ST. STEPHEN, S.C. – On the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, 32 veterans participated in the 7th annual Wounded Warriors and Veterans Dove Hunt at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cooper River Rediversion Project.
The event is a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
For those participating, the day was more than just a dove hunt. It was a day of camaraderie as it gave them a chance to come together and reconnect with one another while doing something they enjoy. It was a day about laughing, catching up, and good ‘ole fashioned hunting on a site unlike any other.
This year’s hunt had enhanced safety measures in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Participants practiced social distancing or wore masks when social distaining was not possible. Hand sanitizer was also provided. After a safety briefing and information on SCDNR’s hunting regulations, the veterans entered the fields to take their places to start hunting dove. When the hunt started, the former service members – expertly trained marksmen from their time in the military – raised their shotguns and looked towards the sky.
“This year’s hunt was a huge success,” said Jesse Helton, USACE Charleston District Natural Resources Specialist. “The number of participants was up significantly from last year and overall, the hunters were happy with their luck. After the hunt, one of our participants even told me the last hour of the hunt was ‘about the best hour of dove hunting I have ever had’”.
SCDNR regulates the number of doves a single hunter is permitted, which was 15 this year. With over 90-acres of pristine dove hunting fields, hunters can often reach that limit. USACE and SCDNR have a long-term agreement which states that 95 percent of the land at the CRRP is designated a state wildlife management area.
Earlier in the year at the same site, USACE and SCDNR also hosted their annual Wounded Warriors and Veterans Fishing Day. That focused around fishing an exclusive spot reserved only for our nation’s heroes. What’s the reason it’s such a good spot? The fish must pass through a specialized elevator located in the dam that allows them to reach their spawning grounds upstream. Prior to doing so, they must swim up the channel where, along the banks, veterans are standing with their rods at the ready.
The Cooper River Rediversion Project is federally funded and is responsible for reducing the sedimentation flow in the Charleston harbor, saving taxpayers $36 million in maintenance dredging costs. The project also provides electricity to more than 40,000 homes across rural South Carolina.
For more information on the Cooper River Rediversion Project and other USACE missions, visit www.sac.usace.army.mil/.