Wild Turkey Federation banquet Friday

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 17, 2003

Pike County's 10th Annual National Wild Turkey Federation Banquet dinner and auction will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 at Swindall's RV Park on County Road 14 off U.S. Highway 231 south of Troy.

Tickets for the dinner are $55 for couples and $45 for singles and include the meal, membership and the federation's magazine.

Sponsorships are $250 and include dinner for four, membership, magazine and other sponsor perks.

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&uot;A gun is given away for every 10 sponsors so the more sponsors we have the more guns we'll give away,&uot; said Elmer Gene Fleming, publicity chairman for the event. &uot;We'll have an auction that is second to none and one that any outdoorsman will want to attend. Everything on the auction block will be related to the outdoors - guns, guns and more guns, more than 30 paintings, statues, duck and turkey decoys, lamps, chests and more things than I can name.&uot;

Fleming said the NWTF is a 450,000-member grassroots, nonprofit organization with members in all 50 states, Canada and 11 other countries.

&uot;The National Wild Turkey Federation supports scientific wildlife management on public, private and corporate lands,&uot; he said. &uot;The federation also supports wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport.&uot;

The NWTF was founded in 1973 and, at that time, there were an estimated 1.3 million wild turkeys and 1.5 million wild turkey hunters in the United States. Although the NWFT was founded in Fredericksburg, Va. the headquarters are now in Edgefield, S.C.

Fleming said the number of wild turkeys and wild turkey hunters has grown steadily over the past 30 years due to the work of federal, state and provincial wildlife agencies and the NWTF's volunteers and partners.

&uot;There are now about 5.6 million wild turkeys and about 2.6 million turkey hunters in our country,&uot; he said. &uot;Turkey hunting has become the second highest participated kind of hunting and it the fastest growing kind of hunting.&uot;

Fleming said more than $168 million - both NWTF and cooperator dollars - have been spent on more than 22,000 projects since 1985. These dollars have benefited wild turkeys and other game and nongame species throughout the United States and Canada.

Hunters have benefited because the NWTF has supported America's hunting heritage and protected and promoted laws that increase hunting opportunities and safety.