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Some words of wisdom for hunters: Know your game

Last season, shooting advocate Ken Conklin and I experienced one of those humorous times so often associated with our outdoor excursions.

We were tracking a large whitetail, and the constant direction changes of the animal prompted Ken to switch shot.

With signs of smaller game in the area, if opportunity presented itself, he was determined he would not return empty handed. Fifteen minutes later we topped a small rise and spotted the buck lying under a large oak.

Oddly the deer seemed oblivious to our presence, a rare opportunity not common to these type hunts.

Ken had a better angle, and I encouraged him to take the shot. The instant the cap ignited we realized this one had slipped away.

The deer rose unharmed looked in our direction and bounded off across the marsh fields. Ken had forgotten his switch and bird pellets just seemed to irritate the deer.

Another lesson added to the comedy of our ways memory profile. More and more I am finding it true that the distance between liver spots and freckles holds stories worth telling.

On the comeback

There is a renewed interest in shooting sports over the past few years.

One reason for its rebirth is that more and more of the baby boom generation find themselves with added leisure time. The retired, and soon to be, are looking for new avenues of recreation.

Golf, fishing, and common outdoor activities do not satisfy their needs and many of the current and soon-to-follow gray-haired league require more.

Today's approach to shooting and firearms goes beyond the great equalizer of game seasons. There are numerous shooting ranges being constructed and many hunt clubs and plantations encourage new members to join.

Trap and skeet competition is generating interest once again, and veteran shooters are finding leisure time among the cap and round more rewarding.

Don't underestimate this new crop of aged society. The former corporate executives and blue collar majority now entering their golden years are a decisive factor when planning or organizing future leisure pursuits.

According to The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state fish and wildlife management throughout the nation is funded primarily through the purchase of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and through more than $7 billion in excise taxes collected from the sale of hunting, target shooting and fishing equipment and motor boat fuels.

Here are some area gun ranges/clubs:

Beaufort Skeet Club, Marine Corps Air Station -- 843-524-3873

Palmetto Indoor Range & Sporting -- 843-784-5474

Palmetto State Shooting Center -- 843-379-4867

Clam, oyster season opens Oct. 1

The 2012-2013 season for harvesting clams and oysters in coastal waters of South Carolina will open one-half hour before official sunrise Oct. 1 and will remain open until May 15, 2013.

Recreational harvesters must have a Saltwater Recreational Fishing License -- commercially harvesting on state shellfish grounds require a commercial saltwater license, a commercial shellfish harvester license, and a permit for the specific state shellfish ground.

Harvest area maps can be downloaded from and will be available Oct. 1. Or you can call 843-953-9854.

Tackle Tip

Cooler temperatures mean more people will be partaking of outdoor events and campsites and campfires will be more commonplace.

For many getting a campfire started is an easy practice, but for some, it can prove exasperating.

To assist you in your next start up purchase a few packs of novelty candles, the ones that won't blow out. The same characteristic that makes them a novelty will assist you when starting your next campfire especially in windy conditions.