LCPF Banquet is Mar. 11 at SMSU in Marshall

PFlogo4cBIGLCPF Press Release

The 34th Annual Lyon County Pheasants Forever (LCPF) Spring Banquet will be held on Sat., Mar. 11, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at The SMSU Convention Center in Marshall.  Tickets are immediately available for $60, which includes membership in LCPF for one year and the banquet meal. Youth “Ringneck” tickets are $30, and include a youth membership to LCPF and dinner.  Other household member dinner tickets are available for just $30, but must be purchased with a membership ticket.

“The banquet provides the bulk of our fundraising for multiple habitat and youth outdoors programs each year,” said LCPF President, Nick Simonson, “without the support of our great members, guests, sponsors and volunteers, this annual event and our projects wouldn’t be as wildly successful as they have been, and we’re looking to continue that tradition,” he continued.

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The banquet helps provide free outdoors opportunities for area and visiting youth, like the annual mentor hunt.

At the 34th installment of the annual event, more than 40 guns will be up for grabs, along with over $30,000 in prizes, including prints, hunting equipment, gift certificates, and many other great items from area merchants, generous underwriters and sponsors of the event.  These items will be up for bid in both live and silent auctions, raffles and through games of skill and chance.

“We’ve got even more games than last year,” said LCPF Banquet Chair Harvey Noyes, “so hunters and fans of conservation can test their skill and luck while challenging their friends to have a great time,” he concluded.

But the banquet isn’t just about raising funds. Each year, the chapter honors its members who have put forth efforts above and beyond the call of conservation for their hard work and assistance in making the multiple events and projects successful. It is a time of recognition and honor for those who work tirelessly for wildlife and youth outdoors activities in our area. Between the prizes and the awards, the Banquet is a showcase of what the chapter’s efforts bring to the area.

More information on the banquet can be found on the LCPF website at www.lyoncountypf.org. Tickets for the event are available at Borch’s Sporting Goods gun counter in Marshall, or by contacting Ron Prorok, LCPF Treasurer at (507)401-6227.

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Funds raised through the banquet and 20-prize raffle help fund four CTL teams and the Lyon County Sharpshooters program.

Last year, LCPF sponsored four area Minnesota High School Clay Target League Teams at Lakeview, Minneota, Tracy and Marshall High Schools, getting 170 kids involved in safe and enjoyable shooting sports competition.  Additionally, with the help of Legacy Funding, East Medicine PF, Canby PF, Minnesota PF and a number of local partner groups, the chapter is set to dedicate the James Meger Memorial WMA next fall as part of the 2017 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener when the event returns to Marshall.

Those individuals or businesses interested in sponsoring the banquet can do so for $300; in return all Sponsors will receive a banquet ticket, be entered into a special Sponsor-only drawing for three CZ shotguns, receive one year of free advertising on the chapter website and be recognized in the banquet program.  All underwriters and donors of money or prizes to the event will also be recognized in the banquet program. For more information on sponsorships, underwriting or donations, contact the members listed above.

Additionally, tickets for the 20-prize Guns & Cash Raffle are in short supply, and are anticipated to be sold out prior to the banquet, so anyone in need of one leading up to the big drawing at the end of the event on Mar. 11 should purchase theirs now.  Some are still available at Borch’s Sporting Goods and Running’s in Marshall, or through chapter committee members. For more information on the Banquet, the Guns & Cash Raffle and other events, visit the chapter website at www.lyoncountypf.org, like the LCPF Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lyoncountypf, or follow the chapter on Twitter @lyoncountypf.

MHS CTL Sign Up is Jan 10 & 17

ctl-team-logoMHS CTL Press Release

Registration for the Marshall High School Clay Target League (MHS CTL) team will open on Jan. 10, 2017 on a first-come-first-served basis to all Marshall Public School System students in grades 7 through 12 who have a valid firearms safety certificate. Sign up and informational meetings for students and their parents will be held at the MHS Media Center on Tue. Jan. 10 and Tue. Jan. 17 at 5:30 p.m.  At this time enrollment is guaranteed for the first 50 students, with the potential for more.  Previous participants must still attend one of the two meetings.

