Annual Banquet To Support Area Ducks Unlimited Projects
Through the efforts of Ducks Unlimited chapters, such as the Palo Alto County Chapter, three northwest Iowa conser-vation projects have been earmarked for completion in the hopes of bringing waterfowl hunters and outdoor enthusiasts more waterfowl and other wildlife to enjoy in the area.
“Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest wetlands, waterfowl, and wildlife conservation organization,” said Ron Riha, Area Co-Chairman of the Palo Alto Ducks Unlimited Chapter “DU has conserved over 12 million acres of wetlands and related waterfowl habitat since 1937. The majority of DU’s revenues are generated by one million supporters and members through fund-raising events like the Palo Alto Banquet on October 31 at the VFW in Emmetsburg. The funds from our banquet go to support our science-based wetland restoration projects.”
The annual banquet on Oct. 31 will feature several special auction items, including a Browning Silver Hunter semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun with Advantage Max-4 camo. 3 1/2” chamber, DuraTouch finish, adjustable stock and the DU logo on receiver.
Also on the auction block will be artworks including “Evening Sprigs” by Peter Mathios, International Artist of the Year; “Golden Retreat” Terry Redlin canvas series print and “Moonlight Retreat” Terry Redlin Canvas series print. Also being offered is a special print, “My First Limit” by Ralph McDonald.
Other auction items will include a Redhead decoy “Shooting Rig“, “Whitetail Legends” bronze sculpture, a 72 pc. DU Flatware set, DU tricycle and many Avery brand Camo hunting accessories, including blind bags, gun slings, gun cases, caps, and ammo belts.
Area businesses have donated many items for raffles and the silent auction and much of the DU merchandise offered has been underwritten by donations from area businesses.
This year’s program format will be abbreviated in order to get attendees out early in case they want to continue the evening at other Halloween events. There will be several quick raffles with limited tickets available, so attendees want to be prepared to step up when they go on sale. Among the raffles will be a hunting gear raffle, a fisherman raffle, a knife raffle and others. There will also be a Halloween costume contest for any attendees that want to come in costume. And, a special “Pumpkin Raffle” will allow participants to have a “smashing” good time.
The committee is also planning a “Longest Rooster Tail” contest to celebrate the opening of pheasant season on Oct. 31. Attendees may bring their longest tail feather from the day’s hunt, with a prize of a unique pheasant wooden art piece by Rosemary Millette.
Tickets can be obtained from any DU committee member, including Grant Duhn, Ron Riha, Clint Young, Brian Garrels, Ron Ludwig, Tim Stowell, Chad Fank, Andy Stolley, Andy Joyce, Jordan Cody, Josh Perdue, and Brett Steinkamp.
“Early bird” ticket purchases include the option of buying raffle tickets at a reduced price. Deadline is this weekend. Advance ticket purchases are recommended as tickets may or may not be available at the door and Tickets purchased before October 23 will be entered in a special gun drawing.
.A portion of the proceeds from the local banquet will be used for the completion of the three area projects. Those projects are:
Four Mile Lake, a 215-acre marsh on a 691-acre State Wildlife Manage-ment Area (WMA) just west of Estherville; Burr Oak Lake, an 87-acre project on a 321-acre WMA located four miles north of Graettinger and Dan Green Slough, a 288-acre marsh about 20 miles northwest of Emmetsburg.
“Ducks Unlimited will raise about $1.5 million in the state of Iowa this year,” according to Brian Garrels, District DU Chairman for the Iowa Great Lakes area of the North Iowa Region. “However, Ducks Unlimited has earmarked $1.7 million of ex-penditures on these local projects and other projects around the state, indicating DU’s commitment and significance of the of the waterfowl habitat in this part of North America.”