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Pheasants Forever banquet is April 9

Pheasants Forever had a busy year in 2009, spending more than $34.7 million on programming that included $4.9 million in land acquisitions.

Nationwide, the 621 Pheasants Forever chapters, 103 Quail Forever chapters and 125,000 members of "The Habitat Organization" completed over 22,000 wildlife habitat projects last year.

Those projects included approximately 8,300 acres of land acquired and then opened to public hunting and recreation as state-managed wildlife areas or federal Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs). Altogether, 500,000 acres were benefited through these projects, for the betterment of pheasants, quail and other wildlife.

The Pine to Prairie chapter of Pheasants Forever, which includes Becker and Mahnomen counties, also reached a milestone this past year.

The chapter was awarded an Outstanding Chapter-Conservation Excellence Award for 2009, in recognition of the fact that it has raised $250,000 in contributions toward local habitat and conservation projects since its inception.

The chapter was established in 1999. Since then, it has actually spent almost $375,000 on habitat improvement and land acquisition projects in Becker and Mahnomen counties, according to chapter president David McArthur.

"There have been 264 acres of habitat improvements done in both counties," he added.

Some of those projects have included Hubbel Pond, Ogema Springs and the Frank and Teiken-Dalve wildlife areas in Becker County; and the Vanose, Waubun and Pederson projects in Mahnomen County.

One particularly large project was the acquisition of 200 acres north of Ogema from Isabelle Pederson, which took place two years ago.

The chapter is now nearing the end of a three-year restoration project on the property, which is expected to be completed next fall, said McArthur.

"It's in the process of being restored to native grasses," he added. Wetland restoration and food plot installation were also included in the project.

The chapter's accomplishments will be celebrated at its annual banquet, which is set for Friday, April 9 at the Ogema Community Center.

A 6 p.m. "crowing hour" will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. There will be door prizes, games and raffle drawings throughout the evening. Some of the raffle items to be given away include firearms such as a Remington Model 770 Center Sportsman; a Browning A Bolt II Medallion 270; Winchester SXR Auto Loader 2760; Savage Model Bolt Action 22-25; and more.

Tickets are $40 for chapter members and $20 for spouses and children. A $30 membership fee for each member will be sent to the national organization; the remainder of the profits from the banquet will go directly to the Pine to Prairie chapter, McArthur noted.

Banquet tickets may be purchased at M & W Foods in Ogema; E-Z One Stop in Waubun; or by contacting chapter members Dave McArthur, 218-204-0647; Les Kent, 218-204-1670; or Brad Riggle, 218-850-2723.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454