March 3, 2013

Dalton Utilities hosts hunts for youth, Wounded Warriors

Riding on the success of its first two youth duck hunts in 2011 and 2012, Dalton Utilities has expanded its duck hunt program.

In addition to the third youth duck hunt, Dalton Utilities sponsored a Wounded Warrior Project duck hunt in January.

Both hunts were held on Dalton Utilities’ Land Application System facility along the Conasauga River in Whitfield and Murray counties. The hunt was organized by Dalton Utilities in concert with the Dalton Chapter of Ducks Unlimited and the Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International (GASCI).

The third youth duck hunt was held on Dec. 22. Fifteen young hunters, ages 12 to 16, participated. Each young hunter was assisted by an adult hunter, a volunteer guide and a trained bird dog. At the hunt, 21 ducks were harvested.

The first Wounded Warrior Project Duck Hunt was Jan. 5. Ten hunters participated in the hunt, along with their appointed adult guides and dogs. A total of 18 ducks were harvested.

“It was an awesome hunting experience,” said Tim Coop of the Wounded Warrior Project. “You will never know how much it means to each and every warrior that attended. It was truly a life-changing experience. Dalton Utilities, Ducks Unlimited and Safari Club International hosting this hunt helped in our continued mission at the Wounded Warrior Project of honoring and empowering warriors.”

The 39 ducks harvested in both hunts included six different species of waterfowl: mallards,  black ducks, gadwalls, northern shovelers, ring-necks and greenwing teals. Prior to each hunt, all hunters and guides attended a briefing held by Dalton Utilities on hunt rules, safety concerns and duck identification.

Dalton Utilities also hosts deer and turkey hunts on its 9,877-acre facility.

“Our Land Application System supports such a broad range of wildlife, and we manage our facility with this in mind,” said Don Cope, Dalton Utilities president and CEO. “While wetlands are important animal habitats, they play a very important role in water quality. By hosting these hunts, Dalton Utilities, Ducks Unlimited and the GASCI are helping them establish this link between hunting and the importance of preserving our natural resources.”

According to GASCI President Jim Freeman, “Activities like these duck hunts are an important part of GASCI’s mission to promote hunting and wildlife conservation. Supporting these hunts teaches hunters young and old the importance of conserving natural areas such as the Land Application System.”

Said DeWayne Blair, chairman of the Dalton chapter of Ducks Unlimited, “The local Ducks Unlimited committee was happy to be part of this third annual event. Some of these kids had never hunted before, so this was a great opportunity to introduce them to hunting with the committee on hand to pass along the hunting tradition and our own personal experience. It was particularly satisfying to be a part of the Wounded Warrior Project hunt as well and pay tribute to those who have served our country.”   

Safari Club International donated blind material for the hunts. Dalton Utilities staff members built and installed duck blinds in strategic locations for each hunter. Ducks Unlimited provided lunch for all the participants for the youth hunts, which included dog food for the dogs.

Several items were donated by Academy Sports, Dalton Utilities and Ducks Unlimited for a raffle held at the youth hunt that included gift cards, a Ducks Unlimited limited edition .243 rifle, fanny packs, bags, sunglasses protectors, hats and gloves. Shipman’s Taxidermy donated a $250 gift certificate towards a duck mount.

Additionally, each hunter received a goodie bag with items donated by Dalton Utilities, Heatmax Inc., Safari Club International and Timber Ghost, including hats, gloves, night lights, waterproof containers, head nets and Hot Hands.

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