“Hunting was never not an option in our house!” Madalyn exclaimed, “Every weekend, from September through January, you would find my dad, brother, and Papa hunting.” The Wellons family is from Conway and they all love to hunt and fish. Madalyn is currently a senior at Anderson University where she is studying early childhood education with a minor in business. After graduation, she plans to earn her master’s in education and move back home to teach school in Horry County. Until then, she visits often to spend quality time with her family, which mostly involves hunting, fishing, and cooking.
Madalyn’s first time participating in the family tradition of hunting was when she went dove hunting at the age of four. Madalyn explained, “As I have gotten older, I have started to enjoy hunting more. For me, I enjoy it so much because I get to spend time with my dad, brother, papa, and my boyfriend, Addison. It also means getting to spend time outside and that is one of my favorite things to do!”
During the spring and summer, you will find the whole family together fishing off their boat in the inlet or on the river. Madalyn’s mother loves to fish, but Madalyn usually does the hunting with “all of her favorite men” and right now, ‘tis the season for the Wellons’ to stock up on their meat. October through December is the best time for hunting dove and deer, which is Madalyn’s favorite season: “Dove hunting is so exciting when the birds are flying good, and I love to watch the excitement in everyone’s eyes,” Madalyn continued, “and deer season is awesome because even if you don’t see a deer, you still get to sit in nature and enjoy the silence.” The family usually goes dove and deer hunting on their property in Marion, while they prefer to duck hunt at their clubhouse in Georgetown.
Thanksgiving is when the Wellons’ have a family tradition of going duck hunting because it is the opening day of duck season. Madalyn’s favorite Thanksgiving memory is from when she was young, and they traditionally had Thanksgiving lunch at her cousin’s house. Madalyn would spend the night with her grandmama the night before Thanksgiving and help her cook and prepare the feast. They recently started a new tradition where Madalyn’s grandparents and cousins come to their house instead, so she now gets to help her mom cook. Their menu is traditionally ham, rice, macaroni and cheese, squash casserole, peas, and lots of desserts!
Madalyn’s mom loves to decorate the house and their final Thanksgiving tradition is to start decorating for Christmas about a week or so after Thanksgiving weekend.
Regardless of what the Wellons’ are hunting or fishing for, it’s almost always an all-day event, and being the fashionista Madalyn is, she always looks her best. For dove hunting, they will leave home, grab lunch, and then head to Marion. Madalyn will sport her camo shorts and camo T-shirt and once they get in the dove field, they will stay for about four to five hours. Deer hunting usually occurs in the afternoon and lasts until the sun goes down, so you will find Madalyn wearing jeans until it cools off enough for her to switch to her thermal camo pants. For duck hunting, they wake up very early to get on the boat and if it’s cold enough, Madalyn will be rocking her waders. They get to the spot right before the sun rises and then sit for two or three hours. The hunters return to the house just in time to have breakfast, and Madalyn believes this is the best part because the whole family is together.
Family traditions are meaningful experiences and the Wellons’ understand the importance of continuing to make these memories together. They make family time a priority and have the most fun while doing so. Madalyn feels like hunting and fishing are just natural for her since everyone in her family enjoys it, and she truly believes that “being a female hunter is empowering.” She could not imagine her life without the joy her family receives from their quality time spent hunting, fishing, cooking, eating, and laughing together – these family traditions and precious memories are what Madalyn will always be most thankful for.