By ROBERT S. MERRILL
The annual banquet for Franklin County’s chapter of Pheasants Forever will be held on Saturday, April 7, at the Robinson Fair Building in Preston. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the dinner starts at 7 p.m.
It will feature $4,500 in prizes and drawings, a silent auction with Hunter Moyles as auctioneer, and a virtual pheasant hunt game provided by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
The meal will be provided by Jones and Moser. Tickets for the event cost $15 for adults and $10 for youth and can be purchased at the door. Youth memberships will cost $15 at the event and includes dinner. Annual adult memberships cost $45 and includes one dinner. If a companion attends the dinner the cost will be $60.
The annual banquet is where funds are raised for the upcoming year. Anyone interested in joining Pheasants Forever should contact Jason Dursteller, Doug Webb, Mark Beckstead, Hunter Moyles, Stacey Moyles, or Tracy Moser.
The local chapter has only been organized for six years and has seen growth every year, according to Mark Beckstead, chapter president. “Members feel they are making a contribution and are starting to see some results of our work with increased bird numbers. Research has shown if you can create a favorable winter feed situation, along with reasonable spring nesting habitat, that pheasants can rebound,” he said.
This past winter the group and some landowners maintained feeding barrels to give the game birds needed nutrition to sustain them.
“There is a certain window of time during the winter when supplemental feeding is critical to bird survival in Franklin County,” said Beckstead.
The chapter had 18 feeding barrels and several five-gallon feed buckets scattered throughout the county.
“We’ve seen some good come from our efforts. We have found many private landowners and farmers/ranchers who are committed to helping birds survive and they have done a lot of work on their own.
“We are always looking for landowners/ farmers who will dedicate two-five acre plots for pheasant habitat and nesting. We encourage any landowner with small corner pieces to plant corn or other feed-type crops for the birds this spring. Any habitat improvement will help. If anyone is interested, they can contact me or another chapter member to find out what type of crops to plant,” said Beckstead.
“We want to thank The Citizen and other media for helping inform the public about the plight of pheasants in our area and what can be done to help maintain and improve the population. Creating an awareness has helped, especially among the youth. Besides hunting, a lot of individuals just like seeing pheasants and more are becoming involved. But we need more participation.”
At the heart of Pheasants Forever is the unique grassroots system of fundraising and project development that allows members to see the direct result of their contributions, according to officials.
Pheasants Forever and its quail division, Quail Forever, empower county and local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent.
This story is sponsored by Franklin County Medical Center.
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