By Event and Development Coordinator Dante Swallow, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
It was a cold, dark, early morning as we all slid into our hip waders and filled our pockets with shells. As the guides arrived at the dock, the sun began to peak over the Atlantic. It was my first time hunting on the Maryland shore, and as a Montana native, my first experience hunting ducks on the ocean. Once on the water, we patiently watched the surf scoters, white winged scoters and black scoters fly above the Atlantic, with a select few breaking from their flocks at the sight of our decoys. Unlike hunting from my blind back home, when the ducks flew in I was forced to account for the slow rolling waves underneath me as I shouldered my gun and balanced my shot. As the trip winded down in the afternoon, we had a boat full of birds as well as a handful of new stories.
This trip offered a great opportunity to try a new form of hunting, learn about the region’s guide service industry, and enjoy the comradery that comes along with spending time alongside fellow sportsmen.
Hunting and angling is vital to ensuring that small and local businesses on the Maryland’s Eastern Shore remain viable in the winter. Across the state, Maryland’s sportsmen act as leaders in conservation and economic drivers for the state. With over 445,000 hunters and anglers currently living in Maryland, it is critical that the more than $800 million spent annually by the sportsmen’s community is sustained.
Hunting alongside a Republican legislator from South Carolina and Democratic legislator from Maryland also served as a reminder that working to protect and advance hunting and angling transcends party lines, and is critical to both the national economy and the conservation of our fish and wildlife resources for future generations. At CSF, we continually work with our national network of sportsman-legislators to ensure that hunting and angling seasons are properly managed across the country.
Thank you to Pitboss Waterfowl Guides for leading the hunting trip and video provided below.