In one family’s ownership since 1940, four generations have enjoyed the opportunity to see waterfowl and upland shooting at its finest on the Honga River and Chesapeake Bay. The deeded 1000 acres of land consists of marshland and woodland with 6 large ponds and endless miles of waterfront. The hunting property is approved for a Regulated Shooting Area by the State of Maryland which enhances the possibilities of guaranteed waterfowl shooting throughout the waterfowl season.
The Main Lodge has been on this site since the early 1900s and the new lodge was reconstructed in 1967 to its original flavor of the great Gunning Clubs of the days of Walter Chrysler in Dorchester County. The Lodge has a large wood paneled living room with a grand fireplace and bar. The entrance hall gives each hunter his personal locker with gun storage. The formal dining room has murals depicting the waterman’s life on the Chesapeake Bay. For your continues pleasure, an additional poker room to enjoy your cigar and brandy. Five bedrooms, each with a private bath and a wonderful enclosed widow walk allows spectacular views of the property over cocktails. The pier at the Lodge offers quick access to your duck / goose blind by boat. In addition to the Lodge, the offering includes a Caretakers Residence located on the bay, with all furnishings and equipment.
Hoopers Island Gun Club is a destination rich in Eastern Shore history and tradition. It’s about closing the doors to your office on a Friday afternoon and opening your eyes to the bounty of wildlife native to the Chesapeake Bay and the Honga River. It’s about the camaraderie you’ll enjoy scanning the skies with fellow hunters and teaching younger generations how to tempt blue crabs into their baskets. It’s about exploring a pristine secret of Maryland that will feel like your own private world.
A former guest of the island shares his memories:
My wife and I realized that our sons were growing and the days were passing too quickly. We needed to take a break from our daily hustle. “I just wish,” my wife said, “that we could get away and freeze time.” That same day, we received a Christmas card from my mother. On the front was an illustration of the Hooper’s Island Lighthouse. We looked at each other and I said, “Maybe time freezes there.”
We never regretted that escape. The boys found fossils along the icy shoreline and they used my best binoculars to spot deer. You should have seen my youngest son’s proud face the first time he fired a shotgun, wearing his brother’s weathered duck boots. That Christmas, we ate his wild turkey. And when my wife opened her new camera, she told me she couldn’t wait to take it to Hoopers Island in the summertime.
The island became our sanctuary over the years – the place where our boys hoisted big rockfish into our little boat and where my wife captured all of our seasons for slideshows. Time did freeze there. We slowed our paces to study not only the nature around us, but also one another.
Another former guest of the island shares his memories:
“There’s something special about waking before the sun rises, smelling the coffee brewing outside our rooms, and treading though the fallen leaves with flashlights to find those glowing eyes of our prize buck. It’s in my blood, I recon, the most important initiation into my manhood. But since we’ve been hunting on Hoopers Island, the sport brought me even closer to my friends. We’ve become brothers in a sense. And now we have a tradition of our own. We used to gather around the old timers while they sipped their fine blended whisky just to hear their stories. Those stories are ours now. And I hope that they’ll continue until the day I rest my gun.”
And finally, from the owner of Hoopers Island Gun Club:
Over the last almost 50 years I have had the opportunity to entertain and hunt with many people. Each one has their own story.
I have had the privilege to hunt with 4 generations of my family, each with their special stories. My grandmother who would sit out in an off shore blind all day no matter what the weather was constantly complaining to the guide that there were not enough birds and what was he going to do about it. She was all about the hunting, yet would have gourmet meals prepared for the guests upon their arrival back to the lodge. The times that were spent with my father in a blind were numerous and always epic in some manner. Shooting after dark as 200 geese descended upon us and the mayhem that ensued afterwards, cutting a slug shell and skipping it across the water to make waterfowl move, marveling at all the dogs that were a part of our hunting tales, good times and the bad ones, talking. Having the chance to share with my daughter what my father and I had a chance to enjoy together may be one of the highlights of my life. To watch as she became proficient at waterfowl hunting was a complete joy. To see the same appreciation that all before her saw in her eyes was amazing.
A duck blind is a special place, that is hard to describe to anyone who has not experienced it. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to share this unique space with many very close friends and am closer to them for having had the chance. To then be able to come back to the warm confines of the lodge and sit by a fire and continue the camaraderie is ‘as good as it gets’.
For 4 generations we have kept the traditions alive through good hunting, good eating and good fellowship. It has been one hell of a run!