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Lakeside The Good Life on Lake Marion, South Carolina •November - December 2010

Gator Hunters catching the big ones

Finding Ferguson

Lake Marion’s lost town

Lake Marion

Birder’s Paradise

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2 ZZZ6XPWHU&KU\VOHU-HHS'RGJHFRP‡%URDG6W([W‡ November • December 2010 | Lakeside


in this issue

General Manager Gail Mathis gailm@theitem.com Publisher Jack Osteen jack@theitem.com

42

Articles & Research Robert J. Baker bbaker@theitem.com

30

12

36

ON Y Landmarks and Landscapes

4

At Home on the Course Shannon Greens adds townhomes

www.fmarion.edu www.fmarion.edu www.fmarion.edu

20

FOP hosts safety courses for novice, expert shooters 28

8

Finding Ferguson Once booming sawmill town, now South Carolina’s Atlantis 12 Santee-Cooper Lakes Catfish is reigning King

Lake Bait Machine provides unusual side job

18

Lake Marion: birders paradise

30

Short Season produces long hauls

36

Hunting Old-School at Santee Wildlife Refuge

42

Darren Price dprice@theitem.com Layout & Design Cary Johnson cjohnson@theitem.com Photography Robert J. Baker, Darren Price & Gail Mathis Contributing Writers: John Durant, Yana Mathis & Ray Winans

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Landmarks and Landscapes

T

he Santee-Cooper lakes, specifically Moultrie and Marion, cover Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Orangeburg and Sumter counties, providing nearly limitless recreational opportunities for those who love the outdoors in small or large doses. These counties boast Revolutionary War battle sites, grave markers of war heroes, museums dedicated to preserving watershed moments in state and even American history, beautiful churches that have sheltered the worship of Jesus Christ for more than two centuries; and wildlife reserves, swampland and nationally-recognized forests. For those people looking to pursue more in these areas than government meetings, cotillions and the annual events that each individual town cherishes, this compiled list should help explorers see what else is going on.

BERKELEY COUNTY

The Berkeley County Blueways consist of 175 miles of waterway comprised of 23 paddling trails in Lake Moultrie, lower Lake Marion, the Santee River and Francis Marion National Forest. Operated primarily by the Berkeley Soil and Water Conservation District, with funds from Berkeley County government and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the blueways are always viewed as an open invitation for recreational paddlers to experience and enjoy this region’s beautiful lakes, rivers, streams and wildlife. For more information, visit www.berkeleyblueways. com, email berkconsdist@homexpressway. net, or call (843) 719-4146. The Cypress Gardens, located on S.C. 52, eight miles east of Moncks Corner, provide a 250-acre park that features more than 80 acres of open swamp covered in bald cypress and water tupelo to make a unique habitat for waterfowl, numerous butterfly species, deer, opossum, bobcats, raccoons and the occasional snake and alligator. Specific attractions include the gardens’ Butterfly House, with live butterflies, birds, ponds and exhibits detailing the beautiful creatures’ life cycle; the Swamparium, an observa4 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

Berkley County •Calhoun County • Orangeburg County & Sumter County tion area featuring fish, amphibians and reptiles, including venomous snakes native to the area; and several walking trails made from dikes dating back to the rice fields previously cultivated at the site. The gardens feature a 24,000-gallon freshwater aquarium and flat-bottom boats, which hold up to six people, that meander through a designated path in the swamp. As long as they have a least one adult present, groups can see alligators and other wildlife. One upcoming event is “Santa in the Swamp,” where kids and even pets can take photos with Santa on Dec. 18. Local vendors will also present their unique handmade crafts right before the Christmas gift-giving season. The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, including Sundays, with last admission at 4 p.m. The park is closed only on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year’s Day, and parking is free. Admission is $10 for adults; $9, for seniors ages 65 and older; $5, for children 6-12; and free for children 5 and younger who are not part of an educational or youth group. The guided boat ride is $5, and on-site reservation is required. For more information, call (843) 553-0515 or visit www.cypressgardens.info. Francis Marion’s Gravestone is a popular attraction at Belle Isle Plantation Cemetery off S.C. 45 between S.C. 6 and Eadytown. Francis Marion National Forest was practically destroyed in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo, but the young growth that survived on its 252,368 acres situated in Charleston and Berkeley counties has emerged to make it a popular tourist attraction. The forest itself contains the towns of Awendaw, Huger,

Jamestown and McClellanville, and its headquarters are in Columbia, as are those of Sumter National Forest. Recreational opportunities include campsites, rifle ranges, boat ramps, hiking and biking trails and the famous Palmetto Trail. Mepkin Abbey, a community of Roman Catholic monks, was built in 1949 on the Cooper River, S.C. 402, north of Charleston, where historic Mepkin Plantation once stood. The brothers at Mepkin belong to the worldwide Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, popularly known as trappist. Visitors are usually interested in the church and the Nancy Bryan Luce Gardens. A guestmaster greets them at the Reception Center, answers any questions and directs them to the gardens. Guided tours of the church are provided at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday; and 3 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. The abbey is closed to visitors on Mondays. Groups of 10 or more visitors are asked to make reservations by calling (843) 761-8509. Old Santee Canal Park and Berkeley Museum are located on S.C. 52, near the Tailrace Canal in Monck’s Corner. Through Nov. 29, visitors can learn about “The First South Carolinians: The Life and Times of the First Cultures in the Palmetto State,” an exhibit that will be displayed 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day the park is open through the end of November. Anthropologists believe that lands once connected Russia and Alaska, giving the Paleo Indians a way to cross into North America; within 1,000 years of that immigration, South Carolina had its earliest residents. Featuring 27 exhibit panels and eight objects, this traveling exhibit from the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia is free with


regular park admission of $3 per person. In mid-December, the park’s Stony Landing House will be “dressed-up for the season� from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11 and 1-3 p.m. Dec. 12. The tour is free with regular park admission, and there is no requirement for pre-registration.

CALHOUN COUNTY

The Calhoun County Museum, located at 303 Butler St., St. Matthews, contains an art gallery, along with agricultural galleries and a research room with archives. For more information, call (803) 874-3964. The Congaree Bluffs, located on Turkey Track Lane near Fort Motte and St. Matthews, provide nature walks ranging from easy to strenuous. The Educational Center may be used by groups centered around natural or cultural resource goals, with an application submitted to the Calhoun County Conservation District, 904 F.R. Huff Drive, Suite 104, P.O. Box 528, St. Matthews, SC 29135, for approval 30 days prior to use of the center. For more information on the bluffs, call (803) 874-3337.

CLARENDON COUNTY

Fort Watson, located nine miles southwest of Summerton, was originally a substructure for an Indian temple dating back to the late prehistoric period. Because of its strategic location, the mound here was used by the British to build a fort during the American Revolution. On April 15, 1781, Gen. Francis Marion and Lt. Col. Henry Lee circled

the fort, and after Maj. Hezekiah Maham constructed a tower to overlook the British stockade, the Americans retook the first post gained back from the British in South Carolina during the war. Santee National Wildlife Refuge, located in North Santee and Summerton, was first opened in 1941. Of its 13,000 acres, only 4,400 are owned by the refuge, with the remaining acreage managed through a lease agreement with the South Carolina Public Service Authority, also known as SanteeCooper. The refuge manages 10 conservation easements on private lands, totalling 458 acres in Bamberg, Barnwell, Clarendon and Orangeburg counties. The refuge serves as a major wintering area for ducks and geese and a stopover area for neo-tropical migratory birds, raptors, shore birds and wading birds. Endangered and threatened species at the refuge include the American alligator and the wood stork. The public may use the Visitor’s Center, which features exhibits, walking trails, an auto-tour route, wildlife observation and hunting and fishing opportunities.

The Visitor’s Center is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. The refuge trails and grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through March 31; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., April 1 to Aug. 31. For more information, call (803) 478-2217, or email santee@fws.gov. Pocotaligo Park, located at the intersection of U.S. highways 301 and 521, has a 1,296-foot boardwalk leading from the highway into the Pocotaligo Swamp, where it winds through 40 acres of swamp and timberland. The park is open each day during daylight hours and is free to the public. Taw Caw Park, located off Wash Davis Road in Summerton, has an extensive set of boardwalks around Taw Caw Creek, which empties into Lake Marion. A popular spot for fishing, the area has a playground, picnic shelters, volleyball courts and is free and open to the public during daylight hours. A $5 rental fee is required for the picnic shelter. For more information, call (803) 473-3543.

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Weldon Auditorium, North Brooks Street, Manning, will open Dec. 3-4 with a Grand Opening Celebration Weekend, after which the Columbia City Ballet will perform Dec. 14. For more information, visit weldonauditorium.org.

