BY KATHY PICKENS
The Greenville Standard
The 24th annual Fort Dale Deer Hunt was held Jan. 6-8. Fifty-four hunters participated in this year’s event consisting of a two-day hunt guided by local landowners and culminating with a hunting banquet.
The 2022 Bo Stevenson Memorial Big Buck Award went to Gary Park who harvested a nine-point out on the Ridge with guide Henry Ellis.
This year’s banquet was held at the Butler County Fairgrounds and featured live music by locals Rosie Till and Curk Mosley who have an acoustic band called Two of a Kind.
Wintzell’s catered a delicious dinner of fried chicken, fish, shrimp, cheese grits, red beans and rice, and hush puppies. A variety of homemade desserts topped off the meal.
Hunters, sponsors, and other banquet attendees were able to participate in a variety of raffles and door prize opportunities.
Big ticket hunting items included a Steyr Pro Hunter II 308 caliber rifle with a Leupold scope, a Millennium Treestands Buck Hut, a Bayou Classic fish fryer, a Stihl chainsaw, and a Bergara B-14 Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor rifle.
There were also items like deer feeders, coolers, propane heaters, tool sets, framed art prints, clothing articles, gift baskets and gift certificates.
Over its long history, the proceeds from the deer hunt have been used to benefit the Fort Dale family in different ways.
Starting with the 2020-2021 school year, the goal of the current leadership committee has been to provide scholarships for Fort Dale students taking dual enrollment courses through Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.
To date, they have donated $55,567 to assist with 148 dual enrollment classes.
“This is the one event we look forward to all year, even though it takes twelve months of work to put it together,” said Fort Dale Deer Hunt President Gantt Hartley.
He added, “The committee members, guides, landowners, and other volunteers all have great working relationships and that makes the event a positive experience for all.”
The organizational meeting for next year’s hunt will be held the first week of February. Hartley says that you don’t have to graduate from the deer hunt when your kids graduate from Fort Dale.
Many of the landowners, guides, and volunteers are Fort Dale alumni or parents who have not had kids in school for years.
You can contact Fort Dale Deer Hunt on Facebook for more information.