Dead body found by hunters is identified

Authorities have identified the victim found by Sumter County hunters.

The human remains found by hunters in Sumter County, SC on Nov. 26 have been identified. Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker said the victim was 34-year-old Frederick Ricardo Nelson Jr. of Sumter.

Testing also determined the man was killed by multiple gunshot wounds.

“It is definitely a homicide with multiple gunshots,” said Baker.

The investigation continues. Mark Bordeaux with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said they are still trying to determine who shot the man before wrapping him in a tarp and leaving his body in the woods off of Cimmaron Road in the small town of Borden between Rembert and Pisgah.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division performed forensic testing on the remains, which resulted in them identifying Nelson. Family members then confirmed his identity. Several unique and unmistakable tattoos helped to identify him. Dental records, DNA and fingerprints also helped.

NC hunter kills Moore County monster

Hunting in Moore County, NC on Nov. 11, 2023, Dalton Wilson of Cameron killed a monster buck. The deer had a wide rack with heavy mass, and Wilson said killing it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Here’s Wilson’s story of the hunt from his Facebook post:

“First and foremost, I wanna give all the glory to the man upstairs, and there’s two special woman that gained their angel wings this year that are close to my heart, and I’m for sure they had a hand on each shoulder this evening. A once in a lifetime moment, I will forever cherish!”

“A lot of people thought this deer would ruin friendships, but I think it actually brought us closer with everything going on today. It was truly a blessing and a day that will be in our memories forever.

A huge shout out to Dallas Marsh, Justice Ledford, Michael Greene and Barry, for all the help, means the world.

This one’s for you Hazel Nall and Patricia Strider, heavens got some beautiful angels.”

NCWRC confirms CWD in Johnston County

The following is a press release from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission from Oct. 13, 2023:

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) confirms a 3 1/2-year-old female white-tailed deer harvested in Johnston County has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The deer was hunter-harvested during archery season and represents the first detection of the disease in Johnston County since the state’s first recorded case of CWD in March 2022.

CWD is highly transmissible to other deer. It spreads through infected saliva, urine and feces of live deer and the movement of deer carcasses and carcass parts. During early stages of infection, deer may appear healthy, therefore, NCWRC stresses to hunters the importance of taking precautions when transporting or disposing of deer carcasses as this may lead to moving CWD to new locations.

Importance of testing

NCWRC’s Wildlife Management Division Chief, Brad Howard, said, although a new detection in yet another county is disappointing, it illustrates that efforts to determine the extent of the disease in North Carolina are working, including the cooperation from hunters who have submitted samples for testing of the disease.

“Now more than ever we need the cooperation of sportsmen and sportswomen. We need to continue to test as many hunter-harvested deer as possible to determine the distribution of CWD in our state and how many deer are infected,” said Howard. “It is also essential that we understand how important it is to safely dispose of deer carcasses. Deer hunters must be vigilant and mindful of carcass disposal. The last thing we want to do is inadvertently move it to a new location. We continue to stress to “don’t give it a ride.”

Howard confirmed that the current Surveillance Areas in the northwest and southeast portions of the state will remain unchanged.

“Johnston County will become a primary county. However, the realities of establishing rules and ensuring hunters are aware of the changes during an open hunting season are challenging, and so the rules will not change for this season for Johnston County,” said Howard. Hunters should still be mindful of this new confirmed detection and follow NCWRC’s carcass transportation and disposal guidelines to prevent the potential spread of the disease to other locations. NCWRC also recommends hunters submit deer harvested in Johnston and surrounding counties for testing. Hunters can use NCWRC’s interactive map for information on testing locations. Additional locations will be added to the map throughout the hunting season.

Proper disposal methods

NCWRC recommends that whole deer carcasses and high-risk carcass parts remain in Johnston County or be taken to a processor or taxidermist participating in the NCWRC’s Cervid Health Cooperator Program in an adjacent county for proper carcass disposal and test submission.

Hunters should follow one of the following disposal methods if not taken to a Cervid Health Cooperator:

– Bury the deer remains where you harvest the animal when possible.

– Double bag deer remains for disposal at the closest landfill.

– Leave the deer remains on the ground where the animal was harvested.

– Low-risk carcass parts, including boned-out meat, caped hides, antlers and cleaned skulls, cleaned jawbones and teeth, and finished taxidermy products are safe for transportation to areas outside of Johnston County.