County Legislative Delegation. The lights are displayed on a half-mile vehicular trail through the gardens and include 25 animated and 14 motionless displays along with 60 lighted cherry trees and a

ORANGEBURG COUNTY

The Branchville Railroad Shrine and Museum, 7204 Freedom Road, Branchville, is located at the world’s first and oldest railroad junction, featuring a line that once operated on the country’s first scheduled passenger train. At one point in the 1800s, Branchville sat on the longest line in the world, the 183 miles stretching from Aiken to Charleston. Call (803) 274-8820 for hours and admission prices. The Edisto Memorial Gardens and Home Wetlands Park, off Seaboard Street in Orangeburg, is host to the Memorial Gardens, where less than 600 Confederate soldiers gathered to defend Edisto River Bridge, and a marker honors this site, which they eventually abandoned for Columbia. The gardens were first developed in the 1920s with azaleas planted on five acres of land. A greenhouse was added in 1947, followed by a rose garde in 1951. The gardens displays past and current award winning roses from the All-American Rose Selections, with more than 4,000 plants representing at least 75 labeled varieties on display. The Children’s Garden Christmas is a popular holiday attraction, giving the gardens an annual light display provided by the city of Orangeburg, the Department of Public Utilities, the Council of Garden Clubs and the Orangeburg

kids’ walk with 14 more displays, all of which vary from six to 20 feet. The displays are lit daily beginning the Monday before Thanksgiving through the first week of January. Horne Wetlands Park was added to the gardens in 1992 and features a 2,600-foot boardwalk where visitors can meander through a tupelo and cypress wetland. This park is completely handicap accessible. For more information, call (803) 534-6821. The Elloree Heritage and Cultural Museum is located on Historic Cleveland Street in downtown Elloree, about seven miles from Santee off Exit 98 at Interstate 95. Started in 1998 as part of the downtown area’s revitalization efforts, the museum boasts a rotating series of exhibits in its 10,000-square-foot facility and specifically focuses on rural life of the past. The museum opened Oct. 5, 2002, with its Farm Wing being the first part

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open to the public. For more information, call (803) 897-2225 or visit elloreemuseum.org. I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium, located at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, is named for the first African-American chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, Isreal Pinkney Stanback. Started in the basement of the college’s library in the early 1970s, it features a 40-foot planetarium dome, located across the foyer adjacent to the galleries, and has an auditorium capacity of 82 seats and a Minolta IIB Planetarium Projector. Educational programs for schools may be arranged by appointment two to four weeks in advance. Admission to the museum is free, but fees for programs vary. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m., Monday-Friday. Call (803) 5367174 for more information, or visit www. draco.scsu.edu. Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery, located at 427 Lakeview Drive on the S.C. 21 bypass in Orangeburg, is one of more than 60 federal fish hatcheries located in the United States. For more information, call Hatchery Manager Willie V. Booker at (8030 534-4828 or email the hatchery at orangeburg@fws.gov. Vallentines Cotton Gin and General Store provides “a peek into the past” off U.S. 301 in Cop, 13 miles south of Orangeburg. Call (803) 534-7105 for more information.

SUMTER COUNTY

The Church of the Holy Cross, an excellent example of Gothic Revival architecture, is located in Statesburg, off S.C. 261. For more information, call (803) 494-8101.

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The Cultural Center on Haynsworth Street in Sumter contains both the Sumter Gallery of Art and Patriot Hall. Housed in a newly renovated facility, the gallery operates as a non-profit art institution and features rotating shows of both traditional and contemporary art by local, regional and nationally-recognized artists. Three formal exhibition galleries are offered along with free group tours by reservation, volunteer opportunities (with docents receiving free membership), catered opening receptions for all exhibitions and classroom space available for rent. Classes are offered throughout the year for kids, teens and adults. Summer classes are a great way to get kids out of the house. For more information, call (803) 775-0543, or email director@sumtergallery.com or frank@ sumtergallery.com. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; 1:30 to 5 p.m., Sunday. Located at 135 Haynsworth St., Sumter, Patriot Hall combines the grandeur of the past with the superb acoustics, versatility and state-of-the-art technology of the future. Local actors and musicians have a state-of-the-art facility at which to perform, and the venue frequently hosts national and international acts, including the Moscow State Symphony of the United Soviets Socialist Republic, the Charleston Ballet, the Atlanta Symphony, the U.S. Coast Guard Band and a variety of touring plays and musical productions. For more information, call (803) 436-2260.

The Sumter County Museum and Historical and Genealogical Research Center and Backcountry Homestead, located at 122 N. Washington St., Sumter, sits in a southern mansion built in 1916. The museum is popular for its living history demonstrations and its Backcountry festivals, which appear each fall and spring. For more information, call (803) 775-0908 or visit www.sumtercountymuseum.org. Swan Lake Iris Gardens, one of the premier swan observatories in the world, is located on West Liberty Street in Sumter. Its renown is due in part to its status as the only public park in the United States serving as home to all eight species of swans, including black necks, royal white mutes, coscorobas, whoopers, black australians, whistlers, bewicks and trumpeters. The park began in 1927 as a private fishing lake for wealthy businessman Hamilton Carr Bland, who began landscaping his garden with Japanese Iris flowers. The park has an open-air Garden Street picnic shelter, the covered Heath Pavilion that seats 200 comfortably and the enclosed Visitor’s Center with conference/reception space for 125

         

people. Tables are located throughout the grounds, and a large playground features an antique fire engine perfect for climbing. The Bland Gardens feature a boardwalk, on which visitors may meander through a cypress swamp, and a gazebo popular for spring weddings. Though internationally renown for the annual Iris Festival, which brings visitors to Sumter from around the world each May, the gardens are also home to the Festival of Lights, which will begin its 23rd year at 6 p.m. Dec. 1. The 150-acre park will be illuminated with more than 1 million lights and 150 lighted figures. This will also be the 31st year the park features the Floating Christmas Tree, which features the word “Noel,� the Old French word for Christmas. The tree began through a fundraiser by the Sumter Pilot Club. The entire lighted display is the work of the City Parks and Gardens employees. Call (803) 778-5434 for more information about reservations for any of the park’s facilities or email tourism@sumter-sc.com.

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Shannon Greens Golf Club Manager David Barton looks at improvements to the course in late July. The club recently added an Island Green, modified several holes and built town houses to lure new members.

8 November • December 2010 | Lakeside


At home on the course By: Robert J. Baker bbaker@theitem.com

Shannon Greens adds town homes, Island Green

W

hile typical golf course employees are courting new members and keeping up with the demands of current clientele, the owners and operators of the site once called the Clarendon County Country Club are hoping to draw residents after recently finishing several town homes and a few major renovations at the course. “We did it because we believe it can help the club grow,” said Manager David Burton about the twobedroom, two-bathroom homes built this year at the course. “Each home is 1,100 square feet. “For about $150,000, buyers will get a comfortable dwelling and several club incentives. “Purchase of a home includes a year’s membership and free carts for a year,” Burton said. “We also have all the appliances ready in the home ... A membership is usually close to $3,000 and then people spend up to $2,000 on cart fees each year.” He said courses typically don’t establish real estate holdings: owners Warnie Conley II, Nita Cantey and son Warnie Conley Jr. believe the move will set their club apart. “This usually isn’t something a golf course would do, build homes like this and market them,” Burton said. “What usually happens is development happens

santeelakeside.com 9


Top Left: Nita Conley, one of the owners of Shannon Greens Golf Club, looks at Pro Shop merchandise with the club PGA Golf pro Glenn Wells. Above: The golf club built several town homes earlier this year to lure new residents and new members. around the course, but it’s by other companies. We just thought this would be a unique way to get some people in. And we hope that it’s ultimately successful and leads to more homes.” Conley and his wife, both avid golfers, said in 2007 they wanted to have a course that could still challenge them, even as its owners. Burton said additional changes to the course are in keeping with this philosophy, noting the addition of one par-3 and one par-5 to the course, bringing the course total to five each for those categories. The club’s new “Island Green,” a pictureque landscape that puts the hole on an isolated island, will be its newest attraction for golf aficianados, Burton said. “The Island Green is our centerpiece, really,” he said. “It’s an island, but it does have a bridge going to it so players can get there to putt. “We also (constructed) a lot of ponds, about four more than we had before.” He said the course changes add variety and difficulty to the game. “The benefit to our players and members is that there are more rounds of golf, and the Island Green as a par-3 hole adds a challenge,” Burton said. The eight other holes on the course are par-4. “We’ve also remodeled our pro shop,” Burton said. .”We’ve got new windows where a wall used to be and a new roof on the cart facility.” Burton said the club, which opened in 1963 under its previous name, serves about 120 members and maintains 10 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

a 65-cart fleet. The club is the county’s oldest golf course, and the elder Conley set out from the beginning of his family’s ownership to make it the county’s best one, too. Part of that effort saw the Conleys work tirelessly on the greens, adding the club’s restaurant area and enlarging several of the club’s lakes and ponds, using the fill dirt to build up low spots in the club’s fairways. “(The name) was changed to Shannon Greens in 2007 after the current owners bought it,” Burton said. “The course was in bad shape and they wanted to make it a better place.” Shortly after the club changed owners, the Conleys also hired 28-year-old Manning native Glenn Wells, who now serves as the club’s PGA head golf professional after two years as an assistant golf pro. A graduate of Laurence Manning Academy, Wells says he “grew up on the 13th hole” of the club during its previous incarnation and has worked at Spartanburg and Sumter golf courses. Wells and Burton offer individual and group golf lessons, and the club offers a driving range, a pool and a full-service bar in addition to the 18-hole course. “The pool can be used by anyone for $5 a day,” Burton said. The club’s hourse are 4 to 9 p.m. for its bar, except Sundays; 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily otherwise. For more information, call (803) 435-8752.


It’s not just a metaphor for troubled relationships

W

Stormy weather affects even food safety.

hether it’s an ice, snow, wind or rain storm, severe weather can leave you without power, sometimes for several days. “Lost power can be a potential food safety problem with perishables in freezers and refrigerators,” said Pam Schmutz, public information specialist with Clemson University’s Home and Garden Information Center. “It’s important to pay close attention to weather forecasts. If you know, for example, that ice accumulations are in the forecast, you can take steps to protect your refrigerated and frozen foods.” Here are some tips Schmutz offers for keeping foods safe in the event of a power outage. • With a weather forecast as your guide, you can turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings. The colder the food is before a possible power failure, the longer the food will last. • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and one in the freezer to see if your perishable foods are being stored at safe temperatures – 40 degrees or less for the refrigerator and 0 degrees for the freezer. Most foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria that multiply rapidly at temperatures above 40 degrees. • Group meat and poultry to one side or on separate trays so their juices will not contaminate each other or other foods in case of a thaw. • Avoid opening the freezer door. That will let that much-needed cold air escape. • Keep a clean cooler on hand. Buy “freeze (freez) pak” inserts and keep them frozen for use in the cooler. • Find out in advance where you can buy dry and block ice.

