Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Waterfowl Warrior Weekend in the ACE Basin

Leland Hoskins shows off his ducks
Taxidermist Jimmy Hortman donates duck
mounts to the waterfowl warrior weekend 

            With a tinge of the holiday spirit mixed in for good measure, the second annual waterfowl weekend for local servicemen took place December 14 and 15. With a bounty of duck hunting properties in the ACE Basin, there is a strong presence from Ducks Unlimited and their Lowcountry Initiative. The Beaufort Chapter of DU used their connections at the Marine Corps Air Station to gather those interested in some relaxing time spent in the outdoors.
            The Warrior waterfowl weekend began on Friday afternoon with a safety meeting, skeet shoot and Lowcountry boil at Nemours Plantation on the Combahee River. Longtime DU sponsor member Mike McShane is on the Board at the Nemours Wildlife Foundation and he was on hand to personally welcome the servicemen, alongside CEO Ernie Wiggers. Ducks Unlimited representatives included Regional Director James Meadows and Brett Baker of Georgetown. 
Ashleigh and Keith Peffer shot these mallards
In the duck blind on the Combahee River
            Several plantations in the ACE Basin agreed to host between one and four warriors for the duck hunt on Saturday morning, and they sent their guides to Nemours to meet them. The inaugural Warrior waterfowl weekend from 2012 was a big success and a taxidermist from Pawley’s Island who is a strong waterfowl enthusiast offered to mount the trophy ducks from that hunt. With a full year of anticipation built up, Jimmy Hortman came to Nemours to distribute about 10 mounted ducks to the servicemen.
            Sergeant Leland Hoskins and Keith and Ashleigh Peffer  reported for duty at 5:30 a.m. at Bonny Hall Plantation on River Road in Yemassee. Plantation manager Michael Thomas was glad to host the servicemen from this hunt for the second year because he believes it to be a good cause. The guests were introduced to the regular duck club members who would also be hunting, and for Sgt. Hopkins this would be his first ever duck hunt!
             When shooting time arrives Hoskins has plenty of opportunity to rise and shoot at passing ducks using his Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun. It takes a minute to get the feel on when ducks are most vulnerable in flight, and after more than a few clean misses the first duck folds cleanly and hits the water. “Duck hunting is a lot like golf,” said Guide Andrew GoDowns. “All you have to do is to make one good shot and you want to keep playing!” Hoskins kept shooting and ended up with his 6-duck limit with no problem.

To view the feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about waterfowl hunting with veterans click here.

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