River Gobblers to host first banquet Jan. 26

River Gobblers to host first banquet Jan. 26 The Vermillion River Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will host its first annual Super Fund wildlife banquet on Saturday night, Jan. 26, at the Eagles Club in Vermillion.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with a social hour. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m.

The banquet will feature raffles and games, door prizes, a silent auction and a live auction. The auctions feature guns, limited edition artwork, sculptures, turkey calls, decoys, jewelry, afghans, knives and many other unique items for wildlife enthusiasts. There will also be artwork of waterfowl, deer, elk, song birds, and turkey.

The NWTF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and wise management of the wild turkey and its habitats, and the preservation of the American hunting heritage. Funds generated through membership dues and fund-raising banquets are used for habitat improvement, habitats acquisition, turkey population restoration, research, education, tree planting, winter food plots, programs to introduce youth and women to the outdoors, protect the American hunting heritage, and other valuable wildlife projects.

The NWTF has over 390,000 members in 50 states and Canada, and will hold 1800 Super Fund banquets in 2002. These fund-raising banquets will raise over $23 million for wildlife.

Sixty-one percent of the net proceeds from every local chapter banquet is used in the home state for wildlife conservation, 24 percent goes into a fund for national research and local tree planting, food plot projects, and winter depredation problems, and 15 percent is used for membership services and chapter development.

"The National Wild Turkey Federation is the fastest growing conservation organization in the United States," said Randy Gaskins, South Dakota's regional director from the NWTF. "We presently have 22 chapters in South Dakota, and we are putting a priority on expanding rapidly into the region. The more money we raise in the Super Fund banquets, the more money we can put directly on the ground for wildlife projects in South Dakota."

In the early 1900s there were only about 30,000 wild turkeys left in America, and now through the hard work of dedicated sportsmen, conservationists, and state and federal game agencies, there are over 5.4 million wild turkeys in North America. This is one of the greatest conservation stories, and the progress continues today.

In South Dakota the NWTF is working with the S.D. Game, Fish, & Parks Department to re-introduce the eastern sub-species of wild turkey into the eastern portion of the state.

Tickets for the Vermillion River Gobblers Chapter Banquet are $35 for a single, $45 for a couple, and $10 for kids. The ticket price includes a membership in the NWTF, six issues of the Turkey Call magazine, four issues of The Caller newspaper, dinner, and a chance at the door prizes.

For more information about the NWTF or tickets for the banquet, please call Mike at 624-0248 or Cory at 761-0265.

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