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Gary Howey

” IN 2017

Conservation Organizations Supporters of Wildlife By Gary Howey

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

March 14, 2018

What do local Whitetails Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Quail Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have in common?

They are all conservation organizations that support wildlife, habitat as well as numerous other programs, working hard to promote hunting and conservation.

With the greater population of the United States becoming urbanized, with less people living in our rural areas, people are becoming disconnected with the land and the outdoors.

Hunting has always been an American tradition, helping to put food on the table, an opportunity for friends and families to spend time together and to celebrate the great outdoors.

Many of the dollars raised by these Conservation Organizations and groups at their banquets and other events remain in the area and is used for land acquisition, the planting of nesting cover, foodplots, mentor hunts as well as other youth programs.(Photo courtesy of Jeff Davis WTU))

Our ancestors had to hunt in order to survive, hunting deer, elk, waterfowl, turkey and upland game, allowing them to live in the vast frontier, which was once America.

As our larger cities expand, with housing developments, businesses, concrete and drainage tiles replacing native grasses, creeks and trees, there is less space for wildlife.

This along with some of the farming practices has diminished habitat and in some cases eliminated it.

With less land to hunt, if you are a parent who would like to take your children hunting, where do you go?

Luckily, for those of us who hunt, there are numerous conservation organizations, like those, I mentioned above helping, working hard to promote hunting and getting into the outdoors.

Each of these organizations has non-hunter mentor programs, giving those that have not had a chance to hunt, the opportunity.

Working closely with Hunter’s Safety programs, the Game & Parks and DNR, these nationwide organizations take these individuals afield to experience their first hunt.

It may be for a pheasant, quail, turkey, waterfowl or a big game hunt, allowing non-hunters to spend time outdoors, observing all that Mother Nature has designed and created and to have an opportunity to bag game just as our fore fathers had.

These organizations work hard to make their banquets and their organizations, family orientated, allowing families the opportunity to spend time together, something that seems to be disappearing or no longer happens in our society.

In the fast-paced electronic world, we live in, where some adults and kids spend more time on their cell phones, computers and playing video games than spending time with their family and not have enough time to set down with their family for a meal and to talk to one another.

At many of these banquets, Veteran’s are honored with special drawings for those who are or have served. (photo of N.E. Nebraska WTU Banquet courtesy of WTU & Jeff Davis.

At many households when families do sit down for a meal, communications does not seem to be a big part of it, as family members are on their cell phones and not talking to each other.

These conservation organizations, work hard to get the entire family involved and these banquets are not just for the men.   Many of the banquet committee members are women who love to hunt, wives, and girlfriends who enjoy the sport of hunting.

Many of these banquets, have special games and drawings for the kids, some for lifetime hunting permits, clothing, backpacks, BB & pellet guns, twenty-two rifles and other hunting related gear.

More families are also attending these banquets each year, spending quality time with friends and family, while enjoying excellent meals and taking part in the festivities, the live auction, raffles, silent auctions and games.

The dollars received at these banquets are put to good use; hiring individuals to meet  with the Federal Government to assure that conservation programs and habitat  will be included in the Farm Bill, locally to establish habitat, nesting cover, planting foodplots, wetland acquisitions,  youth projects, purchasing lifetime permits, mentor hunts and much more.

This is the time of the year when these and other similar outdoor events are taking place, if you are into hunting, the outdoors or thinking about getting into it, it is a great place to start and something, you should check into.

These conservation groups are the grass roots organizations, working hard to make sure there is habitat for wild game to survive, land for us to hunt and to assure the future of hunting.

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