Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ruddy Ducks and Ringnecks at FeatherHorn Farm

Trio of duck hunters ready at FeatherHorn Farm

The ranks of duck hunters looking to increase their chance of success by hunting in impoundments managed for waterfowl is increasing due to the popularity of Duck Dynasty. Sixty miles to the north of Walterboro, Clarendon County offers just such a property in FeatherHorn Farm with 200-acres of flooded corn and chufa. Owned by a wildlife biologist with a passion for waterfowl, this hunt club has a lot to offer.
Humble blogger and his three drake ringnecks
My visit to FeatherHorn to meet with owner Jimmy Lee began with a property tour, evening meal, included overnight accommodations and a morning duck hunt. Not all of the 1400-acres is contiguous, but rather the impoundments are located nearby and a quick trip in a convoy of trucks will brting duck hunters to their destination. Having a number of ponds helps to keep a regular rotation to prevent overshooting any one pond, and a new pond is already in the works for next year!

Drake ringneck and drake ruddy duck
A native of Summerton, Lee brings a compelling message of family tradition and returning to the home place he grew up hunting on, after a stint of more than ten years in Atlanta where his skills as a builder helped to bolster that metropolis. However, with the now infamous housing bubble, and a yearning in his heart to return to his roots, Lee moved his family to Summerton.

“That was two years ago, and now my family loves hanging around the farm,” said Lee. “But it would be crazy not to call this work.” Well removed from the separate challenges of planting season, Lee appreciates his hunters and strives to bring them an old school duck hunt experience. Lee and his guides work long days that include serving continental breakfast and coffee at 5:30 a.m., conducting a duck hunt, and getting the cabins ready for the next group coming in.
By 6:00 a.m. Lee and his top guides, Rip Sanchez, Ethan Wimberly and Juan Sanchez had our group of hunters heading for the duck pond. My end of the duck blind was tested first by a small band of five ringnecks that collapsed out of the sky and turned on a dime when I rose to shoot. I recorded two clean missed shots, but upon their return I was able to splash down the first drake ringneck of the day. The spent shells in the bottom of the duck blind were a testament to past duck hunts.
Jimmy Lee and his boykin retrieve a duck

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

To view past blog entries from FeatherHorn click here.

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