Lowcountry waterfowling

By Matt Winter

Published in Tideline magazine, November/December 2012 issue

TLducks2

Photograph by Matt Winter

Ask most good ol’ boys and they’ll tell you the pecking order of Lowcountry hunting goes like this: Deer, then turkey, then waterfowl.

Just about anybody can hunt deer, whether on a small piece of private land, a big hunting club or deep in the Francis Marion National Forest. You just need a shotgun or rifle, the right licenses and some camouflage (and blaze orange on public land).

Turkeys are lot harder to hunt and a lot harder to find. You need more camo, turkey calls, ground blinds and special shotgun chokes and loads. You also need a good bit more know-how and access to relatively unpressured forest land.

Waterfowl hunting? That’s a different beast altogether. Boats, blinds, calls, waders, decoys and a good retriever are just the start. You have to gear up for an amphibious endeavor in cold weather and navigate a complicated web of federal and state regulations. Just identifying your prey is tough — recognizing a deer is a lot easier than telling the difference between a mottled duck and a ringneck zipping over your head in low light.

Continue reading