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Quantico blinds quickly put to use
Ken Perrotte's outdoor column

Date published: 1/29/2009

AN ARTICLE in Sun- day's Free Lance- Star reported on Saturday's inaugural hunts at Marine Corps Base Quantico in duck blinds built to accommodate wounded warriors needing wheelchair access.

The morning hunts, prior to the big dedication festivities, were long on fun but short on ducks in the bag. But, hey, that's duck hunting. The camaraderie of a duck blind is a wonderful thing and, hopefully, some wounded service members who are new to the sport have discovered another way to enjoy the outdoors.

The day didn't end with the ceremony, though.

After the formal program, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Dave Elwing, president of the Pentagon Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, asked Chief Warrant Officer Bradley A. Garfield, an explosive ordnance disposal officer who was wounded by an explosive device, if he wanted to hang around for an afternoon hunt.

Garfield, like many wounded warriors, is a consummate trooper, ready to push the boundaries of the perceived limitations caused by their injuries. He and Elwing headed toward a semi-frozen marshy area of Quantico, where they racked up a limit of mallards, black ducks and a pintail.

Elwing described the afternoon as one of those moments of duck-hunting nirvana. His joy at sharing it with Garfield was palpable.

The expanded hunting opportunities at Quantico come about through a cooperative effort. Ducks Unlimited staff members designed the boardwalks and blinds to allow access for wheelchair-bound hunters and other disabled vets. The organization's volunteers also raised funds to purchase materials. Marine Corps and DU volunteers built the blinds and boardwalks.

In a Semper Fi effort, Mike Budd, DU's regional biologist, along with Elwing and Quantico's Col. Wade Hall and Tim Stamps, shepherded the duck blind project.

LOCAL MEN ROLL BIG ROCKS

Our fishing report compiler, Michael O'Malley, sent word of a group of local area men having a day for the record books while fishing out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach for rockfish this week with Danny Crabbe on the Kit II.

They'd nearly picked up a limit of big winter rocks by trolling before trying some light tackle jigging. Every angler notched citation-sized fish quickly enough to be back to the dock by noon.


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