Along The Trail 2-26-15

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Editor’s Note: This is a column written by Switzerland County’s David Hewitt. The articles center on all things ‘outdoors’, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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I’m bored.

There’s nothing to do.

I hate this weather.

How many times have we heard, said or thought these statements the past couple of weeks?

If you’re an outdoorsman, hunter or fisherman looking for something different to do this weekend and break out of the winter time blues, how about attending the upcoming fund raising banquet sponsored by the Laughery Creek Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Short notice, I know, but it’s held right here in Vevay, this Saturday evening, February 28th.

What’s it all about you might ask? Well, the NWTF is a non-profit organization that dates back to the early 70’s. Its mission from the start has been to preserve our hunting heritage and to conserve the wild turkey. Through partnerships with state, local and federal agencies, the NWTF has helped bring wild turkeys back from a modern day low of one million birds to nearly an estimated seven million in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The re-population of the wild turkey is arguably one of the greatest success stories of wildlife conservation. At one point in the U.S.’s history, there was estimated less than 30,000 birds across the country.

But the NWTF isn’t just about increasing the number of birds, the organization also focuses on land preservation and saving habitat.

Since 1973, the NWTF has raised and spent over 4 hundred million dollars to preserve over 17 million acres of habitat. That land and habitat improvement benefits far more than turkeys – it also benefits other upland birds, non-game animals, deer and other large game as well as songbirds and just about any other type of creature you can think of.

All of this restoration, land acquisition, and preservation has been made possible by one group of people.

You guessed it: hunters.

Hunters spend their hard earned dollars on things like guns, ammo, bows, arrows, licenses and all sort of hunting related gear, and without those dollars flowing into state and federal agencies through sales taxes and those agencies partnering with organizations like the NWTF, much of the outdoor experiences that we enjoy wouldn’t be possible.

If the facts that NWTF helps preserve land and to restore and conserve wild turkeys for future hunting generations isn’t enough to encourage hunters to attend the local banquet, maybe a third reason will. NWTF feels that it is vital for the future of hunting to give back and to recruit new hunters into the fold and to introduce hunting in a positive manner to folks that have never had the chance to hunt.

NWTF does this through educational programs, sponsoring youth hunts and creating outdoor events designed to attract ladies and kids into the outdoors. They also donate time, money and experience to other organizations that teach and foster outdoor skills and that share the same passion for wild places that the NWTF does.

This year, the Laughery Creek Longbeards chapter is using the dinner in part as a fundraiser for the Switzerland County Schools, National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). NASP is a great program that has opened up a whole new world for several of our middle school and high school students here in Switzerland County and I can’t think of a better organization for the local NWTF chapter to partner with.

So, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, if you’re still bored and looking for something to do this weekend, contact Jeremy Robinson of the local NWTF chapter and he can give you all the details you’ll need for Saturday evening’s event. He can be reached at (812) 599-7314 or search NWTF online for more information. There will be good food, fellowship, items to purchase, a silent auction and a good time to be had.

– David Hewitt