Spring turkey season
Statewide- An estimated 50,000 hunters will take to the woods during the upcoming turkey season, generating an estimated $30 million in direct expenditures for South Carolina’s economy.
Season dates for private lands are March 20 to May 5 statewide. For all Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) where turkey hunting is allowed the season will open on April 1 and close on May 5. The statewide bag limit is three gobblers per hunter with no more than two taken in one day. Possession and use of Turkey Tags remains in effect for all hunters.
Hunters on WMAs should consult the annual Turkey Regulations Guide for seasons and bag limits on specific WMAs as they may be more restrictive.
Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19, are Youth Turkey Hunt Days on private lands statewide. On WMA lands open to turkey hunting the Youth Turkey Hunt Day is Saturday, March 25. On these days, youths 17 and under who are accompanied by a properly licensed adult (age 21 and older) may hunt turkeys. Although adults may call or guide, only the youth can take or attempt to take turkeys. There is no license requirement for youths; however, tagging requirements and bag limits remain in place for these special youth days.
The outlook for the 2017 spring season is fair for most areas, according to Charles Ruth, Big Game Program coordinator for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). This is based on recent turkey harvest and reproductive trends. Annually since the early 1980s, SCDNR conducts a Summer Turkey Survey to estimate reproduction and recruitment of turkeys in South Carolina. The survey involves agency wildlife biologists, technicians and conservation officers, as well as many volunteers from other natural resource agencies and the general public.
“Reproduction in turkeys has generally been low for the last decade leading to significant declines in harvest,” said Ruth. “However, recruitment (into the turkey population) has been somewhat better the past few years in many parts of the state and the spring 2016 harvest responded with about a 10 percent increase. Although the total recruitment ratio of 1.6 during summer of 2016 was still low, it was slightly better than 2015. Therefore, if trends hold the harvest in 2017 should be similar to that in 2016.
“The bottom line,” Ruth said, “is the state’s turkey population remains about 30 percent below record levels around the turn of the century. We need better reproduction for several years to get the population back up. That is the nice thing about turkeys, though--given the right conditions they can naturally bounce back in a short period of time. Finally, South Carolina turkey hunters should keep in mind that this ‘decline’ in turkeys is shared by most Southeastern states. Research is ongoing in a number of states including South Carolina in an effort to determine why turkey numbers have decreased.”
For more information on wild turkeys including how to order turkey tags online, the 2017 Turkey Regulations, the 2016 Summer Turkey Survey or the results from the 2016 spring gobbler season, see the following link on the DNR Web site: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/turkey/index.html.
Banquet March 23
HAMPTON COUNTY- The Pocotaligo Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will host their annual Hunting Heritage Banquet March 25 at the County Line Building, 9340 Bamberg Highway (Hwy 601 N.), about nine miles outside of Hampton. The function will be a fun filled way to benefit and promote wild game management while filling you belly with delectable food and adult beverages.
As well as food and drinks, guests will be offered the opportunity to place bids on high-end, outdoor themed merchandise. Door prizes will also be given out to those in attendance.
Doors will open at 6 pm and the meal will begin 7:30 pm. Ticket purchases are 100% tax deductible and all proceeds go directly to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
For tickets and additional information about the event, please contact David Rowell at 1-803-942-4368.
Volunteers needed for
COLUMBIA, SC- The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is in need of volunteers to take precipitation measurements throughout South Carolina.
CoCoRaHS is a non-profit organization comprised of volunteers of all ages who work together to measure and map precipitation for natural resource, education, and research applications. Volunteers use low-cost measurement tools and an interactive website to report data that will be used by the SCDNR State Climatology office, National Weather Service, USDA, emergency managers, and multiple other entities and individuals. During the 31 days of March, states across the country compete to see who can recruit the most CoCoRaHS volunteers. The contest is broken down into two categories, Traditional Count and Per Capita, and the winning states receive cups they can exhibit for a year.
Join CoCoRaHS today, aid South Carolina in obtaining a trophy, and help to fill in a piece of the weather puzzle!
For questions regarding CoCoRaHS, contact SCDNR State Climatologist Hope Mizzell at MizzellH@dnr.sc.gov.
"Big Time" Music
coming to Festival
HAMPTON- There will be “Big Time” music for a “Big Time” Festival at this year’s 75th Annual Hampton County Watermelon Festival as the “Swingin’ Medallions” will be the headliner at the Festival Street Dance for 2017.
That’s right, the nine-member group, known as “The Party Band of the South”, will perform from 9:00pm until midnight on Festival Friday night.
“The Watermelon Festival Committee pulled out all the stops this year,” said Festival Chairman Robert Brown. “For our 75th anniversary the committee decided to bring you the best that we could buy. These gentlemen are known up and down the entire U.S. seaboard and are loved by all. They are fabulous entertainers and I think everyone in attendance will be pleased.”
In other Watermelon Festival music news, last year’s country band “Phun Pharm”, new to last the Street Dance, will be back again. Brown stated, “The country band last year was one of the best we have had in a while, so we decided to ask them back again. They were very versatile with their style of play and I saw more folks at the “Country” end of Lee Avenue last year than I have seen in a long time.”
Phun Pharm plays primarily in the Columbia metropolitan area and will also begin at 9:00pm on Friday night.
In other Festival news, the “Taste of Hampton County” will return to the Wade Hampton High School cafeteria. Last year it was moved to Hampton Elementary due to work being done at Wade Hampton. The “Taste” will start as it always does, at 7:00pm.
Becky Young and her sister Susan Vallotton (The Frock Shop) have revived the Miss/Teen Miss Watermelon Festival Pageant. The pageant will take place on April 29th at 7:00pm at Open Arms Fellowship Church on Highway 601 North.
Finally, the Festival Committee has decided to provide mobile bathrooms for the downtown area for 2017. The bathrooms will be set up on 1st Street on the lot next to the old Peeples-Rhoden Funeral Home across the street from Dale Ulmer’s Feed and Seed store on the empty lot. There are separate facilities for men and women.
The next Watermelon Festival Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 4th at 7:00pm at the Hampton United Methodist Church social hall on Mulberry Street in Hampton.
Fun Stuff to do!
Patrick Henry Academy is proud to announce that famed silhouette artist Clay Rice will be coming to visit the school, as part of its Spring Open House, on March 27th. Mr. Rice will be demonstrating his talents to the students beginning at 2:30pm and the event is also open to the public. Anyone interested in scheduling a sitting for their child with Mr. Rice, please contact Zoe McCrary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lake Warren State Park will be hosting its "Movie Night" on April 8th beginning at 8:00pm. The movie will be Walt Disney's Pete's Dragon. The show will take place at the stage next to the park office. Admission is free although donations are accepted and a concession stand will be provided that is reasonably priced. Debbie Elrod and State Farm Insurance is your sponsor for the evening. For more info call the park at 803-943-5051.
The Estill Fall Festival Committee is always looking for new members to help plan and put on its annual event. If you are interested in helping, please contact Ms. Vikki Woods at the Estill Town Hall at 803-625-3243. The committee meets the second Wednesday of each month at 6:00pm at the Bull Durham Building.