When the local chapter of Pheasants Forever celebrates its anniversary this weekend, it will be an acknowledgment of 20 years of growth and success in Kanabec County.
The organization, which started out with seven members two decades ago, will celebrate at its annual banquet Saturday night at the Grand Event Center in Mora, an event that will feature not only a delicious meal but auction items, games and raffles. The annual banquet is the organizations largest fund-raiser of the year.
Pheasants Forever, with more than 23,800 members in Minnesota — more than any other state — and 150,000 members in the United States, is a non-profit organization dedicated to wildlife habitat for pheasants. According to Kanabec County Pheasants Forever’s Bob Dahms, the local chapter started with Peter Hoveland, Jim Gutzwiller, Brad Holt, Dan Funk, Dean Randt, Jim Boster and Jim McDonald.
“They were excited to get a chapter going in Kanabec County,” he said. Since then, Kanabec County Pheasants Forever has grown to include approximately 200 members, with more than 400 on its mailing list.
One of the chapter’s goals is to raise funds for land acquisition, habitat development, tree planting, pheasant feeders in difficult winters, food plots planted and pollinator support, Dahms said.
“The money raised in a chapter stays with the local chapter to be spent on projects that the local chapter commits to,” he said. Local projects include a pollinator plot in the park by Stenstrom’s Collision and Detail and wildlife management area acquisitions such as the Erickson/Lidstrom WMA, the Kent addition to the Erickson WMA and the Fiedler addition to the Rice Lake WMA, he added.the chapter has also “contributed funds to support other county chapters for land acquisition.”
Additionally, the chapter provides financial support and coaching of the local 4-H Shooting Sports project. For the High School Trap Shooting Team from Mora and Ogilvie, it has provided financial support coaches and adult assistants. The team, which started in 2013, has grown from 15 members at its inception to more than 60 local youth.
Kanabec County Pheasants Forever funds a scholarship with the local chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association that is given to a graduatingsenior going into an outdoor profession, and camper scholarships for youth to go to upland bird camp at Deep Portage, Dahms said.
“Kanabec County came together with Isanti and Sherburn County Pheasants Forever chapters and hosted a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement event at Pheasants Ridge for Law Enforcement officers serving our communities,” he added. “This event was unique with multiple chapters coming together to make this event happen and be successful.”
Chapter members will gather for breakfast Saturday morning at Kev’s Depot to go over the plan for that evening’s celebration. And it has much to celebrate.
“The Kanabec County Chapter was acknowledged as the chapter of the year in Minnesota in 2019,” Dahms said. “The Kanabec County Chapter has surpassed $2 million of financial support for PF projects and was acknowledged for their effort at the State Convention.”
This year’s banquet is sold out. However, Dahms said that anyone interested in becoming part of Kanabec County Pheasants Forever or wish to make a donation should visit Kanabec County Pheasants Forever on Facebook. They can also call Dale Barnick, 612-390-1913; Jim Gutzwiller, 612-390-3628; Dean Randt, 612-390-0391; or Dan Funk, 320-679-4514, for more information.
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