To learn more about CWD and NCWRC’s response, visit

Upstate hunter kills opening day buck

Brandon Pennington of Gaffney, SC got a quick start to South Carolina’s 2023 deer hunting season on opening day of gun season in Game Zone 2. And in a world of AR-15s, 6.5 Creedmoors and beanfield rifles, Pennington killed his first deer of the season with a single shot 12-gauge shotgun.

“Got in the stand late this afternoon and wasn’t even planning on hunting. Was sitting there less than 10 minutes and here he came out of the cutover to the edge of the creek. The good Lord blessed me again on opening day,” he said.

“The old single shot 12-gauge never lets me down.”

Kayaker found dead on Lake Jocassee

A kayaker who went missing this past weekend was found dead on Oct. 9 and has been identified as 23-year-old Joshua Morales of Auburn, GA.

Oconee County (SC) Coroner Karl Addis said the death was a result of accidental drowning. SCDNR divers found Morales’ body in about 46 feet of water at around 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 9.

Morales, along with a female companion and a dog, were kayaking on Lake Jocassee on Oct. 7, heading to a remote camping spot, when a wind storm caused both kayaks to capsize. The female and the dog were both rescued shortly after and treated for hypothermia.

Rescuers found belongings of Morales during the initial search, but they found no trace of him until Monday.

SENSATION drops Big Rock protest, admits they lost

The owner of SENSATION has dropped his protest of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament results.

After weeks of claiming they were wrongfully disqualified from the 2023 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, accusing the Big Rock of giving victories to crews with shark-bitten blue marlin in past tournaments, whipping hundreds of fair-weather fans into a frenzy against the tournament, declaring themselves the “People’s Champion” and selling t-shirts proclaiming such, the owner of SENSATION has thrown in the towel, dropped their protest, and admitted that the tournament officials were right the whole time.

Below is SENSATION’s Facebook post on the matter:

Click here for the full explanation of why the team’s fish was disqualified.

Marlin worth millions DQ’ed at Big Rock

In the final minute of the final day of the 65th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on June 17, 2023, SENSATION hooked into a blue marlin. The tournament’s official end time was 3 p.m., but with the boat hooked up with a single minute to spare, rules allow that fight to continue until the fish is either boated or breaks free.

After a 6-hour fight, angler Bailey Gore finally got the billfish to the boat, where it was loaded up. Then, the crew set in for the long ride back to Morehead City.

Once at the docks, the marlin was weighed. The scales pulled to 619.4 pounds, which would have put the fish atop the leaderboard for heaviest blue marlin, a prize worth millions of dollars. Also, being the first marlin of at least 500 pounds weighed at this year’s tournament, it would have won the Fabulous Fisherman’s Prize, worth another $720,000.

But, the marlin had two obvious shark bites, which caused the tournament organizers to take a hard look at the rule book. When it comes to shark bites while the angler is hooked up, the Big Rock follows a rule used by the IGFA which states that fish will be disqualified if it shows “Mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals, or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh.”

The reason for this rule is pretty simple. If you’re fighting a fish that’s bitten by a shark during the fight, it stands to reason that the fish lost the fight sooner than it would have if it had not been bitten by a shark. Therefore, the IGFA, and the Big Rock, doesn’t consider the fight to have been a fair one to the fish.

It’s tough to argue with that rule. This billfish fought for 6 hours, but who’s to say that it couldn’t have held out for 8 hours, or even that it couldn’t have broken free?

Granted, the bites were relatively small, but you’d have to be naive to believe it had no impact on the marlin’s ability to fight. And the rule doesn’t allow for judges to gauge how much of an impact it had, nor should it. It’s simple, if the fish was bitten by a shark during the fight, it’s DQ’ed. And this one was, on both counts.

With SENSATION’s big catch disqualified, SUSHI, a 57-foot Island Boat Works vessel out of Nags Head was declared the official winner of the Heaviest Blue Marlin category.

SUSHI pocketed $2,769,437 for the win. They caught their 484.5-pound blue marlin on Friday, hooking up with the fish around 1:43 p.m.

For full coverage of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, click here.

APRIL MAE struck by lighting during Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

APRIL MAE, a 65-foot Hatteras out of Beaufort, NC, was struck by lightning Monday morning on June 12, 2023 during Day 1 of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. The boat lost all power, but no one was injured.

Jake Visser, the son of the owner of the boat, reported that APRIL MAE was anchored and awaiting assistance as of 8:07 Monday night.

“April Mae anchored off waiting for rescue after loosing transmission from being on one motor headed back in. Prayers would be much appreciated as they are waiting for rescue,” Visser posted on the tournament’s Facebook page.

Find full coverage of the 65th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament at