February 6, 2014

Outdoors column: SEWE back for 32nd year

The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) returns next weekend, Feb. 14-16, for its 32nd annual run in downtown Charleston.

The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) returns next weekend, Feb. 14-16, for its 32nd annual run in downtown Charleston.

SEWE is an exceptionally wide-ranging event with an emphasis on the outdoors, conservation and wildlife, and wildlife-related art. SEWE is considered the nation’s largest wildlife art and nature event and now draws over 40,000 attendees from across the nation, including many who make the trip from the Grand Strand.

The expo is held at several venues centered around downtown Charleston including Charleston Place, Mills House Hotel, Hibernian Hall, Brittlebank Park, Charleston Mariott, Marion Square, Embassy Suites, Charleston Music Hall and Reinert LePrince Fine Art.

A few of the highlights among the many events scheduled for the weekend follow:

•  DockDogs | The only two-tank DockDogs event east of the Mississippi will be held at Brittlebank Park with high-flying retrievers in action. The Sporting Village with outdoor outfitters, boats/equipment and fishing, hunting and safari guides will also be on hand at Brittlebank Park, plus retriever demonstrations, fly fishing, fly tying and cast net tossing instruction presented by Charleston Angler. Food vendors and live bluegrass music is also on tap at Brittlebank Park.
•  Birds of Prey | Awendaw’s Center for Birds of Prey will conduct free flight demonstrations by a variety of raptors including falcons, eagles, owls and hawks at Marion Square. Attendees will learn the important role these birds play in the coastal ecosystem.
•  Decoys | The art of decoys will be on full display by decoy exhibitors at the Charleston Marriott. Also at the Charleston Marriott will be a decoy auction by Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter, offering nearly 200 investment quality decoys valued from $200 to over $10,000. Auction hours are Feb. 14, 2-5 p.m. with a preview beginning at noon. High end sporting arms dealers will also be housed at the Marriott.
•  Jack Hanna | Television personality, author, and conservationist Jack Hanna, host of the three-time Emmy Award winning show, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild, will present performances the first two days of the expo at the Charleston Music Hall. One of the most visible and respected animal ambassadors in the world, Hanna’s enthusiasm and hands-on approach to wildlife conservation has won him widespread acclaim. A separate $10 ticket is required for Hanna’s shows, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 14 and 15.
•  Busch Wildlife Sanctuary | Attendees can get a close up look at alligators, bobcats, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and more at the Charleston Music Hall. Shows will be held each day of the expo. Seating is first-come, first-served.
•  Local/regional artists | Outstanding local and regional artists and artisans including painters, wood makers and sculptors will be exhibiting at the Mills House Hotel. This exhibit is an eclectic mix of creations, including paintings, handcrafted furniture and woodworks.
•  Children activities | Educational activities and programs for children of all ages including pony and camel rides, exotic petting zoo, a spider jump and a power rock climbing wall will be held at Brittlebank Bark. Marion Square will also host children’s activities including the Edisto Island Serpentarium tent.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sewe.com. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 1-800-514-3849.

•  SAFMC port meetings | The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council plans to get right down to the fisherman’s level with a series of port meetings scheduled from North Carolina through Florida from February through April.

The meetings are part of the SAFMC’s Visioning Project which intends to develop a long-term vision for managing the snapper-grouper fishery moving into the future. Many of the meetings will be held at venues located right on the water in fishing hotbeds, starting right here on the Grand Strand.

“This is the fisherman’s chance to throw in their ideas for the future of the snapper-grouper fishery,” said SAFMC council member Chris Conklin of Murrells Inlet.

The first pair of meetings will be held Tuesday at Capt. Dave’s Dockside in Murrells Inlet at 2-4 p.m. for commercial fishermen and 6-8 p.m. for recreational/charter fishermen.

Other meetings in South Carolina are to be held Wednesday in Charleston at a restaurant, The Ordinary, Feb. 17 in Charleston at Haddrells Point Tackle, Feb. 18 in Bluffton at Waddell Mariculture Center and Feb. 20 in Columbia at Best Western Plus.

Meetings will be held in North Carolina in March including March 17 at Ocean Isle Fishing Center’s Wing and Company in Shallotte from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and at Oak Island Town Hall (time TBD).

Those planning to attend the meetings should RSVP either online at www.safmc.net or by calling 843-571-4366.

•  N.C. trout fishing closed | The recent cold spell was rough on spotted seatrout in the Tar Heel State, causing North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel to close all coastal and inland waters to harvest of the species until June 15.

The closure applies to both commercial and recreational fishermen.

Cold stun events were confirmed last Friday and Saturday in several coastal rivers, bays and creeks including the Pamlico, Alligator, Pungo, Scuppernong, Trent, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers; Chocowinity, Blounts and Chadwick bays; and Slades, Bath, Cahooque, Hancock and Spooners creeks.

The waters in Brunswick County, including Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach, appear to have largely avoided the trout stun/kill.

Under N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules, the spotted seatrout season automatically closes in inland waters when it closes in adjacent coastal waters.

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