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Banquet Helps Save Turkey Population

By Lia Russell, Staff Writer, Leesville Daily Leader


The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation - the Whiskey Chitto Longbeards - held its annual fund-raising banquet recently at the West Louisiana Forestry Festival Fairgrounds.

Chapter president Donnie Perkins and his banquet committee organized an impressive benefit, which included dinner catered by the Hickory Smokehouse. Highlights of the evening included the auctioning of numerous pieces of artwork and firearms, and very suspenseful prize drawings.

"I would like to thank all the people and merchants who donated items for the banquet, and all the individuals who participted to make this our most successful event ever," said Perkins.

The event was attended by approximately 330 outdoor enthusiasts and over $30,000 was raised. One thousand dollars of the money is allocated to a scholarship for a Vernon Parish student. Seventy percent of the proceeds will go to the NWTF Wild Turkey Super Fund. The fund pools money raised from membership banquets and donated by corporate and individual sponsors around the country. The money is used for a variety of causes including general wildlife conservation, habitat management, education (including scholarships), hunter safety and wild turkey restoration.

Since 1985, more than $130 million has been spent on more than 15,000 NWTF projects.

The NWTF, headquartered in Edgefield, South Carolina, is a national nonprofit conservation and education organization dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. It currently boasts over 315,000 members.

In 1973, when the federation was founded, there were only 1.3 million turkeys throughout the United States. Since then, and due in large part to the efforts of the NWTF and state wildlife agencies, the number of wild turkeys has tripled to over 5.4 million.