• Add bags of ice or dry ice to the freezer if it appears the power will be off for an extended time. Use three pounds of dry ice per cubic foot of freezer space. A 50-pound block of dry ice placed in a full 18-cubic foot freezer should keep food safe without electricity for two days. • Dry ice is frozen at negative-216 degrees, so you must wear rubber gloves or use tongs when handling it. Don’t let it touch your skin. Wrap the dry ice in brown paper for longer storage, and separate it with a piece of cardboard from direct food contact. Fill a partially empty freezer with crumpled newspaper to cut down on air currents, which cause the dry ice to dissipate. Make sure you have good ventilation where you use dry ice, which is solid carbon dioxide. Don’t cover the air vent openings of your freezer. • If your power goes off and the temperature stays below 40 degrees, foods should stay cold. When the power returns, check the thermometers in your freezer and refrigerator to make sure temperatures have stayed below 40. • Discard any perishable that has been above 40 degrees for two hours or longer and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. • If it appears that power will be off for more than six hours and room temperature is above 40 degrees, transfer refrigerated perishable foods to an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs. Keep a thermometer in the cooler to check the temperature. • Thawed foods that still contain ice crystals may be refrozen unless they have been at temperatures higher than 40 degrees for more than two hours. Thawed foods that do not contain ice crystals but have been kept at 40 or below for two days or less may be cooked and then refrozen or canned.

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santeelakeside.com 11


Finding Ferguson

Once booming sawmill town now South Carolina’s Atlantis 12

By: R. Darren Price dprice@theitem.com November • December 2010 | Lakeside


I

t’s no secret that there is history under Lake Marion. If you go to the Clarendon or Orangeburg County Archives, you can find articles about Revolutionary War battlefields, antebellum plantations and family burial plots now obscured by the lake’s waters. Find a local amateur archaeologist, and he can probably show you ancient American Indian tools that waters have churned up and washed ashore. But there’s one piece of South Carolina history under the lake that, unless you know who to ask, has been completely lost. That piece of history is a turn-of-thecentury logging town called Ferguson. Abandoned in 1915, submerged in 1940 and until about two years ago, completely forgotten, the former logging boomtown is a Lake Marion historical enigma. In 2008, drought brought down lake waters far enough to expose the town. The foundations of a building that once housed a huge sawmill and the structure of what used to be a wood kiln were all that was left of the town founded in 1895 by the Santee Cypress Lumber Company. Lakegoers could follow a line of cypress trees normally partially submerged from the landing to find the town and walk among the ruins. And though state law prohibits residents from plucking artifacts from the town site without an amateur archeologist’s license, that didn’t stop some. “I’ve found all sorts of stuff,” says Buddy Walker, 64. “But it’s been taken away.” Others, like Dwight Stewart of Manning, just walked along the ruins, trying to learn what they could. Stewart, a forestry consultant, wrote an article on the town for a newsletter. He didn’t take anything but a few pictures. “I appreciate the history of the area,” he said.

The low water table proved to be a high-water mark for the town’s history. Stewart’s article along with a couple others from local newspapers, and that was it: the waters went back up and Ferguson’s profile sank. But why did Ferguson disappear in the first place? Bad Bookkeeping In 1910, railroad historian Tom Fetters said Ferguson was ahead of the curve. It had a hotel complete with 63 rooms, houses for blacks and whites and running water and electricity for all. But by 1916, The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg wrote that the town was a shell of its former self. “Homes have been deserted, club rooms lay idle and the modern lighting and sewage systems are used no more,” the report said. “Lots of valuable stuff is going to junk.” If it sounds like the town was just shut down overnight, it’s because it was. Francis Biedler Sr., the Chicago businessman who owned Santee Cypress decided to shut the operation in Ferguson after losing his sight to macular degeneration in 1912. “He couldn’t go down to look at the books,” Fetters said. “So, he decides to shut it down when he hears things aren’t up to snuff.” And when he shut it down, he decided to sell everything in the town with it -- the sawmill, the huge Santee Cypress railroad engine, even the rail ties used to get into the city. And since Santee Cypress owned everything from the hospital where workers were frequently treated for malaria down to the water lines, the workers had little reason to stay. According to The Times and Democrat, the only town’s inhabitants were “rats and insects” by 1916. But Fetters said that isn’t the only reason Ferguson is a forgotten town. If you look through the Orangeburg santeelakeside.com 13


County Archives, the earliest mention of the town is in 1910, despite the town being in existence for 15 years. That’s because the town and surrounding area spent much of its existence in territorial limbo, as it was tossed from one county to another. Before the town was part of Orangeburg County, it was in Berkeley County. Records from the town between 1895 and 1909 could be found in the county’s archives in Moncks Corner, but Fetters said most records from that time are probably long gone, if they ever existed. A long mud road between Ferguson and Moncks Corner was seldom traveled. “They were the forgotten end of Berkeley county,” Fetters said. Any surviving information before that regarding the Santee Cypress, its founder, B.F. Ferguson, or Biedler, Fetters said, would likely be somewhere in Charleston County - Mount Pleasant, now in Charleston County, was the Berkeley County seat until 1895.

Only the foundation slabs are still visible where Ferguson once boomed in Orangeburg County. The town was abandoned and then flooded to make Lake Marion in the 1940s.

14 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

What was life like? Just ask Kenney Funerburke of Sumter. While he never worked for Santee Cypress, he is a living history of logging in America. After graduating from the University of Georgia for forestry in 1950, he worked in the industry in the southeast and and set up logging operations in Brazil. Funderburke had three words to describe the life of a turn-of-the-century logger. “It was tough,” he said. The people who lived in Santee Swamp, as Santee River basin was then called, faced constant risk of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria. Funderburke said they often faced the risk of being crushed by falling trees. “The pay was low, danger was high, and the mortality rate was considerable,” he said. For much of the late 19th century, boat travel was impossible on the river; Fetters said Santee Cypress and other logging companies without alternative ways to transport lumber simply let rafts float through the state’s waterways to Charleston. But Fetters said things started to turn around for the town after Ferguson sold his stake in the company to Biedler in 1905 to settle things with his estate before he died in 1906. Biedler went about making the Ferguson settlement a boom town. He built 53 homes for white workers and another 97 for black workers, along with a hospital, company store, school, bank and a 60-room hotel. Running water from two 600-foot wells and and electricity from a 10-boiler power plant supplied the town with utilities. Rail lines were built so wood products could be shipped on Santee Cooper’s massive steam engines, rather than floated downstream. The lines also made life easier for workers from Eutawville, who previously had to make a four-mile trip each day. “A lot of people from Eutawville would just stay the night,” Fetters said. No records ever suggest the town had a church, though. According to a Times and Democrat report from 1912, a pastor had to come to the town once per month to minister to the 800 or so men and women


who lived in the logging boom town. The Work By all accounts Santee Cypress’ operation in South Carolina was a huge one, and at the center of it all was Ferguson. Biedler and Ferguson started the company to take advantage of the quality cypress forests in the region and bought about 120,000 acres on which to log -- about 10,000 acres more than Lake Marion. Biedler’s grandson, Francis Biedler III, said the area’s cypress forests were lucrative because the wood was so rot resistant. “You could use it for railroads and water towers,� Biedler III said. “They used it for anything you didn’t want to rot.� Fetters said workers would girdle trees for months with chains before cutting them down. This was done to drain sap from the tree. After chopping them down, they floated them them to the town, where the trees sat in a collection pond before being dried in the town’s electric kiln. Fetters said the kiln was powered by electricity rather than by wood or coal, which was advanced for the time. Then they would be processed in the town’s massive sawmill. Able to process 80,000 feet of wood boards each day, the mill was large, even by today’s standards, Stewart and Fetters both said. “It was really big,� Stewart said. “You would expect to see one-half that size today.� After that, workers would make boxes from the finished boards. Fetters said cypress boxes were popular in the day because corrugated cardboard boxes, though invented in the late 19th century, weren’t widely available. Fetters said for its day, Santee Cypress’ logging operation was pretty advanced. It was also profitable. According to 1953 letters from Fred Seeley, who managed the lumber mill at Ferguson from 1896 to 1906 and again from 1909 to 1911, the

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logging operation was the one only profitable in the southeast. “Anybody could make money with logs, a good mill crew and booming prices,� he said. The Atlantis of South Carolina By 1916, there were less than 30 families living in the town that used to be Ferguson. The population, mostly transient, went where work was, so by the time Lake Marion’s waters rushed through the town, it was already a ghost town. Still, some of Ferguson survives. In 1978, a former logger’s son, Walter Hulbert, then 70, visited the area. “I can close my eyes and see the whole town,� he told The Times and Democrat. “I can sit here and picture the town just as it was laid out.� But Hulbert wasn’t the only part of Ferguson’s legacy. When Biedler shut down the operation in 1915, he kept some of the land. His family sold of about half of its holdings when the Santee Cooper Project was building the dam that would create the lake for $12 an acre -- a good price for the time. The family set aside part of the lands for what is now the Congaree National Park and Francis Biedler Forest in 1967. They still own about half of the acreage, and sell “stumps� -- basically rights for loggers to cut trees down. Francis Biedler III still lives in Chicago, and though he never knew his grandfather -- Biedler, Sr. died in 1924 -- he is still intrigued by Ferguson. “I absolutely regret not visiting it while the water was down,� he said. “If I had the chance, and that sort of drought occurred again, I’d be there.� Until then, Biedler and everyone else who wants to visit will have to wait for Lake Marion’s forgotten city to resurface. “It’s like the Atlantis of South Carolina,� he said.

