As ducks and geese wing their way to warmer climes, it's also that time of year when those who favor waterfowl gather in the name of their feathered friends for fellowship and fund raising.
Three area chapters of Ducks Unlimited will be hosting banquets in the first two weeks of October with the Lawrence County (Pa.) Chapter holding forth on Oct. 3, the Warren/Trumbull County Chapter making its call for funds on Oct. 11 and the granddaddy of the three, the Mahoning County Chapter, hosting its event Oct. 4.
Serve a purpose
These banquets serve an important service to waterfowl, aside from being a great place to meet friends, revel in tales of the hunt and take a chance on a new gun, boat, decoy or one of hundreds of other items up for sale, auction or raffle.
The Lawrence event will be at The Centre in New Castle, the Trumbull chapter at G's Golden Gate, 2186 Parkman Road, Warren, and the Mahoning banquet at St. Mary's Assumption Social Center at 356 S. Belle Vista Ave. in Youngstown.
For all the banquets, doors open at 6, with dinner and auctions to follow.
The Lawrence chapter's tickets are $50 each and sponsors are $250. Email Naduck1@aol.com. or call (724) 652-0622.
Tickets for the Trumbull event will be $45 for singles, $65 per couple and $325 for sponsors. Call (330) 856-9453 or (330) 534-3601.
Tickets for the Mahoning banquet will be $50 per person, $80 per couple, $40 for greenwings, $300 for sponsor status and $325 for couple sponsor. Call (330) 533-2455, 533-9766, 533-6638, 533-9865 or 726-7788 for more details or to order tickets.
Tickets for these events include appetizers, dinner and refreshments as well as auctions, raffles and other festivities.
Where the funds go
Quite a bit of the funds raised go directly to the DU national organization to aid in conserving wetlands and other projects that directly benefit waterfowl as well as many other species of animals.
For example, at last year's Mahoning County banquet, about $27,000 -- roughly 75 percent of what was collected at the banquet -- was sent to DU.
There's plenty to enjoy, observe and win at these events. At the Mahoning banquet, for instance, a pre-banquet raffle is offering a chance on a .12-gauge Charles Daly Field Hunter shotgun with vent ribbed barrel, black synthetic stock and three choke tubes, all for just a $5 ticket. The other chapters have similar auctions and raffles.
Effort for Danny
The Mahoning chapter is also in the third year of a four-year life membership fund-raising effort to honor Danny Gilboy, a dedicated DU member who was the soul of the chapter for many years before dying several years ago. So far $5,000 is in Danny's account. A special Gilboy life membership raffle is also planned that will put a 14-foot, two-man duck boat, decoys and shotgun together for a $10 raffle ticket.
So, no matter if you like to hunt duck or watch geese -- or do a bit of both -- attending one of these banquets is a good time and a benefit to waterfowl across the United States, Canada and Mexico.