Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004
Turkey hunters know all there is to know about shotguns.
The Butler County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) also knows how to throw a shotgun banquet.
The chapter met Thursday night at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Cambrian Ridge for a dinner and live auction as part of its annual fundraiser and membership drive.
"I think it went good due to the short arrangements we've had to put this banquet together," Butler County Chapter committee member Roness Fail said. "There's a lot of people going in and out of here and I don't think they're all golfers. We've had two weeks to plan for this event."
Fail, who also owns R&K Wood Products in Greenville, which specializes in custom turkey calls, said the banquet is intended to help support the NWTF, which heads up several projects it heads up. Some of the projects include, habitat reestablishment, reintroducing turkey to nonnpopulated areas and wheeling sportsman programs for handicapped hunters.
Brothers Thomas and Andrew Boutwell, owners of Cedar Creek Plantation in Butler County, are two of the Butler County Chapter's newest members. The NWTF is beneficial to their professional hunting service because hunters flock to Alabama to hunt thanks to its reintroducing projects.
"The NWTF has done a lot by reintroducing turkeys to areas that don't have turkeys to try to establish populations and influence hunters to come to areas and hunt" Andrew Boutwell said. "As far as the commercial hunting side, a lot of hunters come to Alabama to hunt. Alabama's got a pretty good reputation from other states as being a great place to turkey hunt. We're known in the nation as being a great location to go hunt turkeys."
Thomas Boutwell assures turkey hunting is a huge hunting craze.
"Turkey hunting is big around here," Thomas Boutwell said.
Besides helping the NWTF by raising money at the banquet, Fail hopes to attract new members to the Butler County Chapter.
"What we want to do is get this chapter more family oriented," he said. "We want to have more of the young kids, which the chapter calls the Jakes. We want a family atmosphere where everybody comes and we have a good time because there's a lot of good the National Wild Turkey Federation does for everybody. If you just look at the turkey numbers today, we have a lot more than we used to have."
The Butler County Chapter has been in existence for about 15 years. Following the dinner, silent auction, live auction and door prize giveaways, the Chapter had to choose its committee members. Last year the Chapter had 67 members.
"We sponsor this event, sell tickets to it and try to get the community, kids and wives involved with the chapter," Fail said. "The more that we can promote, the more we sell and make funds and money for the NWTF."