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Autumn, Christmas times for creative, easy decorating By: Jane Collins

A

utumn may be the time of falling leaves, but it also signals some great decorating opportunities. Look on the ground, and you may be amazed at what can be used for decorations, especially for holiday wreaths. Magnolia pods, cotton bolls, nuts, pinecones of all sizes and sections of scrub pine are tailor-made for pocketbook-conscious decorators. Of course, there are a few basics worth the original investment – hot glue gun and glue sticks, wire (No. 26 is particularly useful), ribbon and a wreath frame. Look around to see what else you have. If you have children or grandchildren, consider a wreath made from all those plastic toys collected at driveins. Wire them in a wreath, add a few ornaments (hot glued or wired) and some ribbon. Don’t do bows? No problem. There are two easy ways to “erect” a decorative bow. Select two or three shades of ribbon that appeal to you. Christmas is not just red and green. There are many other combinations – turquoise and green or gold or silver, magenta and lime green. The choices are endless. Make loops of ribbon strips doubled over and hot glue or wire them to the wreath. Remember to use an odd number and place them in a star shape. Repeat the same procedure with another color and size, filling in between the first set. If you want more color, add a third set of loops, remembering to fill in the gaps. Fluff the loops and add a center ribbon loop to complete the effect. Another method allows you to double bigger loops, using wire to twist them in the middle, forming two sections. Again, these can be wired or hot glued. Finish the bow by adding ribbon tails a length that you find appealing. If you are into a more traditional look, combine 16 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

magnolia pods – you can even spray the edges with artificial snow or gold or silver paint for added excitement. Add pods, magnolia leaves arranged either in a ring or groupings of three, ornaments or other interesting objects. Check out discount stores for potpourri with added items: nuts, curls or colored fruit. Dump the basic potpourri into a container and place it into a bathroom or kitchen for fragrance. Then wire or hot glue the interesting shapes into your wreath. Add your bow, and you are one step closer to your holiday spirit. Closer to Christmas, visit places that sell live trees and ask if you can have the scraps from trimmed trees. Usually they are willing to give you left over pieces to save having to sweep them up. Add those to your wreath or a centerpiece for color and aroma. Make centerpieces using these same materials. Add a few candles placed at differing levels but not too high to interfere with seeing across the table. Save toilet paper and paper towel holders. If you have candlesticks, make decorations to fit between the candle and holder. Cut the paper roll your desired length – 1 or 2 inches tall – and wire or glue small ornaments, fruit and greenery to form a colorful circle around the candle. Another option is to cut a circle of Styrofoam to fit around the candelabra, leaving the center big enough for the candle to go through and up to 1 inch beyond the rim itself. Consider checking a gift shop or furniture store for discarded foam instead of buying it. Use your imagination combining small ornaments, greenery, and loops of ribbon to form mini-wreaths for around your candles. “Undecorating” is another important process. Save cardboard boxes and flatten them to single sheets, collect toilet and paper towel rolls. Cut holes in the cardboard, wire your bows or whole wreath to the cardboard by tying the wires in the back, stuff the


bows with the toilet rolls, paper or crunched plastic bags, poke a central hole in the top of the cardboard and hang the bows or wreath unit from nails or hooks in your attic or garage. If you wish, cover the whole thing with plastic sheets from places like Lowe’s or large plastic cleaner bags. They will stay shaped and ready for next season. Remember to keep your eyes open for bits and pieces, special sales and items from Mother Nature. Christmas is just around the corner. And Christmas is a great time to share family treasures. You can collect favorite photos, group them in tiers to form a tree, cover the bases with cotton, decorated packages and sprigs of pine. Top the uppermost picture with a box, piece of greenery and several colorful ornaments tied together with thin ribbon or wire. Gather stuffed toys; place them in groups around the tree, putting them on decorated packages. Remember that levels are interesting to the eye, so be creative here. If you are a collector of other things – nativity sets, Santa figurines, cups and saucers – arrange them into focus groups. Highlight them with greenery, ornaments and bows. Share those items that have special family meaning. Assemble a group of assorted candlesticks, varying the heights and sizes. Use single or compatible colors of candles. Add continuity by surrounding them with greenery – magnolia, ivy or holly leaves – bits of ornaments for color or berries, making sure the berries do 



 

  not get close to food or where “little fingers� might pick them.

Fireplaces and door frames are great stages for holiday impact. Artificial or live greenery makes a great frame for those areas. Add pieces of wired or glued pods, ornaments, bows, ribbon tails and pinecones. For an extra splash, gently spray on gold, silver or snow. If you have lights, wire them into the bough, making sure the lights are suitable for outdoor if they will be in the weather. Look for interesting tree branches. Spray them white, gold or silver. Using thin ribbon and bows, hang small ornaments and/or cutout pictures of family faces. Anchor the branch in a gaily sprayed pot, add a bow and a sprig of green and place the finished product where it can be enjoyed – kitchen or bathroom counter, end or coffee table, wherever. Another quick decorating idea involves collecting one or several plain glass containers and filling them with Christmas candy such as red and green M&Ms. The major danger lies in having to refill the bowl on a constant basis and finding time to work off those pounds! Think ahead. Save those extra special Christmas cards. Place them in frames to share year to year. Reserve a spot on the front or side of the refrigerator for a card “tree,� or tape them around a window or door frame. The holidays are a time for sharing. Be inventive and use the time to open your family and friends to those things which give you joy. By all means, have a selection of holiday music ready for you as well as for company.

 

                                        

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On Santee-Cooper lakes, Catfish is reigning King

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a lot of the shoreline structure and the Triploid Grass Carp have pretty much taken care of the grass. I could be wrong, but I believe that the lack of structure and the destruction of the grass, which is a vital link in the food chain, has lowered the bass population to some degree and made it more difficult to catch what is still there. These lakes are still a fine bass fishery, and you can just look at some of the stringers the professionals turn in when they fish there. But now, it takes a lot more work and time than the average man can afford to give it. Some of our local bass fisherman do quite well, but then they specialize and fish enough to be able to stay on the fish when they find them. For the average guy who works five days each week and does yard work on Saturday morning, fishing is tougher work. Fortunately, while the bass fishing may have declined, another fishery has been booming, as fishing for catfish in the lake system has become the surest way to put fish on the table. Whether you’re going for flatheads, blues, channel cats or any other whisker fish, along with any averagesized bream, the fishing options for this particular species seem endless. Anybody – and I do mean anybody – can cast any glob of hooked worms into the water from the shoreline in the early evening and have a really good chance of catching one. There are, however, several better ways and places to catch these abundant fish. I’m going to give you a few locations that seem to

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he only thing that ever remains constant is “change.” I’m sure you’ve heard that mentioned more times than you’d care to remember, but it’s true. I can remember all too well when the Santee-Cooper lakes system was a world-class largemouth bass fishery. The average guy on the street could go to the lake and have a reasonable chance of catching “Mr. Big.” After all, the state’s record largemouth, a 16-pound, 2-ounce behemoth, was caught on Lake Marion. As a young lad, I blistered the bass from Wyboo Creek all the way to the upper reaches of the Sparkleberry Swamp. Back then, there was plenty of shore line structure and a lot of grass in the lake. But this is now: Time has eroded

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produce well for fisherman while telling you what those men do in those particular areas. It’s by no means an exhaustive list detailing each and every way to get the best haul, but it is, as they say, what the locals do, even if they don’t all agree. The Diversion Canal area, the body of water joining lakes Marion and Moultrie, possibly has more catfish in it per cubic foot of water than any other body of water in the state, and most of its inhabitants are blue cats. Unfortunately, this means that the area also has the greatest density of boats per acre as well. But all things being equal, those boats are catching fish. Period. Two methods seem to work best here: still fishing, anchoring and fishing on the bottom; and drifting with the current, bouncing the bait just off the bottom as you go. They both catch fish, and I’ve seen plenty of stringers come from the canal where the average fish was more than 10 pounds. The baits run from shad, to cut herring, to prepared stink baits, but they all seem to work well. Access to the canal is relatively simple if you just follow S.C. 6 and stop at Hill’s Landing right where the road passes over the canal. You’ll find most guide services and guys after the big fish chasing the flatheads in open water. Flatheads prefer live bait, while the super-large catfish like BIG live bait, so the first thing you’ve got to do is catch the bait. White perch and bream about the size of your hand and blue black herring are good choices; I’ve done well with the bream and perch. The added kick is catching the bait! The trick here is to have a boat big enough to handle the open water should it get rough, which it does. Good electronics on board are a must, as is a good graph recorder. After you catch a supply of bait, consult a good topographic map of the lake bottom and search the drops; old river and creek channels; and underwater humps. You’ll be looking for the telltale mark of a big fish, above which you’ll want to set your anchor. At this point, I should point out that sturdy tackle is a

Catfish:

• 1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets, rinsed and patted dry •1 box (8.5-ounce) corn muffin mix • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning • 1 egg • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour • Canola oil, for frying

Remoulade:

Catfish Sandwiches with Cajun Remoulade

• 1 scallion, finely chopped • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise • 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic • 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

good idea. A bass rod loaded with 17-pound line is not going to cut it. You’ve got to have something with a fast tip and more backbone than you think you’ll ever need, honestly. These fish can, and do, exceed 20 to 30 pounds on a regular basis. Fish even larger, some between 40 and 50 pounds, are not that uncommon, so you need to come prepared. Bait up the big rods with whole, live fish and drop the baits around the prey. If he’s there, he’ll bite. It may take him a while, but it’s worth the wait. The effort can be turned into a family affair by purchasing a couple of tubs of stink bait – like Doc’s Catfish Getter Dip – along with the plastic lures used to hold the bait. Dip baits are a vile-smelling, nasty bait to handle, but they work. Most of the fish drawn by stink bait are channel and blue cats that measure up to three or four pounds, although big ones will show up sometimes. Find a shallow flat close to deep water, something a topographical map will help you do, and cast out. Sit back and wait for the action to start. When it does, you may have to put away all but one rod apiece. I’ve done really well around Goat Island and Nelson’s Cut with these baits as well as around the “Blowout” of the river. My son Robert and I always had the best time catching “frying-size” cats from the flats with stink baits. No matter where you decide to fish, or what method you decide to use, catfishing is a great way to get the line on your rod and reel stretched while putting a feast on the table at the same time. Old wives tales insist catfish are best caught at night, and you surely can catch them at night. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: Catfish bite really well in the middle of the day, and when the weather is at its hottest. A sweltering July day, with no wind blowing can yield plenty of catfish after lunch. Bring plenty of ice to keep on your fish, and to keep your drinks cold. During the next 20 to 30 years, catfishing may die off while another species takes its place as the No. 1 fish on the lake, but that’s just another byproduct of change. Until that happens, there will be one constant for me: You can believe I’ll be fishing for ‘em.

