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8th Annual SCI Wounded Warrior deer hunt a success

Wounded Warrior Brian Clark and hunt guide Capers Cauthen on Oct. 16.

The Lowcountry Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI)  held the 2012 Wounded Warrior deer hunt on October 15 and 16. Based out of Nemours Plantation along the Combahee River, this hunt provides an opportunity for U.S. servicemen recovering from injuries to enjoy the outdoors and try to harvest a deer. Landowners volunteer to host these special guests, and others gather to celebrate and to thank these veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The two-day event offers still-hunting for members of the wounded warrior program on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning. Everyone meets at Nemours Plantation for a roll call and a few motivational speeches, followed by lunch. SCI hunt director Mark Peterson is right to thank the private landowners throughout the ACE Basin who host these hunters, and then Ernie Wiggers from Nemours assigns locations and guides to each servicemen.

This year, about 40 veterans were able to participate on 20 properties. Brigadier General Lori Reynolds from Parris Island Marine Base came to address the crowd and spoke about honor and duty among the military. The Marine Color Guard presented their flags at attention while the crowd sang the National Anthem. Watching these patriots getting ready to go deer hunting was a moving occasion.

On Monday night, three young veterans were invited to Deux Cheneaux Plantation in Green Pond, and all three got a chance to test their marksmanship. Sitting in tree stands overlooking a power line and a food plot, the first shot rang out at 5:30 and Corey Miller from Pennsylvania dropped a doe in her tracks. The next shots came at 6:24 and Andrew Mize from Florida harvested two does. Lastly at 7:08 it was time for Stephen Greene from Virginia to also harvest two does.

Host Allen Bell and his hunter assistance team arrived just after dark to help the wounded warriors load their five does into the back of an ATV and head to the skinning shed. Both the hunters and the volunteers were jovial, and Bell took care to weigh the does and shared his interest in deer herd management with his visitors. The venison meat is intended to go home with the wounded warrior hunters when they leave.

On Tuesday morning another great hunt was unfolding at Mullin Hill Plantation in Colleton County along the Combahee River. Guides Scott Liipfert and Capers Cauthen took Brian Clark of Colorado to his stand at 6 a.m. and in the first light of day he could make out a small buck. The first buck moved off and another smaller buck came into view, and he elected to hold his fire. Then at 7:55 a good 6-point buck came within 85-yards of his 20-foot tower stand and Clark stopped him with a .270-rifle.

The hunt schedule concluded with another gathering for a meal and fellowship at 11 a.m. on Tuesday back at Nemours. About 30 deer were harvested on Monday night and about a dozen more were brought to the scales on Tuesday morning, making it one of the most successful hunts by harvest numbers in the eight years since SCI started the hunt.

This annual hunt is a joint effort between those who wish to thank these U.S. servicemen for their efforts to preserve our freedoms. Some volunteers cook food, while others make hotel reservations and perform the tasks that are necessary to host these special hunters from out of town. Each year, the volunteers are rewarded by the smiles from the wounded warriors who are glad to receive a dose of southern hospitality. Hunting for white-tailed deer helps to provide the kind of outdoor experiences that these wounded warriors can take with them as positive memories from the Lowcountry.

 Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (360 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com