Greene County Gobblers raise funds for NWTF

~by The Scranton Journal

Fred Long, | photo by The Scranton Journal

About 90 hunters and friends of the National Wild Turkey Federation attended the Greene County Gobblers annual banquet on Friday evening, Feb. 2. The event raised funds for the national organization which in turn helps promote hunting in Greene County and the nation.

Fred Long, local committee member and legislative representative, pointed out the need to raise the cost of hunting and fishing licenses to provide additional funding to the Department of Natural Resources.

“They don’t have money to take care of the land,” explained Long, urging everyone to contact their legislators. He introduced Mike Heller of West Des Moines, lobbyist for the organization.

Dan Martin with NWTF served as master of ceremonies. He presented veterans in the crowd with special recognition and thanked them for their service. Scott Weber was honored by the group as a firefighter / first responder.

A variety of games and raffles were contested by the guests with nice prizes awarded. These activities were the prelude to the big event of the night: the live auction that was cried by Cole Stetzel and Cole Steiner of Guthrie Center, representing Laughery Auctioneers.

Thirty-eight items went on the live auction block. Drawing the highest bids were the Quigley rifle scope that sold for $500 and the Quigley shotgun / muzzleloader scope that brought $450. All totaled, the live auction netted $3,440.

Additional funds were raised with a silent auction.

Twelve green NWTF tumblers were sold for a chance to win guns and other prizes. That brought in $1,080. Jeremy Richards took home the top prize, a Marlin 336w 30-30. Jake Schlotterback was the winner of the Weatherby PA-08 turkey MOOB 12 ga / 22 in bbl.

Scott Cranston was the lucky winner of the “pick of the auction”. He selected a child’s toy conservation pedal truck. Doug Vaux won the Yeti cooler in the early bird drawing.

Members of the committee who hosted the banquet were Long, Susan Cort, Kevin Devilbiss, Dean Dozier, Jeff Gorsuch, Scott Weber, Mark Gorsuch, Mike Minnehan and Aaron Sloan. The meal was catered by Lidderdale Country Store.

The National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973. They estimate there are seven million wild turkeys spread across the United States but are concerned as an estimated 6,000 acres of habitat is lost a day due to population expansion.

The motto: “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” is key to the success of the organization. Martin explained the average age of hunters in the state is 55 years. NWTW works tirelessly with young members, called Jakes, to promote hunting and hunter safety but that 90 percent of the hunters quit at age 20.

In some areas, wild turkeys have become a nuisance. Last year, 130 birds were trapped in the city and released in Texas. Another concern is that the state of Iowa ranks 49th out of the 50 states in public lands. Only Hawaii has fewer acres of public hunting areas.

A positive note is that NWTF contributed $40,000 towards the purchase of public land in Greene County in 2016.

The wild turkey population is down 15 percent nationwide. An area the size of Yellowstone National Park is lost each year to development.

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