Sandwiches:

• 1 loaf store-bought garlic bread, baked per package directions • Butter lettuce • Sliced tomatoes • Sliced red onions

muffin mixture. Set aside on a plate. In a deep-fryer or large pot heat oil over medium to medium-high heat to 375 degrees F. Fry catfish until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove to plate lined with paper towels.

Catfish Directions

Cajun Remoulade:

Cut catfish fillets in half; set aside. In a pie dish or plate, combine corn muffin mix and Cajun seasoning; set aside. In a pie dish lightly beat egg with 1 tablespoon water to make egg wash; set aside. Dredge each catfish fillet in the flour; dip into egg wash and coat with corn

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Set aside. remoulade sauce. Build sandwiches with fried catfish and remaining ingredients. Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee, 2008, www.foodnetwork.com

santeelakeside.com 19


Lake bait machine provides unusual side-job

I

By: Robert J. Baker bbaker@theitem.com

f you were one of the few customers of Cassandra Walton’s bait vending machine when it was located at Cooper’s Landing on Lake Marion, you can still get the critters and other essentials needed for your fishing trip. But you’ll have to go to Santee. The 25-year-old stay-at-home mom recently moved the machine to the Piggly Wiggly at Santee, where she says it is picking up more customers. She initially placed the machine at Cooper’s after store owner Helen Cooper Love closed the store for a time due to some health issues in her family. The machine, which holds everything from bait, tackle and lures to snacks and drinks, is an admittedly unusual side-job for Walton. The Sumter resident got the idea for such a contraption during a fishing trip to Lake Marion. “I just knew it was going to be a goldmine,” Walton said excitedly in July talking about her machine. She and her husband, Shane, had taken some time away from their busy work and home lives to fish at the lake, but the couple was unable to find needed supplies that they’d left behind. “It was on the weekend, but none of the stores were open,” Walton said, noting that some were likely closed due to an off-season period. “I thought to myself, ‘They need to have a vending machine to dispense this stuff,’” she said. “I thought I was going to go home, get this thing patented and start

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making some money!” Further research ended any dreams of patenting the idea, as Walton found her breakthrough had been first manufactured and sold more than 30 years ago. “I wasn’t too deterred, though,” she said. “I’m not really a quitter. I knew that we still didn’t have anything like this around here, in Sumter or at the lake in Clarendon County, so I knew I could still do well here and help people get what they need at the same time.” Walton discovered that the machines were first produced up north, specifically in Maryland and Pennsylvania. “The ones that are like the one I have are made in Maryland,” Walton said. “So, I ordered one, and it came in like a week or two. All I had to do was find a

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location for it.� Love agreed to let Walton put the new machine at Cooper’s Landing. “She thought it would be good for her (then) as her store’s closed (due to death in the family),� Walton said. Walton’s refrigerated, temperature-controlled machine contains everything from live bait to cold drinks. “I have three different sizes of fishing line, four different sizes of lead -- weights, split shot weights and bullet weights,� Walton said. “There are three or four different sizes of corks. I have three different sizes of fish hooks.� Live bait includes blood bait for catfishing, as well as dragonfly larvae, grasshoppers, silkworms, green worms, red worms, nightcrawlers, beetles and minnows. Bug-repellant wipes and Mountain Dews round out the machine, which Walton said is usually about 85percent full. “It will hold 400 items and I put everything I could think of in it,� she said. “It’s also guaranteed delivery, which means there’s a sensor in the bottom. If it doesn’t sense that something dropped out, within so many seconds it will return your money.� Clear glass allows customers to see what they’re buying. Walton checks the machine weekly to restock and clean it. “Worms can last up to a month in the machine,� she said. “Minnows can last one week. If I come after a week and I’ve still got minnows, I take those home with me and bring back new ones.�

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Walton works with local bait distributors to provide the freshest bait. She said prices vary, but blood bait, which costs $5, is her most expensive item. She said currently, she focuses on her one machine, but that she hopes the idea will pick up and let her expand into other lake markets and back into Sumter. “I would love to fan out and open up more places,� she said. “I’d like to be at different places at the lake and cover all points.� Walton said she’d welcome suggestions on what else to put in her machine. For more information, call (803) 418-9295.

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SUMTER 15

38

Sparkleberry Landing

CALHOUN

Pack's Landing

37

1

Low Falls Landing

RIMINI

LONESTAR 33

Elliott's Landing

6

36

Carolina King Retreat & Marina

267

Cameron

34

28

ARBUCKLE'S LANDING

Poplar Creek Landing

Elloree

3

32

4 Santee State Park

ELLOREE 36

ORANGEBURG

EADYTOWN

5

24 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

25 29

La Ma

Mill Creek Marina

Vance

210

7

Lakeside Marina & Resort

9

6

453 210

Reevesville

Goat Island Resort

Lake Marion Resort & Marina

36

Bowman Orangeburg - 25 miles Florence - 56 miles Sumter - 30 miles 178 Summerton - 5 miles Manning - 8 miles

Polly's Landing

26

Taw Caw Campground & Marina

John C. Lan Boating Fac

Santee 6

176

27

30

267

301

Taw Caw Creek Landing

Santee Lakes Campground

31

6

Taw Caw Park

Cooper's Landing and Guide Service

33

267 176

CLAREN

Jack's Creek Landing

Stump Hole Landing

2

Summerton

35

10 Hide-a-way Campground Marker 79 Marina

Eutawville 8

45

Bell’s Marina

EU SPR

176

Holly Hill 453 176

3

Harleyville

27


WILLIAMSBURG

Manning

Kingstree

521 23

DON

24

Lake Vue Landing

ake arion

BERKELEY 14

Rocks Pond Campground

12

UTAW RINGS

Wilson’s Landing

19

Blount's Landing

45

Lane

Randolph’s Landing

20

11

52

52

Lighthouse Pointe Family Campground

21

Scarborough Marina

Salters

Greeleyville

J&J Marina

22

III lity

377

13 Spier’s Landing

6

18

Harry’s Fish Camp

17

Mac’s Landing & Camp

16

45 Harry’s Fish Camp

Hill’s Landing

K

Big Oak Landing & Campground

M

Canal Lakes Fish Camp

Mac’s Camp Angel’s Landing

L

A

45

Quattlebaum’s Campground

N

15

Pineville 52 Palmetto Trail St. Stephen 35

52

B C

Big Oak Landing & Campground

D

Canal Lakes Resort

E

Hill’s Landing Black’s Fish Camp

F

L & M Campground S & S Campground

6

Cross

Lake Moultrie

41 Bonneau Beach Resort

J

Bonneau

11

52

G

6

Atkins Landing

17 Riverside Marina and Restaurant The Dock Restaurant

H

Moncks Corner

17

I

santeelakeside.com 25


Lake Marion Map Information

33 Arbuckle’s Landing..................................... 803-478-5260 8 Bell’s Marina.............................................. 803-492-7924 14 Big Oak Landing & Campground................ 843-753-2285 11 Blount’s Landing........................................ 803-492-7773 15 Canal Lakes Fish Camp.............................. 843-753-2271 35 Carolina King Retreat & Marina................. 803-478-2800 32 Cooper’s Landing and Guide Service.......... 803-478-2549 7 Cypress Shores Marina............................... 843-351-4561 36 Elliott’s Landing......................................... 803-452-5336 29 Goat Island Resort...................................... 803-478-8165 18 Harry’s Fish Camp...................................... 843-351-4561 10 Hide-a-way Campground........................... 803-492-9695 16 Hill’s Landing............................................. 843-753-2731 34 Jack’s Creek Landing.................................. 803-478-2793 23 J&J Marina.................................................. 803-478-2490 25 John c. Land III Boating Facility.................. 803-854-2131 5 Lake Marion Resort & Marina..................... 803-854-2136 9 Lakeside Marina & Resort.......................... 803-492-7226 21 Lake Vue Landing....................................... 803-478-2133

22 Lighthouse Pointe Family Campground...... 803-478-2138 1 Low Falls Landing...................................... 803-826-6050 17 Mac’s Landing & Camp.............................. 843-871-1224 6 Mill Creek Marina....................................... 803-492-7746 37 Pack’s Landing........................................... 803-452-5514 30 Polly’s Landing........................................... 803-478-2351 3 Poplar Creek Landing................................. 803-897-2811 20 Randolph’s Landing....................................800-BIG-CATS 12 Rocks Pond Campground........................... 803-492-7711 31 Santee Lakes Campground......................... 803-478-2262 4 Santee State Park....................................... 803-854-2408 24 Scarborough Marina................................... 803-478-2184 38 Sparkleberry Landing................................. 843-761-4068 13 Spier’s Landing.............................................................NA 2 Stump Hole Landing................................... 803-826-6111 26 Taw Caw Campground & Marina................ 803-478-2171 27 Taw Caw Creek Landing................................................NA 28 Taw Caw Park................................................................NA

