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Wofford chapter of Ducks Unlimited continues to grow in size and popularity

Tatum Mogck
The annual Ducks Unlimited banquet was held on Nov. 15 with the leading committee. Ducks Unlimited came together to raise money and enjoy food and drinks.

The Ducks Unlimited chapter at Wofford has grown in size and popularity recently. The organization is at many surrounding institutions, including the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, but also extends to institutions across the country and worldwide. 

The chapters are in all different countries, and the organization itself holds large conventions to support the cause as well.

Christopher Hartley ‘24 is the current president of Ducks Unlimited at Wofford. Hartley’s term started in 2022 after Jones Alexander ‘22 graduated and offered him the chance to take over the chapter. 

Hartley works alongside Thomas Hartnett ‘24 and Parker Hopkins ‘25, two of the event coordinators, David Holcombe ‘24, the chapter treasurer and Hayes Leatherman ‘25, the apparel chair among other responsibilities. 

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Ducks Unlimited is a national non-profit organization that was established in 1937, founded by Joseph Knapp. The organization’s headquarters lies in Memphis, Tennessee currently.

Ducks Unlimited’s main purpose is wetland conservation. The proceeds from the organization go towards public land preservation where habits for ducks, geese and other aquatic birds are built. The organization also brings in water sources and plant food to encourage safe and proper reproduction. 

In North America alone, the organization has conserved over 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat and counting. 

“Helping wildlife is what we need to do,” said Hartlet. “Last year, the chapter had approximately 70 members and Hartley has recruited more members, making the chapter total 140 as of now.”

Since Hartley’s term began, the chapter has raised upwards of $45,000 and counting.

The chapter has done one banquet a year along with merchandise sales, but, as of this year, they plan to have one banquet per semester in the future to further the proceeds that Wofford’s chapter brings in annually. 

The annual Ducks Unlimited banquet was held on Nov. 15 with the leading committee. Ducks Unlimited came together to raise money and enjoy food and drinks. (Tatum Mogck)

Bobby Smith, the regional director for the Wofford Ducks Unlimited chapter suggested they hold more Ducks Unlimited events, as Wofford is bringing in a sufficient amount of money for the cause. 

A banquet took place on Nov. 15th, 2023 at the Wightman Pavilion. Ticket sales were a big source of income as 110 tickets were sold, however, the banquet holds an auction where all different types of hunting gear, artwork, and vacations are auctioned off. A total of $21,500 was raised at the most recent event. 

All proceeds are then donated from Wofford to Ducks Unlimited organization to further habit conservation. 

90% of Ducks Unlimited members are hunters, both at Wofford and worldwide levels. 

“Us hunters want there to be a lot of ducks to watch and be able to experience duck hunting,” said Hartley. “We want to help keep safe breeding areas and wildlife conservation spots that benefit the ducks and allow us to keep a steady and healthy population for years to come.”

Hartley will be graduating this coming May, along with two other members of the Ducks Unlimited council, Hartnett and Holcombe, so the chapter will be receiving several new council members to keep the Wofford chapter afloat. 

“I love it and will hopefully have the opportunity to pass it down to someone who will love it too,” said Hartley.

Wofford Ducks Unlimited will be holding another banquet in the spring semester. The plan is to have the Wofford community continue to support this non-profit and keep proceeds up to help the wildlife for the foreseeable future. 

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Maddie Ayers
Maddie Ayers, Staff Writer
Psychology Major from Cornelius, NC
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