One Shot: Helping Tradition and Turkeys Thrive
By Emily George
The intrinsic passion shared among hunters will ignite a unique bond on the eve of the Old Dominion One Shot. A hunter, a guide and a landowner will convene for the first time before they gather afield just before sunrise on a dewy Saturday morning during the peak of spring gobbler season.
The 4th Annual Old Dominion One Shot Fundraiser will take place on April 21, 2018 to help the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia (WFV) and the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries connect the familiar and unfamiliar to the hunting heritage and wildlife conservation.
Bob Duncan, Executive Director of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, shares a zeal for getting others involved in turkey hunting.
“In addition to it just being a fundraiser, it was to try to do something to celebrate the tradition of hunting,” says Duncan.
Old Dominion One Shot stemmed with the motivation to afford wounded veterans, the underprivileged, and young outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in the recreational sport of hunting.
“The emphasis on the hunting part has focused a lot on opportunities for wounded warriors and for young people, and those are two very important elements that I think any program like this should have. Particularly at a time when we are trying to introduce more people to hunting,” says Duncan.
“That’s what the spirit of it is really all about,” says Duncan. “Celebrating turkey hunting and the tradition of hunting in general.”
Taking the Fundraiser to the Field
The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia works to acquire land for public access to recreational outdoor activities, while also implementing stronger land management practices for these properties. Proceeds of the One Shot are used to help offset costs of properties acquired by WFV.
WFV’s traditional fundraiser transformed from an annual auction to an annual spring gobbler hunt to serve a greater purpose for engaging others in the outdoors, and as an opportunity to highlight the remarkable comeback of wild turkeys in Virginia.
Jenny West, Executive Director of the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, wanted to celebrate in a manner that reflected the success of the partnership that has formed between WFV and DGIF to highlight the important role hunting plays in conservation.
“We saw this as an opportunity to showcase our partnership with DGIF, as well as to raise funds to further WFV’s mission. It is also an ideal opportunity to provide hunting opportunities for kids, to try to foster the next generation of sportsmen and women,” says West.
Chip Watkins, owner of Monquin Creek Outfitters in King William County, is a seasoned hunting guide and landowner for the One Shot. He has guided participants on his property each year since the event’s inception.
“I stress the quality of the experience and the story, and that is what One Shot is all about,” says Watkins.
Watkins enjoys guiding each year for the purpose of ensuring the hunter has an opportunity to be successful on his property.
“It’s been a privilege to see others successful in the field,” he says.
Hopes Statewide Participants will Flourish
Though the Old Dominion One Shot Turkey Hunt is a statewide event, it’s been a challenge to recruit participants located far from the capital, because the activities surrounding the hunt are centered around Richmond.
“Our goal is to grow this event so we have One Shot turkey hunters across the state, and to continue to grow the event financially to do more great work on behalf of sportsmen in Virginia,” says West.
Watkins’ vision includes lengthening the event, and increasing hunting participation to contribute to Virginia’s economy.
“I’d like to see people come from out of town and we end up hosting a longer event such as a two-to-three-day event where participants have more time in the field. I want people to be successful and look at every opportunity,” he says.
Bob Duncan wishes to maintain the event as a sustainable funding source for the Foundation while also increasing Virginia hunter numbers. For Duncan, thriving wild turkey management and continuing the hunting tradition are the most vital aspects to preserving Virginia’s sporting heritage.
On the evening of Friday, April 20, the hunting community will come together to celebrate Virginia’s turkey hunting heritage while giving new and seasoned hunters alike a revitalizing experience. The energy accumulated will wake the woods and bring the birds down from the roost just before dawn on April 21.
Five youth, ages 15 and under, will win a spot in the hunt by participating in an essay contest. To find further material about the youth essay contest and information about how to participate as a hunter, guide or landowner, visit www.vaoneshot.com.