By BADF Northeast Florida Chapter
On Dec. 13, 2008, 12 men representing the Wounded Warrior project descended on a cornfield near Brooker, Fla., for an afternoon of fellowship and dove-hunting. The shoot was sponsored by the Northeast Florida Buckmasters, with the assistance of one of their primary corporate sponsors, Quality Plumbing.
Quality Plumbing owner Brian Nazworth and his family provided the field for the shoot, as well as the facility and shelter where meals and safety instruction were provided.
Hunt organizers went the extra mile to ensure everyone’s needs were taken care of, including acquiring shotguns and ammunition, distributing hay bails for stand locations, and providing a practice trap shoot after lunch. Volunteers also helped with bird retrieval and meals before and after the shoot.
Chuck Oden, Northeast Florida Buckmasters committee member, had found the Wounded Warriors program on the internet. He and his brother Wayne went to Jacksonville to meet them and let them know what Buckmasters was all about and to see how they could help. That’s when they came up with the idea for the dove shoot. Five war veterans from Alachua were able to attend, and they had a great time showing the younger guys the ropes and telling war stories.
The event started with a bang with some tune-up skeet shooting. While they all might have been on the same team in the war, it didn’t take long for a little service-branch competitiveness to show up. All the boasting and trash talking kept the mood light right up until the noon meal, which was catered by Lee’s Catering our of Lake Butler, Fla. Later in the day, after the shoot, Donnie cooked up some venison and gator tail. An evening campfire put the final touches on the event, and nobody wanted to be the first to leave.
Once the numbers were in, it took 1,450 shots to bag 69 birds.
"That was the most fun I’ve ever had in a dove field, which is amazing considering I never fired a shot," said Steve Brown, regional director for the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation. "The guys I worked with were dove magnets, and they certainly did their share of shooting out there. In all, we probably shot 10 boxes of shells, and they certainly kept me busy with my retrieval duties! It was a blast, literally!"
The dove shoot is just one example of the many community service projects sponsored by the Northeast Florida Buckmasters. They continue to be one of the most active chapters in the country for the BADF.