"We're all here for the same reason," said Lynn Wilson, secretary of West Central Indiana Quail Unlimited and president of the banquet committee.
The 23rd annual West Central Indiana Quail Unlimited banquet and fundraiser took place on Saturday at the Dixie Chopper Business Center at the Putnam County Airport. The event brought together local businesses, larger corporations, hunters, farmers and Quail Unlimited chapter members to raise money for the chapter and its 25 working members. The money raised will go to planting warm summer grasses in quail habitats and teaching youth in the area about safety and hunting skills.
To raise this money, the chapter held silent auctions for various items, including cast iron cook wear and a viewfinder, held men's and women's raffles and a live auction for paintings by various artists, hand carved decoys by Jules Bouillet of Vincennes, and fireworks from Wayne's World Fireworks.
The event was capped off with a "seven gun salute" raffle. For $100 a ticket, the winner would get his choice between seven different prizes -- six rifles and a crossbow. Only 100 of these tickets were sold that night.
Other raffles varied in price from $2 to the $25 goose band raffle, whose participants were clearly marked by the goose band rings worn on necklaces at the event.
Companies and families could buy out entire tables, and each table had a special prize. Within each program was a marker, a small dot. Whomever had the dot in their program won the bottle of wine placed at each table.
Other attendees hoped to use the event to become better known to the conservation community. Mitch Strobl, DePauw University student, handled the kids' games at the banquet. These included Frisbee toss and quail darts.
Strobl started the Conservation Club at DePauw in 2010 and is excited to be part of the banquet event. He has been working with Quail Unlimited on their conservation projects and is working to finish more of his own. While the club is working on the DePauw Nature Park at the moment, Strobl said he wants to build a better relationship with the community through conservation efforts like the Quail Unlimited chapter to help hunters and the community.
"They (the county) have the resources. If we could find the work ethic we could help some people out," Strobl said. "I really do want to build a better relationship."