By NOREEN HYSLOP
The 8th Annual National Wildlife Turkey Federation (NWTF) Crowley's Ridge Limbhangers Chapter Hunting Heritage Banquet and Auction is set for Saturday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at the local Elks Lodge.
A host of local merchants and individuals annually donate items to be auctioned off following the banquet, including original art and several hunting-related items.
The NWTF operated under the motto, "Conserve. Hunt. Share." The organization was activated on a national level in 1973 and has worked with wildlife agencies to transport more than 192,000 wild turkeys to suitable habitats through donations of 135,000 wild turkey transfer boxes. The group supports shooting and hunting organizations directly involved in
preserving traditional wildlife management and protecting the area's hunting heritage. There are currently more than 584,000 members involved in 2,350 chapters in 50 states, Canada, Mexico and 14 other foreign countries, according to local veterinarian, Dr. Kyle Ouzts, who heads up this year's event.
The local Crowley's Ridge Limbhangers Chapter's efforts have provided outdoor opportunities and challenges for area youth in and around Stoddard County for more than 10 years. They're a dedicated group who meets monthly to focus not only on educating youngsters with regard to hunting safety and responsibility, but also to work toward upholding hunting traditions and conserving the area's wildlife habitat. Since its inception, the NWTF has spent millions of dollars upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 13.1 million acres of wildlife habitat.
The mission of the NWTF involves teaching the principles of wildlife management and passing along the traditions of safe, ethical and responsible hunting techniques to interested youth in Southeast Missouri.
Proceeds from the group's annual banquet and auction provide funds that enable the organization's work to be carried on throughout the year. At this year's affair, a Browning A-Bolt Medallion .30-.06 rifle will be raffled off, along with a teak Bistro outdoor table and chair set. Tickets for the items are available at $20 each and may be purchased, along with tickets for the Jan. 19 banquet, by contacting Ouzts at (573) 258-0770.