Friday, November 26, 2010

Check out today's copy of the Charleston Post and Courier!

RAVENEL -- The early morning sun sliced through the trees and warmed the hunters as they talked, laughed, and surveyed their birds.
Far removed from the commercialism surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, 14 relatives and close friends of the Cordrays gathered on a rural piece of land to spend the holiday morning hunting geese.
In a modern-day version of hunting for one's own food, Andy Parker and Evelyn Branton harvest a bucket of oysters for Thanksgiving dinner early Thursday afternoon near DeWees Island. When asked why, they answered in near unison, 'fresh is best.'
Kenneth Cordray (from right), Chase Kierspe, Kyle Jordan and Jake Casa went hunting on Thanksgiving morning in Ravenel and, along with some fellow holiday hunters, bagged 7 Canada geese. Cordray was looking to choose the best one for taxidermy as a hunting trophy for one of the hunters who shot his first goose.
They ended up with seven birds, never mind how many shots it took to get them. This hunt wasn't about bragging rights.
It was a chance for them to spend time together while doing something they love. On a day meant for gratitude, this was an opportunity to take a step back and remind themselves of their blessings.
"You're working all the time, and you don't think about what a wonderful place we live in," said Michael Cordray, who owns a cattle farm and venison processing business. "How fortunate are we to live where we do."
For Kenneth Cordray, Michael's son who runs a taxidermy shop, Thursday was his first day off since the middle of August. He appreciated the time off, as did the rest of the group.
While in the field waiting for the geese, the hunters were so caught up in catching up that Cordray had to quiet them down so they could hunt, he said.
He's organized the Thanksgiving Day geese hunt for two years, and he said he'll do it again next year if the geese still are there.
None of the birds shot will go to waste. The hunters may give some away to a needy nearby resident who welcomes extra meat, and some may be set aside to make goose-jerky later this year.
And, similar to the first Thanksgiving celebration hundreds of years ago, some of their kill might be served as part of a meal later in the day. As he cleaned geese, Jake Casa, a good family friend of the Cordrays, talked about how he might season a breast, wrap it in bacon, grill it and eat it as an appetizer.
Elsewhere in the Lowcountry, a region rich in its hunting tradition, similar scenes played out. Andy Parker planned to grill some of the ducks he shot on Wednesday as part of his Thanksgiving dinner. He started Thanksgiving morning duck hunting on the upper tributaries of the Cooper River, and he spent the afternoon gathering oysters near Capers Island.
"We just like going out there and hunting," he said.
Back at the Cordrays,' the hunters had finished hanging around, recapping the morning's hunt and cleaning the birds by 9 a.m.
As the sun rose higher, the number of hunters dwindled, leaving behind a serene wilderness.
Reach Diette Courrégé at 937-5546.

James McPheeters got dunked with the help of David Mellard to join the Cordray's First Deer Hall of Fame!

Cooper Coker got an 8 point!

Preston Shiell joined the Cordray's First Deer Hall of Fame with an 8 point!

Scott Thorpe brought an 8 point in to Cordray's!

Michael Sally got a 4 point buck on Thanksgiving Eve!

Keith Hiers got a 10 point!

Wild harvest | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

Wild harvest | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment