Famous Buckingham gun to reside permanently at Ducks Unlimited

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 30, 2010 – No longer will "Bo Whoop Two," once owned by legendary outdoor writer Nash Buckingham, rest by itself on display at Ducks Unlimited's national headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. Its original counterpart, "Bo Whoop," Buckingham's prized 12-gauge HE Grade Super Fox shotgun, will be donated to DU by Hal B. Howard Jr. of Palm Beach, Fla., at DU's 73rd national convention in May in Dallas.

Howard, 84, a former vice president and New York office director for the investment firm T. Rowe Price, was the gun's highest bidder at a recent auction held by James D. Julia Inc. Howard's father, Hal B. Howard Sr., was Buckingham's close personal friend and hunting partner for more than 30 years. Howard Sr. was mentioned at least a dozen times in Buckingham's stories, more than any other individual.

Bo Whoop inscription

Including the buyer's premium, Howard purchased the gun for $201,250. He wasted little time in contacting DU about his decision to donate the gun for permanent display alongside Bo Whoop Two, which currently resides at DU's national headquarters, courtesy of William B. Dunavant Jr.

"It is of high sentiment to me, and I thought of all the alternatives," Howard said. "I didn't want the gun to end up in Kansas City or somewhere else. It's tied so closely to Memphis and articulated by Nash in his books. It works out very well with DU there. Bo Whoop belongs in Memphis."

Long considered a treasure lost forever after Buckingham misplaced it in 1958, Bo Whoop resurfaced more than 50 years later amid stirring controversy over its authenticity. However, after strenuous background checking and tests, Julia's auction house stood behind the gun's credibility.

"We are extremely grateful to Mr. Howard for his generous donation of such a revered gun," said Randy Graves, DU's chief executive officer. "Nash Buckingham was one of the great waterfowlers and conservationists, and having both of his Bo Whoop guns on display at DU headquarters is an honor and a pleasure. We encourage everyone to visit our headquarters to see these treasures on display."

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Lauren Oxner