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Hunter’s Rendezvous averages 1,000 visitors

Published 9:17am Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 13th annual Hunter’s Rendezvous, a gathering of both experienced and youth hunters, is being planned for Saturday, Jan. 30, at Dowagiac Conservation Club on M-51 North.

Since the event debuted in 1998, the Hunter’s Rendezvous has served as an opportunity for experienced hunters to share their experiences with new and young hunters in a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

A popular attraction at the Hunter’s Rendezvous is the scoring of trophy bucks.
Scorers from Commemorative Bucks of Michigan will be on hand at the Hunter’s Rendezvous to score trophy bucks, as well as turkey, elk and so on.

“Visitors to the Hunter’s Rendezvous can expect to see a large display of deer, elk and other game that have been harvested from our area,” explained event coordinator Richard Atkinson. “Every year we have more and more deer on display. This part of the event is always a big attraction. It is both encouraging and exciting for young hunters to see for themselves the potential in our area.”

Atkinson estimates that the event attracts almost 1,000 visitors every year.

Whitetails Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and several more conservation organizations will have representatives on hand at the event to provide information about the work each group does to protect wildlife and their habitats.

Atkinson anticipates another popular activity at this year’s Hunter’s Rendezvous to be virtual reality hunting.

“The Conservation Club has purchased our own virtual reality hunting equipment that is state-of-the-art,” Atkinson said. “We will have this equipment available for visitors to the Hunter’s Rendezvous.”

An antique gun appraiser will be on hand during the Hunter’s Rendezvous.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their vintage firearms to the event to be appraised.

Hunter’s Rendezvous raises money for Dowagiac Conservation Club’s Youth Education Fund.

This fund supports the hunter’s safety and bow safety classes held at the Conservation Club, Youth Fishing Day and Wildlife Encounters, a program that brings live animals into area classrooms for an educational and interactive presentation.

The Youth Education Fund also supplies Tracks magazine to area schools to serve as a teaching tool.

The fund also sponsors youngsters from the area who wish to attend Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ summer camp.

Money is also raised through a silent auction held during the Hunter’s Rendezvous.
“Area merchants and conservation organizations have donated numerous items, including hunting equipment, limited-edition prints, apparel and more to be sold during the silent auction,” Atkinson explained. “We also have the Trading Post, which is a way for people to buy, sell and trade their used hunting equipment and clothing.”

Money is also raised through a raffle drawing.

This year, three items will be raffled off: an 870 12-gauge shotgun, a gas grill and a turkey fryer.

“The entire event is designed to encourage and educate young hunters,” Atkinson said. “To that end, the Dowagiac Conservation Club will be signing up youngsters for one-year free youth memberships to the club during the Hunter’s Rendezvous.”

Admission to the Hunter’s Rendezvous is free. The public is invited to attend.

This event runs from noon to 6 p.m.

Deer camp chili and hog dogs are available for a $4 donation.

For additional information about the Hunter’s Rendezvous or youth education programs at Dowagiac Conservation Club, contact Richard Atkinson at (269) 424-5186 or Furmer Reed at (269) 646-9839.

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