CAMBRIDGE – Minnesota’s deer hunting season opener is less than a month away. Last Friday night there were a lot of old bucks (young spikes as well) along with a mix of does at the Isanti County Chapter’s 2009 Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA)13th Annual Banquet at the Cambridge American Legion.
Over 200 people showed up for the annual event, which made it one of the best for attendance (with the exception of the 2008 banquet, which had Gov. Tim Pawlenty on hand) according to State President of MDHA and a past chapter president.
Keep in mind that this banquet was on the eve of the Minnesota waterfowl hunting opener – a fancy way of saying duck hunting opener.
This herd of enthusiastic deer hunters and supporters were packed into the banquet hall bidding on a host of silent auction items, and buying tickets for special drawings, and others were taking a gander at the general raffle items that were drawn and handed out during the evening’s festivities.
A dull roar settled in as the evening of speakers, award presentations and door prizes began.
The Big Buck/Early Buck drawing (a Marlin 336 lever action 30-30 was donated by Kevin and Joleen Kriesel) was one of the first guns to be given out.
Speaking over the din of enthusiastic hunters were Jay Johnson, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources representative (in charge of hunter recruitment and retention) and MDHA’s Kevin Auslund, a regional coordinator.
Johnson urged those old bucks in attendance to share their love of the sport with a younger, less engaged grouping of would-be hunters. Programs in each chapter of MDHA plug young deer hunters into events that show them how deer hunting is more than just bagging an animal. It’s about passing on the traditions of the hunt and being an active participant in conserving the state’s natural resources.
Auslund’s message was brief and to the point: grow the organization by encouraging young people to become hunters.
Cory Carlson is the MDHA club president and Kevin Kriesel is the vice president. Carlson and Gary Johnson were the emcees.
The MDHA recognized members for their contribution to the club and the association. The Presidential Award was presented to Kyle Roddy; Sportsman of the Year recipient was Ron Brockamp; and Forkhorn of the Year was Sam Collins.
In addition to the silent auction, door prize drawing and the general raffle, there were prizes for the Volunteer of the Year (Ruger 10/22 donated by John Erlandson, Sr.), a Food Shelf Raffle gave away a Savage 64 22 cal. rifle donated by Kyle and Nicole Roddy; the Sponsor Drawing gave away guns, paintings, shirts and binoculars – all sponsored by Minnco Credit Union; a Forkhorn Membership Raffle handed over an NEF Pardner Youth 20 gauge shotgun that was sponsored by Ward Pierson; a Cabela’s Raffle gave away a meat slicer and grinder; a Furniture Raffle (for the deer stand of course) gave away a custom MDHA bench donated by DeJon Bunell, an Adirondack chair made by Dick Huempfner, and a custom flat screen TV stand by Ralph Johnson; the River’s Edge Raffle included a Dispatcher Ground Blind, a Big Foot XL Extreme Hang-on stand, a 22-ft. Woodsman Extreme XL laddeer stand, and a 32-ft. Steel Fast Sticks; a Legacy Raffle handed over a Weatherby Vanguard .270 rifle; a Henry rifle raffle (a Henry Big Boy 44 mag and a Henry Golden Boy 22 mag.); a Black Dog archery raffle (a Mathews Reezen Bow); a Gun Corral Raffle included a Savage 110 30.06 was donated by Dale Becklin, a Mossberg 500 12 ga. Slugster with scope was donated by Jay Swanson of Swantec, a CVA Buckhorn .50 cal. muzzle loader package; a Remington 700 SPS .270 that was sponsored by Advantage Collections, a Mossberg 500 Turkey 12 ga. sponsored by Hass Septic Cleaning, and a winner-take-all Barrel of Fun Raffle.
In addition, there was a Pistol Corral raffle that gave away four guns.
Gun of the Year was a Remington Model 700 30.06 with scope.
Other chapter officers are: Pat Donahue, treasurer; Jacque Collins, secretary; John Erlandson, Jr, corporate director; Kevin Krieslel past president; John Erlandson, Sr. past president; Keith Petersen, past president, and Chuck Connell, past president.