Thanks to fundraising efforts by local sportsmen’s groups including the Redwood River Sportsman’s Club (RRSC), Lyon County Pheasants Forever (LCPF), Prairie Highlands Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) and the Buffalo Ridge Gobblers chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the cost is just $150, which includes activity fee and a family membership to RRSC.  Weekly league shoots will be held at the RRSC facility located 8 miles southeast of Marshall from Apr. 3 through May 23, and the cost of ammunition and targets for the league will be paid for through grants and other local financial support.

“We had an incredible turnout last season with our numbers jumping from 50 participants to over 70,” said coach Nick Simonson, “I am excited to build on that turnout and enthusiasm and field a team that will be a perennial contender on all three levels in the league,” he concluded.

The CTL, which began with just 30 students from three schools in 2001, is an independent provider of the trapshooting extracurricular co-ed activity and operates as a virtual competition which will include over 300 schools and 10,000 participants this spring. This format allows participants to travel a short distance to a local gun club to compete each week with hundreds of other students on similarly-sized teams. All scores are submitted online and compared against other scores from teams of similar sizes making up a school’s conference, and league points are awarded to determine season standings.

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Take aim at a successful spring!  MHS CTL team info and sign-up meetings are Jan. 10 & 17 at 5:30 pm in the MHS Media Center. 

“Last year was our first year losing a number of Senior shooters, so this year’s need is to find younger shooters and develop their skills,” said Simonson, “so we’re seeking interested seventh and eighth graders and new shooters to learn from our upperclassmen and continue to continue this tradition of excellence,” he concluded.

Unlike sports such as baseball, where the tenth best player sits on the bench, each and every student athlete gets to shoot each week and measure their progress against all other athletes in their conference and contribute to their team’s success. The popularity of the CTL has grown so rapidly in part because it provides an alternative outdoor sport and boasts a flawless safety record.  Since its beginnings, there have been zero injuries in CTL practices and competitions.

“I’m proud of the community’s efforts and the support we’ve had in bringing this program together over the past four years,” said Simonson, “it shows the solidarity between our sportsmen’s organizations, Marshall Public Schools, our media and our community’s collective desire to get the next generation involved in safe and enjoyable shooting sports.”

With $9,500 in dedicated funding each year for the next two years from area sportsmen’s groups and other sources, including a MidwayUSA Foundation Grant, solid financials will continue to carry the team at no added cost to the School District.

In addition to attending the sign-up and informational meetings on Jan. 10 and Jan. 17, parents can enroll their youth or learn more about the MHS CTL team by calling Simonson at (507)829-9553 or emailing him at lyoncountypf@gmail.com. For immediate registration, parents should email a copy of the participant’s Firearms Safety Certificate. Registration will be open until Sun., Mar. 1, which is a firm and final deadline set by the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League.

Give to the Max Day (11/17) – Meger WMA

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“Homesteaders” by James Meger is just one of hundreds of wildlife paintings the Lyon County-born and raised artist created during his career. 

You can help support LCPF’s James Meger Memorial WMA this week as part of Minnesota’s Give to the Max Day on Thursday, November 17, 2016.  Just click on the Donate link below and help us remember the area’s premier wildlife artist who raised millions of dollars for habitat nationwide with the simple stroke of his paintbrush!

DONATE to the Meger Memorial WMA on the Give to the Max Day website by CLICKING HERE!

Learn more about the James Meger Memorial WMA by CLICKING HERE!

Our Outdoors: A Wet & Wild Time

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Two on the Tailgate.  The author’s 12-year-old lab, Gunnar, looks after the pair of roosters he rousted on a wet and windy afternoon hunt.

By Nick Simonson

It’s well established that I hunt and fish more than most people, and part of the reason for that is my very tolerant spouse.  While bargaining with my wife (and I don’t like to call it begging, it just sounds…wrong…though that’s probably what it is) for a couple extra hours in the field on Saturday, I caught myself mid-presentation.

