Pheasants Forever enjoys Silver Anniversary celebration

By: 
Mike Getman

Pheasants Forever committee member Mike Getman holds up one of the shotguns in the silent auction on Tuesday night’s banquet. 

Photos by Jacques Rutten

Two hundred and ten local and non-resident upland bird hunters, landowners, and others packed the Trade Center recently for an enjoyable and productive 25th annual Central Montana Chapter of Pheasants Forever fund-raising banquet.  

It was an evening of many fun-filled activities, including a general raffle, silent auction, bucket raffles, several shotgun raffles and a live auction. The Yogo Inn catered an excellent prime rib supper. Jayson Shobe led the live auction and entertained the crowd with his splendid sense of humor that only an experienced auctioneer who personally knows the crowd could do.

What made this year’s banquet special was a unique logo the Chapter created to commemorate its 25th anniversary. This logo contained the normal Pheasants Forever design with the addition of Square Butte in the background. Mid-State Signs of Winifred assisted with the design and produced special hats, beer mugs, clothing and other items. To obtain a 25th anniversary hat or beer mug, guests had to purchase one, which also entered them into a raffle to win a gun. Other items were available through the silent auction or general raffle.  

“About $18,000 will be netted from this banquet which will help fund next year’s management of our Coffee Creek and Wolf Creek properties” reported Pat Logan, who is the Chapter treasurer.

Cathy Roberts, banquet chairman, who donated more time to this event than anyone else, said, “This banquet was another incredible success. I appreciate the members who helped with the event and I’m very thankful to every business and individual that provided donations. We could not do this without their support, which is another reason to shop locally. I can’t begin to list all the businesses that contributed, but each donated item contained information about the donor, and all who attended know which businesses helped us.”

Craig Roberts, Chapter president, said, “I really appreciate the continued support from everyone, not only this year, but for the past 25 years. The initial shelterbelt plantings on the Coffee Creek property are now 15 feet tall, and will provide winter protection for pheasants even during the worst Montana blizzard. Those plantings not only benefit birds on the property, but for those several miles away. Since Sept. 1, over 250 hunters have signed in to hunt the Coffee Creek Block Management Area.”

Two evening highlights were also sentimental moments. Nancy Watts donated three of her late husband’s bird mounts, to further the cause of Bob’s interests. Bob was the Fish Wildlife and Parks biologist here for many years, loved to hunt upland gamebirds, and was instrumental in obtaining the first Upland Gamebird Management funds for Central Montana to plant a shelterbelt on Larry Schweitzer’s land just east of Denton. This project, in cooperation with the Natural Resources and Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Partner’s for Wildlife program, became a showcase project that led to many other local projects.

When Johnny Boyd’s complete fishing package was auctioned off, it was purchased, and then returned to be sold again to double the benefit of his donation. This was special because Johnny was a long-time supporter of the Chapter. Unfortunately, just days before the banquet he suffered a life-ending heart attack after a day’s hunt on the Coffee Creek property. We lost a great man who did so much for Montana’s fish and wildlife.

Don’s Store donated a beautiful Browning 12-gauge Silver Hunter shotgun to help celebrate the Chapter’s 25 years. It was given away in a special shotgun raffle 

John Tognetti, owner of the Sport Center, mentioned “how valuable” the Chapter’s two properties are to his business. “I can send hunters without a place to hunt to these places, knowing they will have a satisfactory experience.”

This is another example that when hunters and businesses work together, great things happen. For the hunter, a contribution results in a well-managed property that they can hunt. Businesses that contribute to the Chapter’s fund-raising banquet are ensuring hunters come and spend money locally, which is also a benefit to the businesses themselves.

 

Mike Getman is a member of the Central Montana Chapter of Pheasants Forever.

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