September 2023 Issue
by Edwina Hoyle
Photography (right) by Lindsay Gifford
Jane Rhodes is the very definition of Southern charm--sweet, polite, and respectful. “I’ve been taught to say ‘Ma’am’ my whole life.” Jane is 15 years old, lives on a farm in Brunson, SC, in Hampton County, and attends Thomas Heyward Academy. She loves living on the farm. “Nature can be everything, and I can be around it all.”
At age 5 or 6, Jane started hunting for duck, doves, turkey and deer with her father, Scott. She bagged her first turkey when she was 7 years old, and she’s gotten at least one every year since, not an easy feat. “I love doing stuff with Dad. My friends don’t really like fishing or hunting. I’m a Daddy’s girl. I guess I’m a Tomboy, but I’m really a mix because I can be pretty girly when I want to be.”
“We have a pond in our yard, so we fish all the time.” Jane and her father also go to Bluffton to fish for saltwater species like flounder, redfish, trout, and tarpon. She’s been shrimping and crabbing since age 6.
In sixth grade, Jane took up sporting clays, and her father took classes to become a shooting coach through the South Carolina Youth Shooting Foundation. Jane competes in three shotgun styles of shooting: sporting clays, skeet, and trap, on both school and club teams. “I grew up hunting, so this is a way to shoot in different ways,” she said. Scott explained that the largest growing sector of hunting and fishing today are females.
Jane participates on the sporting clays team at Thomas Heyward Academy, and through the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Scholastic Clay Target Sports, a team-based youth development program that uses the shotgun sports of trap, skeet, and sporting clays to instill life skills such as discipline, safety, teamwork, ethics, self-confidence, and other life values.
“My team this year took first place at the SC Youth Shooting Foundation State Champion Sporting Clays, and we placed third at the Junior US Open against teams from across the Southeast. It was a three-day sporting clays event. A couple of years ago, I got HOA (Highest Overall in Age Group) in sporting clays.”
As much as she loves competitive shooting, there’s nothing more satisfying than traveling with her father, Scott, to turkey hunt. Just in the last two years they’ve gone to Texas, Florida, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Jane said, “Each place is very different—how it looks, the weather, the people, the culture. There are different plants and different animals. And there’s a difference between the turkeys in South Carolina and Texas. It’s very cool. They look different and act different because they adapt to their land and tune into
Jane’s favorite shooting sport is turkey hunting because it’s more complicated. “There’s listening, interaction, and you have to call them in. And there are several calling styles: friction, mouth, trumpet, box and pot. I keep learning,” she said.
Jane and her father travel to remote locations, mostly cattle ranches. Jane said, “Dad finds places to go through friends who’ve created connections with people. All the cattle ranchers and farmers have different animals. They’re not like people in cities. Their lives revolve around what they do, detached from the busy city and the internet. They are very remote, connected to animals, to outdoor space. They’re humble people who are kind. The terrain is rough, arid, dry, mountainous—not like the Lowcountry of South Carolina. It’s cool to go back and forth.”
One of her favorite experiences was driving to the top of a mountain in Texas. “It was covered with endless bluebonnets. The vistas were really cool,” Jane said. Her wish is to visit Washington State someday.
When Jane isn’t hunting, fishing, or shooting, she helps her dad on the farm, and dabbles in art with her 13-year-old sister, Kate. Jane’s mother, Virginia, enjoys cooking, but Jane is the baker in the family. “I love baking—anything my family asks for—cookies, cobblers, cakes. I like to make recipes from the internet.”
As far as school goes, she said, “School is school, I guess. I prefer nature. My life is very satisfying.”
Jane knows where she is the happiest, and that happy place helps to guide her hopes and dreams for the future.
• “My grandma paints, and I get a lot of that from her,” Jane said. She enjoys sketching, painting, and drawing. Most of her artwork hangs in her room.
• Jane’s family has three dogs: an English Pointer, an English Cocker, and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.