminated to all daily newspapers and more than 90 percent of non-dailies in South Carolina through the South Carolina Press Association.

In lieu of a President’s message:

For Immediate Release

SC Outdoor Journalists

honor ‘True Santee Icon’

Kevin Davis, owner of Blacks Camp on the Diversion Canal between the two Santee Cooper Lakes, was presented the Bennett Kirkpatrick Award, the highest individual honor bestowed by the South Carolina Outdoor Press Association (SCOPE) at the organization’s recent conference on the lakes.

The late Bennett Kirkpatrick of Rock Hill, a member of SCOPE, was the first recipient of the award which is made periodically to recognize the special merits and achievements of individuals who have served the organization exceptionally well and have achieved excellence in outdoor sports. Not only an accomplished and much-published outdoors writer, Kirkpatrick was also a consummate outdoorsman, recognized for his hunting and fishing expertise.

Davis, who is also a professional fishing guide, has hosted his own outdoor television show and regularly works with outdoors communicators to promote fishing and hunting opportunities around the lakes. In making the presentation, SCOPE President Terry Madewell called him a “true icon of Santee Cooper Country Outdoors.”

“You are the epitome of what we want to find in someone when honoring them with the Bennett Kirkpatrick Award,” said Madewell. SCOPE is an organization of professional outdoor communicators who strive to increase public awareness, understanding and appreciation of the outdoor heritage in the proper and ethical use and enjoyment of natural resources.

More than 30 outdoor communicators, including half a dozen members of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association who attended the 32nd annual SCOPE Conference, spent several days fishing for bass, striped bass, crappie and trophy catfish on the Santee Cooper Lakes. Some also hunted deer on The Clarendon Club near Summerton, S.C.

While the weather was unseasonably hot with temperatures hovering in the mid- to upper 90s, there were plenty of fish caught and some deer, mostly does, were seen from the deer stands, but no trophy bucks were moving, Madewell said. “The fishing ranged from awesome to sweaty, but productive,” he said, noting that some of the participants experienced excellent catches. “For instance, Phillip Hunt, a dedicated mountain trout angler, hooked, fought and landed a 32-pound blue catfish.”

While the journalists found plenty of story material on the lakes and nearby, they also took home plenty of news material from presentations made at the conference. News information was provided by

Charles Ruth, Deer and Turkey Project Supervisor for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR); Levi Kaczka, SCDNR Fisheries Biologist for the Santee Cooper Lakes; and Ross Self, Chief of Fisheries for SCDNR.

Ruth explained the new deer tagging program in effect for South Carolina deer hunters this fall which eliminated specific does days and provided tags that can be used throughout the season.

Ruth also discussed the new turkey hunting season dates, effective next spring, which reverts back to a split season between the upper state and lower state. The season in Game Zones 1 and 2will run April 1-May 10 and in Game Zones 3 and 4 the season will run March 22-April 30. The statewide Wildlife Management Area (WMA) season is April 1-May 5.

Ruth said that in an effort to stop the spread of Chronic Waste Disease (CWD) into the state’s deer herd, the SC DNR had prohibited the use of natural scents for deer hunting in South Carolina. Ruth said the reason is Chronic Waste Disease (CWD) is is a legitimate threat to have major negative impacts to the SC deer herd and any such natural products have the potential to transmit the disease to new areas.

Ruth said the agency is doing everything it can to prevent CWD from entering the state. CWD, which is spread by deer social interaction and even from portions of the deer, including urine and other gland secretions, eventually kills the affected deer.

Kaczka discussed the current status of the blue catfish and striper populations in the Santee Cooper lakes. Currently, both species are doing well. The new striper regulations with a three-fish creel and a 23-25 inch slot limit, with the option of keeping one striper that measures over 26 inches as a trophy, have been highly successful for anglers while also biologically sound for managing the striper fishery at a high level, Kaczka said.

The 2014 Blue catfish law that reverted to a previous law because of a sunset clause requirement that was not met, is set for discussion by the General Assembly to be possibly reinstated in 2020. The 2014 law contained specific creel and size limit restrictions on blue catfish and was highly popular with anglers and biologically effective according to SCDNR studies.

Self also commented on the agency’s role in revising the blue catfish regulations and discussed several Federal funding programs, explaining how these crucial funds impact South Carolina freshwater fisheries in positive ways.

Several seminars during the conference were aimed at improving the craft of outdoor communication. Jeff Samsel, a much-published outdoor journalist from Georgia, presented a program on using Go-Pro type cameras and cell phone cameras to back up and even enhance opportunities for excellent outdoor photography. Bloggers Phillip Hunt of Greer (, Brian Carroll of Mount Pleasant (TheOutdoorImage), Brian Cope of Edisto Island ( and Jim Casada of Rock Hill ( led a lively panel discussion on using blogs, websites and social media to communicate the outdoors experience.

Casada was the top winner in the annual SCOPE Excellence in Craft Contest, claiming four First Places for Best Magazine Story Over 1,000 Words, Best Electronic Story, Best Outdoors Newspaper Story and Best Outdoors Book. (See complete list of winners).

Pat Robertson of Blythewood was elected president of SCOPE at the annual business meeting and Tricia Perea of Aiken was named executive director of the organization. (See complete list of officers and directors).

Sponsors of the 2019 Conference at Blacks Camp included:

Santee Cooper Country ( Executive Director Mary Shriner,, (803) 854-2131

Blacks Camp ( Kevin Davis,; (843) 312-3080

Berkeley County ( Johnny Cribb, County Superintendent,; Barry Jurs, Director of Economic Development,

The Clarendon Club (@clarendonclubsc) Whitney and Trey Phillips,, (803) 460-9379

Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce (, (803) 435-4405

SCOPE Officers and Board Members Elected Oct. 2019

President – Pat Robertson, Blythewood.

Vice President – Jim Mize, Simpsonville.

Board of Directors – Brian Carroll, Mount Pleasant; Larry Chesney, Rock Hill; John Gribb, Beaufort; Dan Kibler, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Brian Cope, Edisto Island; P.J Perea, Aiken; and Larry Ross, Taylors. Terry Madewell of Ridgeway serves as Chairman of the Board.

For information on SCOPE, contact: Pat Robertson, (803) 309-3271,; Terry Madewell, (803) 338-0878,; or Jim Mize, (864) 256-5159,

SCOPE EIC Winners 2019 contest

Best Outdoor Video

1st – Brian Cope, Edisto Island – “How to Catch Crappie in Thick Grass Beds”

2nd – Brian Cope, Edisto Island – “Bush Hooking for Huge River Catfish”

3rd – Brian Cope, Edisto Island – “How to Net a Fish the Right Way”

Bob Glendy Award (Best Fishing Story)

1st – Terry Madewell, Ridgeway – “The Perfect Blend of Tactics”

2nd – Terry Madewell, Ridgeway – “Big Hearts in a Small World”

3rd – Dan Kibler, Winston-Salem, N.C. – “Blackfin Blackout”

Best Magazine Story Over 1,000 words

1st – Jim Casada, Rock Hill – “Just Needed to Fish and Find My Soul”

2nd – Terry Madewell, Ridgeway – “10 Rules on How to Lose a Giant Catfish”

3rd – Dan Kibler, Winston-Salem, N.C. – “Blackfin Blackout”

Best Magazine Story Under 1,000 Words

1st – Larry Chesney, Rock Hill – “Fishing”

2nd – Jim Casada, Rock Hill – “Sling Shot Fishing”

3rd – Jim Mize, Simpsonville – “Boot Eatin’ Dog”

Best Electronic Story

1st – Jim Casada, Rock Hill – “Of Catfish and a Smelly Old Codger”

2nd – Pat Robertson, Blythewood – “Bone Shattering Fall Doesn’t Deter Deer Hunter”

3rd – Terry Madewell, Ridgeway – “Perfect Blend”

Honorable Mention – Jim Mize, Simpsonville – “You Buy a House But You Earn a Homeplace”

Best Outdoor Blog

1st — Larry Chesney, Rock Hill – “Replacing Moonshine with Flyline”

2nd – Corey Hunt, Greer – “Camping with Kids in the Cold”

3rd  – Jim Casada, Rock Hill – “December 2018”

Best Outdoors Newspaper Story

1st – Jim Casada, Rock Hill – “October  in the Hills”

2nd – Terry Madewell, Ridgeway – “Fishing-Medicine for the Mind and Body”

3rd – Phillip Hunt, Greer – “Worms”

Best Outdoors Book

1st – Jim Casada (Editor), Rock Hill – “The Greatest Deer Hunting Book Ever”

2nd – Pete Rogers. Greer – “So You Want to Hunt Turkeys”

3rd – Jon Wongrey, Sumter – “A Covey of Tales”

Best Outdoors Photograph

1st – Terry Madewell, Ridgeway – “Go Green”

2nd – Dan Kibler, Winston-Salem, N.C. – “Blackfin Blackout”

3rd – Phillip Hunt, Greer – ” First Sunrise”