The spring banquet season for conservation groups across the region is in full swing, and besides raising money for good causes, the events are a good way to bridge the gap between winter and spring, the “tween season” when activities requiring ice and snow are on the wane, but spring options are limited.
Of the events I know about — and I’m sure there are others — the first one on the calendar is set for 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Lazy Jacks, 6735 Fairgrounds Road N.W., in Bemidji, where the local Ruffed Grouse Society is hosting a “Birds and Brew” event.
There’s no charge for the event, which is open to anyone with an interest in talking about grouse and woodcock hunting, bird dogs or anything else pertaining to being out in the woods.
Ted Dick, a DNR and Ruffed Grouse Society regional biologist, will be on hand to talk about grouse, woodcock and habitat.
Another event that looks like a lot of fun is set for Saturday, March 25, in Lancaster, Minn., where the North Red River Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is holding a “Bucks and Bologna Night” at the Lancaster Community Center.
Besides the usual assortment of games and raffles, there’ll be trophy mounts, shed antlers and other antlers on display, along with a display of trail camera photos.
Last, but certainly not least, six teams will be sharing their homemade smoked sausage and vying for the title of Top Bologna Bunch. The sausage will serve as the main course for the 7:30 p.m. meal.
Since its revival a couple of years ago, the North Red River chapter has been one of the more active MDHA chapters in the area.
Below are just a few of the northwest Minnesota projects and groups that have benefited from the chapter’s recent efforts:
- Donations for gun safety classes in Hallock, Lancaster, Karlstad, Stephen and Argyle.
- Sponsorship of six students to attend Deep Portage conservation camp near Hackensack, Minn.
- Sponsorship of National Archery in the Schools program at Kittson Central, Lancaster and Stephen/Argyle with training for faculty.
- Donation to Heritage Christian School in Karlstad, Minn., for Outdoor Survival Class and winter camping trip to Lake Bronson State Park.
- Donation to Stephen/Argyle clay target team.
- Donation to Argyle Sportsmen Club for trap range development.
- Donation to Keeping Kids in the Outdoors Field Day.
- Purchased Lensmatic compasses for all gun safety students.
- Rifle donation to Predators on the Prairie varmint Hunt .
- Conservation Partners Legacy Grant for habitat development projects on state land.
- Distribution of soybean, corn and sunflower seed for membership food plots.
- Promotion of specialty seed (forage rapeseed, radishes, crimson clover, turnips, brassica and clover mixes) for membership food plots.
I was invited to be a judge for the chapter’s upcoming sausage-tasting event, but unfortunately, a prior commitment prevents me from attending. At any rate, it sounds like a fun evening for those who attend. Chapter president Kelly Turgeon is the go-to guy for more information about the event, and he can be reached at email@example.com o4r by phone at (218) 988-2567.
Other banquets on the calendar include:
- March 25: The Red River Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will be hosting the 27th Annual Big Game Banquet in the Alerus Center Ballroom, Grand Forks. Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Info: Paul Eslinger, (701) 202-0196.
- March 25: Lake Region Pheasants Forever banquet, Devils Lake Memorial Building, downtown Devils Lake. Social hour 5 p.m., with dinner at 6. Info/tickets: Tom Rost, (701) 662-8620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- May 5: Lake of the Woods chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society 27th annual banquet, 5:30 p.m., Springsteel Resort north of Warroad, Minn. Ticket info TBA.