Pheasants Forever holds 25th banquet

Doug Schoenecker (left) purchases some continuous raffle tickets from Greg Busch (right), board member of the Le Sueur County Pheasants Forever group, at the 25th annual Pheasants Forever Banquet on Saturday at the American Legion Club in Montgomery. Doug was with his son, Collin (center). (Wade Young Photo)

 

Doug Schoenecker, of New Prague, has been attending the Le Sueur County Pheasants Forever (PF) banquets since the banquet’s inception in 1988. On Saturday, as the group celebrated its 25th anniversary, Schoenecker said he wasn’t going to miss it.
“I like coming to this because it’s a way of giving back,” he said.
The banquet was a way to thank its members for their contributions, raise awareness of the group’s mission, and raise money for it’s programs.
And raise money it did. In addition to Minnesota, Silver and Gold sponsors, the organization raffled multiple guns, cash prizes of $1,000 and $5,000, coolers of meat, and a pyramid of beer. Other fund raisers included a silent auction, a continuous raffle of outdoor gear that PF purchased from Cabella’s, and a kids raffle.
Pheasants Forever (PF) is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs. In 2012, one of the biggest accomplishments the organization made was the acquisition of 212 acres by Sandborn Lake.
Greg Busch, who serves on the board of directors, said the land will be used for wildlife preservation. He said the group hopes to turn it into a place that would hopefully draw people to the area, kind of a tourist destination.
Some of the other accomplishments by the PF in 2012 included training more than 100 youth in firearm safety in Montgomery and New Prague, donating to the New Prague and Le Sueur-Henderson High School Trap Shooting Teams, participating in the 5th annual DNR/PF Youth/Women Hunt, and making different bird seeds available for planting on food plots on 185 acres of land. Since 1989, the local chapter of PF has spend more than $330,000 on habitat in Le Sueur County.
At every banquet the  chapter also recognizes local conservationists with the Tony Pelowski Award. Pelowski was one of the chapter’s charter members who died of cancer 28 years ago. President Ken Mader said Pelowski loved planting trees and native grasses and conserving the land. Twenty-one year ago, the chapter began giving an annual award in his name.
This year the award went to Don “Corky” Westerman, who has land in CRP that borders the edge of a lake and has good winter cover for birds.  
After accepting the award, Westerman thanked the chapter and shared a story of how he got into the area of land conservation.
Mader said this year’s banquet was “awesome”, thanks to the local support and donations from local businesses. He added that having it in Montgomery for a second year, (Previously it was held in New Prague) is drawing more people from around the county, another aim for the group.
To attend the Le Sueur County Chapter of PF, attend one of their meetings, held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the American Legion Club in Montgomery. The group meets from September to May. If you have questions, you can contact  President Ken Mader at 507-661-4841.