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Car insurance: Myth v. Fact

enerally speaking, those of us who own a car or a house only think about insurance one time a year – renewal time. Insurance is just not something that most normal people spend a lot of time studying. It’s not rocket science, but it can be confusing for the everyday consumer, especially when there are a lot more myths out there along with false information. I’m going to try and help out by dispelling a few of the more prevalent myths. Myth – A rock hit my windshield and now I have a crack across the entire windshield. I’ll just take it to Turner’s to have it fixed. They don’t charge me anything, so it’s free. Truth – Fixing broken windshields is not “free.� Number one, the insurance company won’t pay for it unless you have comprehensive coverage on your policy. Number two, if you have enough claims, your rate may be increased. Myth – If I have an accident, I need to just sit in my car until law enforcement shows up. Truth – If your car is drivable, and you can safely move it, get it out of the roadway. I know this from personal experience. There is nothing safe about a stopped car in the middle of the street or highway. Myth – I got caught speeding. My rates are going up. Truth – One ticket will not necessarily make your

premiums go up. If your ticket is for speeding more than 25 mph more than the limit, then you may get an increase. By the same token, if you have several tickets for fewer than 10 mph more than the speed limit, then the insurance company might think you are at an increased risk for an accident and raise your rates. Myth – My friend was driving my car and had an accident. Not to worry, his insurance will pay the claim. Truth – The insurance goes with the car. If your friend had an accident in your car, then your insurance company will pay the claim. That’s why it’s important to know who is driving your car. Make sure you tell your agent all the drivers that are in your household as well as anybody else who will be driving on a regular basis. Myth – Drivers with red cars get more tickets. Truth – Contrary to popular belief, the color of the vehicle has no bearing on the premium. There are many factors involved in the cost of the premium, such as age of the vehicle, age of the driver(s), driving record and credit score, just to name a few. An aside – when you call your agent and tell him that you want to take a car off the policy, when the agent asks you which one, don’t tell him, “The blue one.� We need just a little more information than that. John DuRant is the owner of DuRant Insurance in Manning. He can be reached at (803) 435-4800 and john@durantinsurance.com.

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FOP hosts safety courses for novice, expert shooters By: Robert J. Baker bbaker@theitem.com

28 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

O

sama bin Laden was used for target practice by both experienced and novice marksmen Sept. 11. The apropos drill that used the elusive Al-Qaeda leader’s visage on more than 13 targets served as the penultimate exercise for a long morning of gun safety training provided by the Fraternal Order of Police. More than 20 enthusiasts came out to the Holly Hill Airport, with many being concealed weapons permit (CWP) holders. Through different drills posing varying senarios, the shooters fired on their targets from as close to three yards away to as far as 25 yards away. “We’ve got room for one more (person) to shoot Osama,” said past President Bob Carr after participants had endured more than three hours of rigorous, yet exciting training. “Most everyone out here has their CWP,” Carr said. “We do this about two times a year, offer these kind of training sessions. We go through various drills, some from different perspectives or angles and show people how to defend themselves with a firearm in case of an attack.” Both Linda McCall of Manning and Dee Cowden of Santee said they have never needed to use their CWPs to deflect violent attacks, each woman said they see the value in being prepared. “I’m not a part of the group, but I came out here to learn more about firearms,” said McCall, who frequently smiled shortly after grimacing after a neighbor’s loud shot, one she wasn’t ready for quite yet. “I’m a CWP holder, and this is the second time I’ve come to one of these trainings,” she said. Cowden said she came out for some “group therapy,” showing a t-shirt that situated shooting guns as group therapy.


“This is not my first time, no,� she said. “I came out to shoot and have fun and learn a few things.� Carr took the shooters through several drills, including “the drive-thru teller machine, from both sides of the car,� “the bump drill� and the “Lay-z-boy drill.� While the drive-thru drill was likely the easiest drill, the bump drill put shooters close to the would-be attackers, who were represented by targets propped on vertical wooden slats. “The bump drill puts you right up there, less than three yards away,� Carr instructed. “You push yourself away with one hand while grabbing the firearm, and you shoot. All the drills are quick, just like real life, but this is probably the quickest one.� For the Laz-y-Boy drill, the retired law enforcement officer told his eager students to use a desk or table as a base to shield the body from attacks from home invaders. “You have to get up, get down and fire,� he said. “You need to be in the ready position as soon as possible.� Carr said the ready position looks “like you’re about to fight.�

    

    

   

“You have to keep your eyes on the target and your hands in the ready position,� he said. “You don’t want to get out in that situation and just give it to him. Stick your gun right in front of you and fire; protect yourself.� Carr said the organization is “dedicated to the protection of law enforcement officers, active and retired, along with promotion of officer benefits.� The group has more than 325,000 members worldwide and employs a full-time lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Carr said the gun safety courses provide added assurance for students. “They learn what they need to know to protect themselves, and they leave knowing they can,� he said. “But this protects our officers, whether those that came today (Sept. 11) are law enforcement or not as it helps them not make an attack much worse where they and a responding officer could be hurt or killed.� McCall said she thoroughly enjoyed her second time practicing at the FOP’s makeshift firing range. “I’ve learned a lot,� she said. “I know that when you face a human, it’s different, but I think maybe this would help me if I were. I’ve never had to go through that, and hopefully I never will. But I’ll be ready if I do.�

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Lake Marion: birder’s paradise By: R. Darren Price dprice@theitem.com

W

hen Susie Heisey started working as a park ranger, she didn’t think she would become a birder. It just came with the job, she said. “People would always want to know what this or that bird was,” she said. She probably didn’t think she would drag her parents into it either.

30 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

“Her interest has generated ours,” said her father, Tom Ahfeld. But after being a park ranger for 10 years, birding has become a fulltime hobby for Heisey; one that’s rubbed off. It’s fitting Heisey would work at Santee National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge on the North Shore of Lake Marion is a birder’s paradise with 296 species of fowl. Created as a summer sanctuary for subtropical birds and a winter one

for northern waterfowl, the refuge is home to more than just birds. With events throughout the year, it’s a great place for families of birders. The wildlife refuge was created in 1941 to protect wildlife habitats endangered by the creation of the lake. The most diverse group of animals in the area nearly 60 years ago were the birds. The refuge’s three units each have different common species, but Heisey said the


area is known for its waterfowl, including five species of geese that migrate to the area during the winter months. “We have over a dozen species of waterfowl in the winter,” she said. “That’s why people come out.” The high diversity of species make the area great for birders like herself, said Heisey. At the refuge’s northernmost Bluff Unit, there are observation areas atop an ancient American Indian burial mound, where birders can see songbirds in the surrounding trees in the summer, and up to five species of geese. About a mile out on a trail in the unit sits an observation deck, where birders can peer over the refuge’s cornfields for birds of prey. At a national birding event Oct. 10 called “The Big Sit,” Heisey, her parents and other birders identified 44 species of birds from the observation deck. The refuge puts on other birding events throughout the year; the annual Christmas Bird Count at the refuge usually turns back about 130 species, and the refuge’s Santee Birding and Nature Festival from April 29May 1 is the state’s only nature festival. Heisey said birders flock to the refuge much like the area’s birds. If Caroline Stoner is any indication, Heisey is right. The 68-year-old bird enthusiast leaves Newark, Del., each year to vacation in Hilton Head. The refuge is on her way to the beach, and Stoner said she drops by periodically to see birds. A birder since 1982, she said she doesn’t get to the refuge as much as she’d like. “I don’t get out here nearly enough,” she said. Stoner, an experienced birder, has seen a lot of birds from all over the globe. One she hasn’t seen: the painted bunting. The bird, which looks like it has more in common with Toucan Sam than it would any North American songbird, can be seen around the lake. Despite

her regular visits, the painted bunting eludes Stoner. “I’ve never been in the right place at the right time,” she said. “They say you have to see them between April and September.” Despite missing the painted bunting, Stoner said birding is still a great hobby. “It’s just wonderful to be out in nature like this,” she said. But birders don’t have to make it their hobby for 20 years to enjoy it. Heisey’s parents, Patti and Tom Ahfeld didn’t begin pointing binoculars toward trees until their daughter got them into it. “It’s just a great thing to do outdoors,” Tom said. Tom said he enjoys birding, even though he can’t name birds as aptly as their daughter; at the Big Sit, Heisey identified most of the species found from sight while the family peered over the open field at the refuge’s observation deck. Tom said he and his wife don’t expect to be as quick to identify fowl as their daughter – they’re more “backyard” birders than anything else. “We see a lot of the same things,” Patti said. “We have a pretty large lot at home.” Patti said she enjoyed the variety she got while birding at the refuge. The group saw an few owls the morning of the Big Sit, something she didn’t expect. “I didn’t know they were out during the day,” she said. Heisey said that anyone can go look for birds, regardless of how novice or experienced they are. Heisey said the best part about birding, for her, is that she can get paid doing it. “I love that I can do this for my job,” she said. Even if you aren’t getting paid, Heisey said birding is a great thing to get into. “There aren’t that many hobbies that are this peaceful,” she said. santeelakeside.com 31


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This time is the right time ... for bass fishing By: Ray Winans

