CHARLESTON, S.C. — This Saturday, Sept. 12, 26 local wounded warriors and veterans gathered at the Cooper River Rediversion Project and Canal Wildlife Management Area for a day of camaraderie and dove hunting.
The event, known as the Warriors and Veterans Dove Hunt, has been co-hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for six years since its inaugural event November 2015.
Over the years, dozens of veterans from across the state have traveled to the Corps’ CRRP at the St. Stephens Powerhouse to take part in the festivities and reconnect with fellow service members. The event is hosted here every year due to the exceptionally high-quality dove fields that SCDNR maintains on the property.
“Ultimately, this event is about giving back,” said Lt. Col. Rachel Honderd, commander, Charleston District, who participated alongside the group. “It is such an honor to take time to connect with our local veteran community and do so alongside the team at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.”
Unlike previous iterations, this year’s hunt involved compliance with health protocols to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Masks and hand sanitizer were provided by the Charleston District and SCDNR, and all participants followed six feet of physical distancing.
Upon arrival, guests were given an informal greeting by Honderd and Jason Deavers, canal wildlife management area lead and natural resources technician. Instead of having the participants gather in a group for a prehunt information briefing, Deavers gave each hunter a card with safety information and hunting regulations on it. Afterward, the veterans were allowed to enter the field to find their favorite hunting spot.
At the sound of a whistle, the hunt began. Hunters gazed upwards looking for doves flying above the fields. As the birds flew near, the participants – all trained marksmen from their military service – began to shoot. Most of the hunters found success, and several dozen doves were harvested.
According to SCDNR dove hunting regulations, hunters are permitted up to 15 doves per day on specified wildlife management areas. Under a long-term agreement, roughly 95 percent of Charleston District’s CRRP property at St. Stephen’s Powerhouse is managed as a state wildlife management area. The area also has more than 90 acres of dove fields.
The Charleston District’s CRRP at St. Stephens Powerhouse is a rediversion infrastructure project that reduces sedimentation flow in the Charleston harbor, saving taxpayers $36 million in dredging costs. The project also provides electricity to more than 40,000 homes across rural South Carolina. Learn more at the Cooper River Rediversion Project.