Game Time

The first rule of composition is “write what you know.” So, the topics covered on this page are generally things that I have personally seen and done, or of which I have fairly extensive knowledge.  But today’s topic requires that I admit something…I’ve never been hunting in my life.  However, I can certainly sit down and eat wild game with the best of them!  Sumter County is home to a range of hunting opportunities, so there’s something in season most of the year for the outdoor sportsman.

I’ve always thought of hunting as a winter sport, probably owing to childhood memories of my uncles setting out on frosty mornings in November and December.  But one of my colleagues is married to a dedicated sportsman and she recently told me, “Well, you know hunting season is almost here.”  Actually, no, I didn’t.  So, I had to educate myself—and quickly!

The Midlands abound with a variety of game:  white-tailed deer, wild turkey, beaver, fox, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, dove, quail, waterfowl and hogs.  But it’s not as simple as going out, bagging something, and bringing it home to be dressed, cooked and served up for dinner.  There are strictly enforced regulations regarding seasons for different types of game, weapons, time of day, permits, et cetera.  The sport really does require dedication and knowledge equal to that of any other outdoor pursuit—probably more, actually.  A lot more.

I have pretty much figured out that buck hunting on private lands in our area (SC Zone Five) begins for archers on August 15, and for shooters on September 1.  At Manchester State Forest,  Sumter County’s primary public Wildlife Management Area, bow hunting begins on September 1, and shooting is permitted beginning September 15.  But please don’t just take my word for it, because you should always remember that safety always comes first (and hikers—like me—are using the trails at Manchester, too).  The SC Department of Natural Resources also hosts a variety of events, including youth hunts, private draws and even alligator hunts (although not in Sumter!).

What I hope to provide here are some helpful links, whether you’re out for a trophy buck or just aching to try out your grandmother’s recipe for squirrel stew (and I’ve tried squirrel, by the way, and I don’t know about yours, but my grandmother’s was excellent).  Please click any of the following for more info:

Now, if you love the food but not the activity, please watch this space for upcoming information on the annual Sumter Green Fall Feast, taking place September 20.  It’s one event that is guaranteed to satisfy your taste for the wild!

Even though I used to be pretty good at target archery, I’ll leave this one to the boys (although ladies, you are certainly welcome).  But, hey…if you don’t mind, let me know when dinner’s served, okay?  And happy hunting!

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