The end of another successful year is about to come to an end for the East Otter Tail Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. The group has a lot to celebrate from 2009, including ending the year with a record number of hides collected during their annual Hides for Habitat program.
This year, Hides for Habitat brought in 614 hides, 450 tails and even an elk hide. That's up from the 450 hides collected in 2008.
At around $16 per hide the MDHA receives from a state-wide contract for the furs, and around $.25 per tail, that's nearly $10,000 raised.
"The hides are a significant part of how we raise money to give back to the area," said one EOT-MDHA member, Dale Wanderi.
And the EOT-MDHA believe in giving back.
"We really believe in the MDHA's mission," another member, Dave Adams said.
That mission is, "Working for tomorrow's wildlife and hunters today through education, habitat and legislation."
The EOT Chapter does that through many education workshops like their Youth Day, their Youth League and by donating to the school's youth archery program.
They have also made donations to area school's to bring in a traveling whitetail deer education show, and they have conducted gun safety training in Perham and Richville providing the guns, ammo and targets.
The EOT Chapter has also recently purchased land for public hunting. Most recently, they purchased 240 acres near Head Lake for a Wildlife Management Area, as well as 80 acres near Bluff Creek that is connected to State land.
They not only purchase the land, they take care of it, like spraying for weed control on the Head Lake property.
They also have food plot seeds available for members to sign up for it at their spring banquet as a drawing, and they cover the expenses for the maintenance of the public ranges in Perham and New York Mills from their banquet and raffle proceeds.
"We put as much into area hunting as possible," Adams added. The EOT-MDHA also donates to other charities, like East Otter Tail Relay for Life and the Laurentian for middle schoolers.
They don't fund all these projects with the Hides for Habitat program. The EOT-MDHA holds three raffles a year, and they host their annual Membership Banquet each spring where your ticket for the banquet also is your membership for the year.
Speaking of fundraisers, the EOT-MDHA is currently selling raffle tickets for three rifle's to be given away at the Perham Trade Show on Feb. 21, 2010.
Only 600 of the $10 tickets will be sold. First prize is a Browning White Gold X-Bolt 325 WSM. Second prize is a remington 700 CDL SS Fluted 264 Win Mag. The final prize is a Thompson Endeavour SS Camo 50 Cal BP.