H

ello again, Santee Country. I hope that you haven’t gone straight to hunting and given up on the fishing just yet. It seems that the weather can’t make up its mind on either hot or cold. Those 50 degree nights and 70 degree days started the winter feeding for the fish. I’ve seen the bait fish start to congregate where they normally do this time of year and to me that’s the sign that fish will soon be close behind. The bass will follow these schools until it’s just too tempting not to eat one or two. I actually have caught some of these impatient fish after they missed their target. All it takes is a minnowtype bait or a top water to fool them into thinking they got a second chance. When the fish aren’t stalking the schools, you can bet they are on some sort of cover not far from the buffet table. I like to target those areas with small crank baits and my ole favorite sweebo worm from Gambler. Don’t waste your time around dead water. There needs to be something in the area for bass to eat in order to hold them there this time of year. I have heard of some good reports of schooling fish in different areas, so keep an eye and ear out to find those fish. My fishing has been pretty good as of lately. I have a new partner for the fall CATT trail and we have been able to catch fish, just not enough to win. Our last two stringers have been 14.5 pounds and 17.5 pounds. I did go by myself the very next Saturday after our last

tournament and caught about 13 pounds with five fish. All of these catches have come from above Interstate 95 on various baits. It seems that we have caught fish on just about everything the past few weeks. I am also hearing reports that the crappie in the upper lake are biting really good and if you want a challenge, there are some big schools of stripers on the lower lake feasting on shad. My sources tell me that the schools are staying up for long periods of time and big fish are in the schools. So when you get out of that stand early in the morning, head out on the water and fish until it’s time to go sit in the stand that evening. I promise you that your spouse or loved one will understand that it’s just that time of year that you spend every waking moment thinking of where or how to spend the day in the boat or in camouflage or perhaps both. Just keep a spare blanket behind the seat because you might need it. Now for my promise to keep up with the grass issue and the control of our nuisance weed, the sacred heart or official name, crested floating heart. It seems that our friends at Santee Cooper are trying their best to eradicate what I have deemed a possible blessing in disguise. The truth of the matter is, I do hope they can find a chemical to kill this aquatic growth, but on the other hand, have enough common sense to allow the vegetation to grow where there is no harm of having it. You see, I completely understand killing it in high traffic or recreational areas, and also around housing santeelakeside.com 33


areas, but not in areas where its existence causes no harm and allows our fishery to become great again. Why not let our lake grow our local economy to the fullest potential it can? This could be possible with this vegetation. The other question I would like to address, and has been brought to my attention is, since our lake water is being sold, what is the effect of all of these chemicals being sprayed in our lake having on that water sold to those communities? I guess the Environmental Protection Agency needs to answer that one. There is just one more thing I would like to address before I close. I recently read an article that had the individual who is in charge of weed eradication on Santee Cooper stating that fisherman are purposely carrying weeds all over the lake. I say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What!?â&#x20AC;? That is starting to sound a lot like the dirty smear campaigns that our politicians have stooped to. Just in case he is right, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to ask you fishermen to please leave the weeds alone and get back to fishing. Until next time, be safe and God bless.

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On the Lake John C. Land III Landing, photo submitted by Chris Walsh

phen Madison and Ste Dad. eir th th wi g fishin

Chuck Pylypchuk wit h his ten pound catfish caught off his dock on Sept. 29. He was fishing with a rod and reel using a yellow tail fish spinn er bait. Old River Road, by Chris Walsh itted photo subm

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santeelakeside.com 35


Gator hunters wrestle the ‘big ones’ By: Robert J. Baker bbaker@theitem.com

36 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

A

s one of the owners for the family business, world-class exercise equipment depot Sorinex, Irmo resident Bert Sorin knows about heavy lift-

ing. An All-American hammer thrower for the Gamecocks from 1995 to 1999, Sorin had little trouble killing a 550pound, 12-foot alligator Sept. 12 while hunting on Lake Marion. Sorin’s was one of the earliest kills during the state-supervised Alligator Hunting Season, which ran from Sept. 11 through Oct. 9. But it wasn’t the heaviest. That distinction goes to 115-pound, 5-foot-6-inch Mary Ellen Mara-Christian, who bagged a 900-pound, 13-foot-6-inch gator Sept. 16 in the swampy area in between Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion in Berkeley County. Like Sorin, the Massachusetts-born Mara-Christian came to the Santee-Cooper lakes to hunt gators, but her highest hope was for a 10-foot beast at most. Using a fishing pole to hook the giant reptile, Mara-Christian told the flurry of news outlets clamoring for her story that she battled the gator for two hours to get him even near the boat. South Carolina law stipulates that hunters must secure gators at the boat before dealing the lethal blow, which typically comes from a handgun. Eight shots weren’t enough, so the woman and her companions tried to break the gator’s spinal cord by stabbing him repeatedly. Severing the spinal cord ensures almost instantaneous death.


While Mara-Christian had the heaviest gator, two other South Carolinians claimed the longest. Barry Chastain Jr. of Rock Hill caught his 820-pound gator in Calhoun County; Christopher Richburg of Alcolu, in Clarendon County. Both their gators measured 13-feet8-inches. DNR officials stated that the smallest gator was 4-feet-6-inches long. The state Department of Natural Resources governs state alligator hunting, which was first allowed in 2008. The state is split into four units, with all of Lake Marion grouped into Unit 3, and each unit is allowed 250 permits – only 1,000 permits are given statewide. Once chosen through a lottery-like system, hunters may only hunt gators in the area in which they were chosen. The units are decided from a ranking system, with hunters ranking units in terms of priority on the permit application.

As both Mara-Christian and Sorin knew during their adventures, state law prohibits the shooting of freeswimming, basking alligators. Rifles are strictly prohibited, with handguns or bangsticks the suggested method of dispatch. Hunters may not use baited or set hooks, and any assistance must come from other hunters also licensed with the state, although they don’t have to be permitted themselves. Five men had to help Sorin pull his gator on shore, but long before that, the beast had turned Sorin’s boat around and pulled him and his hunting companions further out in the water as the gator’s tail hit the boat’s engine and its passengers. “We got him to the landing and everyone freaked out,” Sorin said. Sorin caught a larger gator in 2009, one more than 12-feet long, a feat his father and cousin matched that

santeelakeside.com 37


same year. “So, although (it’s) still very exciting, (I’m) pretty comfortable with hunting,” Sorin said. “(I) killed my first bear at 12, so I’ve been around it for a while.” DNR officials said they are still working on a final kill count for the season, but they are hoping for more than 450, the approximate total for 2009. The hunting period was started as a way to keep the alligator population – which some experts estimate to be more than 100,000 critters – under control, and along with the many restrictions, DNR also makes sure gators killed are longer than four feet. As for what happens after gators are killed, DNR only stipulates that the meat from a gator carcass cannot be sold. “Hides and parts may be sold according to regulation,” according to a website manual detailing alligator hunting rules on DNR’s site. DNR stipulates that permits awarded in previous years do not automatically grant a hunter one for the next.

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The department does, however, have discretion whether to prohibit certain hunters, particularly those who never paid the $100 permit fee, which is automatically required when a hunter is selected. Patty Castine, a public draw hunt coordinator for the DNR Wildlife Section, said the gators are typically processed, weighed and measured at deer processing centers scattered through the four units in which hunting is allowed. “We don’t certify these weights or measurements,” Castine said. “But we’re pretty sure about most of them. Sometimes, with the biggest alligators, the centers can’t do anything at all.” She said Richburg’s alligator couldn’t be weighed. “It was just too long,” she said. Sorin said he hopes to be back in 2011 with his wife, who was disappointed she missed this year’s hunt. “(She) was sorry she could not go with us,” Sorin said. “She had to do homework for grad school.”

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Don’t panic! Tax sale properties recoverable for 1 year

D

on’t panic. There’s no need to fret! The law allows you an additional 12 months to redeem your property and get it back. It’s called the 12-month Statutory Right of Redemption Period. It will certainly cost you more than if you had paid your taxes on time, or even late with penalties, but the good news is that you can still get it back. I repeat: You can still get it back. The bad news is ... the new tax bill for the current year will follow in the tax sale’s footsteps. The extra money you pay to get it back goes toward a graduated interest period that starts clicking on Auction Day. There’s actually a “formula” the Delinquent Tax Office uses based on a quarterly system that breaks down as follows: 3 percent interest to the “investor,” the person that won the bid on Auction Day, if the property owner redeems the property within the first three months following the sale; 6 percent if the property is redeemed between the third and sixth month; 9 percent, if between the sixth and ninth month; and 12 percent, if between the last quarter of the 12 months following the tax sale. The property owners and the investor(s) have two opposite motives: The property owner is racing to get the property redeemed as quickly as possible, primarily to get his property back, but also to pay as little interest as possible; the investor wants either the owner to pay nothing at all in the 12-month period following the sale so he can get a “tax deed” giving him sole possession over the land and its improvements, if any, or the next best thing, which is the owner redeeming the property in the last quarter of the year following the tax sale. That way, the investor gets 12 percent on his or her money. Even if it’s redeemed in the first three months, the investor makes a tidy profit with 3 percent, which is likely more than the money would have earned over that same period of time sitting in a saving’s account. Now, keep in mind that when most people quote an interest rate, they mean on an annual basis. In this case, however, the redemption period of one day to three months earns 3 percent interest in days or months, NOT an entire year! It’s guaranteed return on your money at the very least, and a piece of property

for pennies on the dollar at best. The investor cannot take possession of the property until the redemption year is over, after which she receives a limited warranty, i.e. a “tax deed,” that is then recorded in the Register of Mesne Conveyances (commonly called the Register of Deeds) at the county court house in the county in which the property is located. After the deed is recorded, it becomes a public record and final. I believe that if there was a mortgage on the property at the time of auction and the lender (mortgagee) didn’t send a representative to bid on it on behalf of their bank, mortgage company, etc., then the company is out of luck. That’s because we’re dealing with real estate property tax laws, which trump any mortgages. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Real estate law typically mandates that the selling entity – Clarendon County, for example – has to notify the mortgage company as well as the owner when preparing for a tax sale. Should the mortgagee not redeem its interest in the property, they do essentially lose the right to claim title later, after the 12-month redemption period). The act of bidding only requires that you register ahead of time, bring lots of money – to forestall any bidding “frenzy” – and be prepared to sit in the courtroom at the courthouse where the sale will be, which is the first Monday in the month in Clarendon County, until you get the piece(s) you’re after. The first year I moved to Manning, I had sold my home in Charleston to relocate here, although I had not yet built my house. This was the year before I went to real estate school and was still feeling my way around the lake, trying to figure out where the old Rickenbaker Store used to be! That’s now a running joke for me. I certainly didn’t know the streets of Manning, much less the ones in Summerton or Turbeville. In that time, the early 1990s, they were paying a flat 12 percent interest for any time during the 12-month redemption period. I took my money out of the bank, tried to learn where some of the general tax map numbers (TMRs) were located throughout the county, and off I went to the courthouse to make some money. Well, “smart Yana” bought 13 properties and littleby-little throughout the year, they were redeemed. I made some money on my investment, funds that

