Hunting Heritage banquet Saturday

Published 10:37 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Selma’s Blaster chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its Hunting Heritage banquet on Saturday at Lions Park at 7 p.m.

“It supports our mission statement of the conservation of the wild turkey as well as our hunting heritage as it is important to the NWTF to pass the hunting tradition on to the next generation,” said Jere Peak, founder of the Selma chapter and current chairman of the NWTF national board of directors.

The chapter eclipsed the $500,000 fundraising mark two years ago and has turned its focus to the next milestone — $750,000. Past banquets have raised an average of $45-55,000, with 56 percent of the funds returned to the state and county levels for the continuing of conservation efforts.

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“What I believe separates NWTF from other conservation groups is that the money we raise on our banquets, a portion comes back to the state and our county to be used for conservation projects,” said Peak. “These projects include habitat improvement, and the reforestation of hardwoods.”

Banquet tickets are $55 apiece, $75 per couple and $20 for children 17-and-under (JAKES). The ticket price includes dinner from Mobile-based Rousso’s Seafood and a one-year NWTF membership. The event is open to non-members.

In addition to Rousso’s, other attractions include raffle items, a verbal auction and silent auction, including a “JAKES hunt of a lifetime.”

The JAKES winner gets a two-day hunting trip at the NWTF’s expense and a 20-gauge shotgun.

The chapter is placing a heavy emphasis on a family and kid-friendly atmosphere.

“It’s an event that we designed on a family atmosphere so people are comfortable bringing wife and spouse,” said Peak. “There will be talks on conservation and wild turkey, but it’s also built around the theme of having fun.”