There was plenty of gobbling and gunfire last weekend at Savannah River Site, which opened its expansive forests for the 10th year to accommodate the NWTF Wheelin’ Sportsmen Ultimate Turkey Hunt.
This year’s event attracted 28 hunters with disabilities from as far away as California and Ontario, who took 32 birds over the two-day hunt, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Each hunter was accompanied by a guide who had scouted assigned hunting zones in previous weeks to find the best hunting spots. Twenty-one hunters (75 percent) harvested at least one wild turkey.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, which manages the U.S. Energy Department site, allows no other wild turkey hunts on the land.
“Each and every hunt participant is always so thankful for everything the Forest Service and its many partners do,” Forest Service biological technician Tal Mims said. “It is truly a blessing to be a part of an event that makes so many lasting memories for all of those involved.”
The largest bird, 19.5 pounds, was taken by Ohio hunter Marion Brickey, while the most productive harvest – four birds over two days – is credited to Robert Hatler of Kentucky, and his guide, Jared Vance.
JUSTIFIABLE SHOOTING: People who love to fish and hunt will find three upcoming events are particularly worthy causes.
A bowfishing tournament on May 4 will benefit HUNTforLIFE, a nonprofit organization that offers children with life-threatening illnesses an opportunity to fulfill their fishing or hunting dreams.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and lasts until 3 a.m. at Thurmond Lake’s Cherokee boat landing and registration is $30 per person. There will be a $1,000 grand prize.
Onsite registration will be held from 5-7 p.m. then day of the event. Call (706) 533-0967 to pre-register or get more details.
On May 10, Pinetucky Gun Club and Honored American Veterans Afield will hold a Warrior Transition Battalion Top Gun Challenge, in which civilian participants team up with soldiers for shooting competitions followed by food, fellowship and prizes. The event begins at 1 p.m.
The civilian entry fee is $80, which helps cover targets, ammo, awards and dinner – and covers similar costs for the soldiers. Rifles and pistols are provided and shotguns are available as needed.
To sign up or for more details, contact Pinetucky manager Steve Meldrum at (706) 592-4230 or e-mail
Also coming up is the Shoot Down Cancer benefit, scheduled for May13-14 at SHOOTERS indoor range on Washington Road.
The event, for which the entry fee is a tax deductible donation of $25 or more, benefits the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Augusta.
Participants get the use of a shooting lane, targets, hearing and eye protection and shooting tips from a certified National Rifle Association instructor.
Pre-registration is mandatory, and can be accomplished by calling (706) 496-4553.
BOOZE AND BOATING: New rules are now in effect for how much alcohol you can consume and still operate a boat on Georgia waters.
Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law the bill passed earlier this year that lowers the maximum blood alcohol level for boaters and hunters from 0.10 to 0.08, to match the existing level for automobile drivers.
Senate Bill 136 and the stricter blood alcohol level also applies to hunters, too, although one of the tenets of firearms safety is to have no alcohol in your system.
CRACKERNECK OPENED: Aiken County’s 10,470-acre Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve will be open to the public on Saturdays in May.
The parcel is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and located along the Savannah River and south of Jackson.
Maps and copies of regulations are available by calling S.C. Department of Natural Resources office, (803) 725-3663, or by e-mailing a request to email@example.com.
The area will be open for scouting, fishing and some other outdoor activities. All visitors must sign in before entering and sign out prior to leaving.