Yana Mathis

40 November • December 2010 | Lakeside


would have otherwise simply sat in the bank, waiting for me to re-invest it in my new home. All the properties were redeemed except one. I had told myself to expect all the properties to be redeemed and not to get my hopes up. In fact, I wouldn’t even allow myself to see where the properties were located. I’d never be able to restrain myself today. You wouldn’t believe what I ended up with. A dirt road! What a mess that was! It was a road in an incomplete subdivision within the city limits of Manning that neither the county, nor the state wanted to claim. The developers thought that the county had taken ownership, thus the taxes weren’t paid by those individuals. Long story, short, I agreed to deed it to these developers if they paid the closing costs for the attorney’s paperwork and recording fees. The fact that all of this is made public is absolutely fair, but still there’s a stir every September when the names run in the newspaper, a very public venue, for several weeks in a row. I always tell people, give it a week or two and the black lines will start appearing for those who have made the last-minute deadline, with cashier’s check in hand, to the Delinquent Tax Office. Throughout the years, I’ve gotten on a first-name basis with the wonderful ladies in that office, and they enjoy my bringing them ink pens for their counter pen cups. On my way to my final surgery – hopefully, anyway – on Sept. 27, I handed them a certified check and said,

“Gotta go. Having surgery in Florence in an hour.” “You know that’s not all, don’t you?” Lucille shouts out as I’m leaving. “But that’s all the cash I have,” I answered. You know what happened? The market slowed, almost to a screeching halt; people lost jobs; people couldn’t make rent payments; landlords didn’t get paid; and the banks kept on drafting! As my readers know, I never mind using myself as an example. It just proves that everyone has a circumstance from time to time, but things do get better. I have a brand new scar, my “battle wound” as I call it, and I’m looking forward to a better real estate market this coming year. The Federal Housing Authority was quoting interest rates at 4 percent for a fixed 30-year term. Rates are the lowest they have ever been in my lifetime, and that’s more than half a century. Even if you’re not in a position to buy, you should look at refinancing if you plan to stay in your home. I’ve been saying for the last couple of issues that it’s a buyer’s market. That’s still the case, and now we have record-breaking, low interest rates. If you’re currently renting and have a credit score of more than 630 points, you really need to give buying your own home some serious thought! The preceding column is based on the personal experiences of Realtor Yana Mathis and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Hunting ‘old-school’ at Santee Wildlife Refuge By: R. Darren Price dprice@theitem.com

42 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

M

odern hunters who saw Florence resident Dana Epting’s pack may have wondered what exactly was going on as he put his gear together. Gathered with about 20 other hunting parties at the Santee National Wildlife Refuge’s Pine Island Unit near Lake Marion, Epting and hunting partners, his 22-year-old son, Nathan, and his friend Shane Johnson, didn’t exactly have modern weapons. No, there was not an auto-loading or bolt-action rifle in sight. No hightech weapon with optic scopes and cartridge bullets, either. The hunters


didn’t have all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to ride out to the perfect spot. Just the hunters, their tree stands and muzzle-loading rifles. “It’s like stepping back in time,” Epting said. Epting and the other parties gathered for a primitive hunt where only muzzle-loading rifles and bows were allowed. The week-long hunt at the at the Pine Island Unit, one of the refuge’s three reserves, was one of many the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans throughout the year with the refuge. The final hunt is planned for Nov. 8-13 at the Cuddo Unit south of Davis Station.

Refuge park ranger Susie Heisey said the hunts are a popular way for the park to control the refuge’s deer population. “There’s a lot of deer on our refuge,” she said. Weapons were restricted to muzzle-loading rifles and bows due to the refuge’s size, with Heisey noting that the number of hunters on the refuge at any given time would likely result in dangerous, even lethal, situations should hunters use more high-powered and technologically-advanced munitions. Either way, the hunters don’t seem to mind, she said. At a six-day hunt where only bows were allowed

Oct. 4-9, 123 hunters visited the refuges more than 600 times. “It gives people an opportunity to practice and hone their skills with different weapons,” Heisey said of the hunts. “They’re a great hunting experience.” Epting would likely agree, and said hunting with a muzzle-loader adds more uncertainty to the hunt. The guesswork that comes along with trying to find the perfect spot by foot adds nostalgia. And if that doesn’t pique a hunter’s interest in primitive hunting, Epting would tell them that packing the black powder that will ultimately cause the bullet’s santeelakeside.com 43


explosion from the gun’s firing chamber is just, well, cool. “There’s so much more skill involved,” he said. “It’s slower and we have to take the stands in and make predictions of where the deer are and hope for the best.” While the October and November hunts were specifically “primitive hunting” events due to mandates from the refuge and the Fish and Wildlife Service, there are some jurisdictions in the United States that require primitive hunting weapons in all instances, with some laws so specific that they cover which low-tech weapon can be used against a certain species. When the annual Florida Alligator Hunt began in 2007, the state prohibited the use of any firearm citing the hazards that come with shooting bullets around water bodies. Most hunters there have use a type of harpoon when 44 November • December 2010 | Lakeside

hunting the gators at the few hours at night the state allows hunting. Typically, the harpoon is used in a first strike for Florida gator hunters, after which they use a “bang stick,” a device that splits a gator’s spinal cord behind the reptile’s head. This means an almost instantaneous, and hunters claim, humane, way to take these critters. In other parts of the country, hunters use anyone of more than 20 primitive weapons, including blowguns bows; hangers, a swordlike weapon; hunting swords; crossbows; harpoons; spears; slingshots and slings; and woomeras, a spear-throwing device. Dalzell gunsmmith Gert Becker said that these lower-tech firearms can bring the bang and distance of their modern counterparts. Muzzleloaders, he explained, are now nearly as advanced as their boltaction and auto-loading cousins,

and the nostalgia-inspiring weapons can shoot upwards of 200 yards. “These days, they’re almost like modern rifles,” he said. Modern muzzle-loading rifles don’t necessarily require hunters to pour powder into the gun, he said. Hunters can use powder pellets to increase reloading speed. Also, hunters put a sleeve called a sabot around a modern bullet to increase shot accuracy. Everything down to the cleaning is easier; hunters can remove the back portion of newer muzzle-loaders for cleaning. But with the added ease, Becker thinks hunters are losing the true backin-time feeling of using a muzzleloader. Becker made his own gun for muzzle-loader hunting, calling himself “old school.” He pointed out that the limitations posed by an unpredictable gun only serves to emphasize his hunting skills further. “It’s a nostalgia thing,” he said. “I’m using my skill as a hunter with loading and loose powder.” Even using modern muzzleloading rifles, Epting and his party feel like they get a more rustic hunting experience than if they were to use cartridge bullets where they can just load their guns and fire. “You feel a lot closer to nature,” Johnson said. Epting said when he shot twoand four-point bucks at a similar hunt at the refuge’s Pine Island unit last year, he was more excited about doing it with his muzzle-loader than if he were using a rifle with cartridge bullets. “You absolutely feel more accomplished shooting something with one,” he said. Becker agrees, and thinks more people should try their hand at primitive hunting. “It would be nice if more people got into that,” he said. He also said primitive hunting at the refuge gives people who may not have access to private hunting lands a way to hunt. “I’m glad they offer something like this in South Carolina,” he said.


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4BR, 3BA beautiful traditional hm on 2 lots in Country Club Estates. Mouldings, granite, marble & custom cabinets inside this spacious hm. Limestone mantel w/ marble around gas log fireplace. Gas Jen-Air range/grill in kitchen island w/lots of storage. LR & DR 10 ft. ceiling all other 9 ft. w/lots of light & open space. Bathroom vanities are kitchen counter height. Plantation wood/alloy blinds. Call Deborah.

Eagle Point Waterfront Home features 5BRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 3BAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, large porches, professional landscaping. All on deep water deeded lot with pier, seawall & ramp. Must See! Matching jet skis with trailer are included as a bonus to buyer. Call Susan

3BR, 1BA lovely hm in town within walking distance to hospital, shopping and schools. Nice fenced in yard. Replaced roof in 2009 and forced air unit per owner. Sold â&#x20AC;&#x153;AS-ISâ&#x20AC;?! Call Deborah.

Unique Gated Sportsmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Retreat on Lake Marion, features 4300 sq ft, 5BR, 5BA brick home on 5 acres with sandy beach, pier, fish pond, nature trails and much more! Call Susan!

1MBOUBUJPO%S8ZCPP1MBOUBUJPOr  ,FOXPPE3E$IVSDI#SBODIr  $MVCIPVTF3E1JOF)BSCPS1SJDFUP4FMM  Looking for a cozy cottage on Lake Marion? Look no more! This comfortable

Nothing but the best. Gorgeous Lake Marion brick home in gated golf community priced under current appraisal. Over 3400 sq ft with 4BR's and 5 1/2 BA's. Granite countertops, hardwood flooring, crown modling, stainless applainces, new architectural shingles, oversized heated & cooled garage. Custom heated in ground pool, large dock and boatlift, outdoor kitchen and hot tub. A truly one of a kind home.

Yana Mathis

803-505-2788

Looking for a home near the lake because waterfront is just to expensive? Think again! Very open waterfront home on church branch. Home features a large screened in porch, stacked stone gas log fireplace with radio frequency remote, trexwood lighted dock with boat slip, seawall with all top edges sealed and copper caps on dock posts. Sold with all kitchen appliances. Year round waterfront living. Very well maintained home.

home is just right for a quiet place at the lake. Home is nestled in among the trees featuring an open deck overlooking the water, centrally located fireplace in the livingroom and master bedroom downstairs with an upstairs loft. New metal roof added recently. Deeded waterfront home.

Charley Schmidt

803-410-1188 santeelakeside.com 47


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48 November â&#x20AC;¢ December 2010 | Lakeside Layaway Available â&#x20AC;¢ Delivery Available See Store for Details

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Lakeside November 2010  

Covering the good life on the Santee Cooper Lakes in eastern South Carolina

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