 
“Fool, why are you trying to secure from two to five in the afternoon, when you could have asked for four to sundown, the best hours of the day for pheasant hunting,” my debate module questioned in the back of my brain.
Frustrated with the slip, I tried to shift the time-table portion of my presentation midstream, but my wife – an even more talented and very experienced debater in her own right – wasn’t having it.  A mid-afternoon hunt was what it would be.  Cutting my losses and cursing my declining extemporaneous preparation skills, I loaded up the truck and headed to a small swath of grass south of town.  While I beelined down the blacktop, drops of rain decked the windshield, and I winced as the downpour began in earnest while unloading the dog in the parking area. With twenty minutes gone for travel, we set out into what would be a very wet balance of our three-hour afternoon.
Winding through the eastern edge of the field grass and dried sweet clover stems, we followed the meandering trails taken by deer and coyotes in days past.  My old lab lazily sniffed along the front portion of the walk as we trudged into the north wind which carried the light rain in at an angle.  In no time, we were both soaked from the damp ground cover and the additional precipitation coming down.
Gunnar sniffed the wind in an attempt to locate some scent, as his days of rapidly quartering, running out and back, scanning the ground for some olfactory-based sign of birds in the area are well in his past.  Instead, his ability to check the breeze gives him an energy-saving advantage in his old age, and when he does detect something, flashes of youth return and he engages in a gear rarely seen except when hot on the trail of a fleeing pheasant.  But for the first thirty minutes it was a meandering march into the falling rain.
We walked out and back, covering the eastern half of the terrain before making the turn back up to the north along a small draw littered with pockets of cane and patches of green field grass.  As we turned, Gunnar raised his nose into the wind and took off, winding into the stalks and stands of vegetation, sending sprays of water from the bushy blonde tops of the plants.  Seeing that he had found his other gear, I popped my 20 gauge off my shoulder and into a more ready trail carry position just in time to see a rooster thunder out of a small brushy clump to my left.  My first shot whizzed behind the bird, but the second was true and soon Gunnar was on the downed bird and proudly returned it to hand, as if to say: “I’ve still got this.”

He shook twice to send the soaking rain out from his coat and cleaned the side of his feather-filled mouth with his tongue before turning back into the wind and heading up the draw, giving me just a moment to admire the bird and tuck it into my vest.  It wasn’t long until he was on point on an unusually dense stand of still-green grass.  He dove in and a pair of hens jumped up from the far edge of the ten-foot circle.  But something tried to evade him, and he turned, placing the wind at his back while inhaling all of the scent trail that wound up the hill and away from the draw and the small grassy patch.
In a frantic sprint from days past, with nose thundering and legs churning, he made his way up and over a small ridge littered with old rock piles before slanting down a hill, about fifty yards away from the draw and I doubled my pace to stay with him. A hen popped up and took flight, but he only paused a moment in his pursuit before spinning and winding back on the trail.  Another buff bird took flight, and then another, and another before I made the call for color.
“There’s gotta be a rooster in this mess, stay on him,” I encouraged my dog as I readied my gun.
Sure enough, Gunnar doubled back and caught the wind and in the process nearly caught the young rooster in his gnashing teeth as it took flight between us, rapidly closing the yardage and shifting my shot before banking out and away from my position.
“Wait…wait…wait…okay, now,” I thought as I traced the path of the airborne bird and the shot finally presented itself.
Gunnar trailed the downed rooster and was quickly on it, bringing it back and dropping it at my feet.  I unloaded my gun and hooked it over my shoulder as I praised the pup that sat before me, disguised by the twelve-year-old body he resided in at that particular moment.  I checked the time on my phone – 3:27 p.m. – and let my wife that I’d be home soon. She was pleased. I attempted to bank the remaining hour or so of unused hunting time for another rainy day down the road, but she didn’t respond to the request.

With our limit of two in the bag, we had certainly made the most of the moments I had bargained for on the wet and winding afternoon, and that’s all anyone – hunter or dog – can ask for…in our outdoors.

Simonson is a syndicated outdoors journalist from Marshall, Minn. who also serves as President of LCPF.  From time-to-time he shares an installment of his weekly column, Our Outdoors, with the chapter.