Hunts of Honor is a non-profit that focuses on giving back to the military, children of fallen officers and soldiers and law enforcement by hosting fully guided hunts. On January 29, three military veterans were guests at Black River Hunt Club in Millwood, courtesy Hunts of Honor.
Sean Calhoun and his team of volunteers have been hosting the events for eight years. Sean said he wanted to do something to give back because he’s lost 27 buddies overseas. “I have a lot of friends who have lost buddies also and this was just something I could do to give back,” said Calhoun.
The first two years they hosted three hunters and in 2019 they hosted 26 veterans and members of law enforcement. “This year we’ll take about 40,” said Calhoun. “It continues to grow.” Candidates are nominated and go through a vetting process.
Hunts of Honor hosts different hunts such as waterfowl, turkey and deer. “We have a team of 18 people spread out across the country that help us with this,” said Calhoun. For his most recent hunt, he chose Black River Hunt Club for its superior accommodations. He visited the club a year earlier to make certain it was suitable for wounded participates. “It’s a phenomenal place,” said Calhoun. “This is the best hunting spot in South Carolina.”
The guests are outfitted with everything they need to hunt. Johnny Thorne of Columbia, Frank Berant of Warrenville, and Mike Moss of York, received a shotgun, ammo and waders and other gear. “It was a great experience,” said Moss. “The amount of birds was insane. Everybody was cutting up and no stressing about anything. It was a great time.”
It was a first for Berant. “I’ve always wanted to go but never had the opportunity so I jumped on it,” said Berant who is an avid deer hunter and an Army National Guardsman. “What these guys do is amazing. I’ve never had an experience like this. Everybody showed me what to do and helped me out. I did a lot of target practice.”
This isn’t the first event Black River Hunt Club owner Tony Williamson has hosted for Hunts of Honor. “This is pay back for those who do service for us,” said Williamson who hosted a group of Richland deputies. “We’ll have them back.”
The veterans’ hunt also will be part of a television program Buck Obsession, aired on the Pursuit Channel. Hunts of Honor is a group of volunteers who have full-time jobs and receive no salary. “We don’t reap any benefits. It’s 100 percent donations.” said Calhoun. “Every now and then we get to come out, like today, and get a little shooting in as well. But that’s not the norm.” To review the nominate process visit huntsofhonor.org and click on the nominate button.