Georgia wildlife authorities are reporting a sparse season so far for hunting accidents, with two fatalities – both involving falls from tree stands – among just nine incidents reported statewide.
Those deaths occurred Oct. 3, when a 69-year-old hunter died in Dooly County; and on Oct. 24, when a 64-year-old Bryan County deer hunter fell while climbing down from his stand, according to a summary provided by Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division.
Seven non-fatal incidents have been reported this season, including a mauling by a wounded bear and three other tree stand accidents, along with and three accidental shootings.
On Sept. 9, a teenager mistook his 21-year-old hunting companion for game and shot him three times, the report said, placing one shot in the victim’s left shoulder, one shot in upper left leg and one shot in right leg above knee.
On Nov. 24, a 74-year-old man stumbled and fell while hunting in Glynn County, discharging a shotgun and injuring his toes and part of his foot.
On Oct. 22, a 41-year-old hunter was shot in the chest and arm while deer hunting in Murrqay County. The shooter was not found.
The bear incident occurred Oct. 1 in Clinch County, where a 54-year-old hunter shot the bear three times, after which it attacked him. A companion killed the bear but the first hunter sustained injuries to his wrist.
SALUDA TROUT: The S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ Freshwater Fisheries Section stocked about 13,000 trout in the Lower Saluda River near Columbia Dec. 13 using a helicopter and specialized lift bucket.
The Saluda, which emerges below Lake Murray Dam and flows almost to downtown Columbia, is the closest trout water to Augusta - and has produced good catches of quality rainbows and browns in recent years.
Helicopter stocking allows DNR to distribute trout up and down the river without concentrating them in any particular area. The practice gives the fish more time to adust before anglers begin to catch them.
The DNR stocks approximately 30,000 six to nin-inch trout each year in the Saluda from December through February in what it calls a “put, grow and take” fishery that relies on stocking to maintain populations and the cooperation of anglers for success. Young trout grow rapidly after stocking, if allowed to remain in the river.
For young trout to reach their potential, however, they must not be removed from the river immediately after stocking. If given time to grow, they can exceed 20 inches, considered trophy size for this type of fishery.
The Saluda River below Lake Murray dam is unique because its popular trout fishery is essentially an artificial situation, according to DNR biologists. Trout can survive only because of the cold-water releases from the bottom of the Lake Murray dam.
For more details and fishing regulations, visit http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fishing.html.
HANDICAPPED HUNTER ACCESS: Outdoor Dream Foundation, an Anderson, S.C. nonprofit organization that provides hunting and fishing adventures for children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses, will provide five new wheelchair accessible hunting blinds at the Corps of Engineers Russell Project on the Savannah River.
Under a memorandum of understanding, the corps donated excess building material to Outdoor Dream for the construction of five semi-permanent blinds to be placed on Russell Project lands. In return, Outdoor Dream volunteers assembled and transported the blinds.
The corps used the blinds for the first time Dec. 8-9 during a deer hunt hosted by the Russell Project and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The veterans harvested several deer at the event. The blinds were also used Dec. 16 during a youth hunt with Outdoor Dream and Faith Hunters for Youth.