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Hunter’s Rendezvous Jan. 26

Published 1:31pm Thursday, January 10, 2013

The 16th annual Hunter’s Rendezvous, a gathering of hunters of all ages, is slated for Saturday, Jan. 26, at Dowagiac Conservation Club, M-51 North. Admission is free. The public is invited to attend from noon to 6 p.m. Deer camp chili and hot dogs are available for $5. Hunter’s Rendezvous provides an opportunity for young hunters to learn from more experienced hunters in a casual atmosphere. “Visitors can expect to see a large display of deer, turkeys and other game that has been harvested from our area,” event coordinator Richard Atkinson said. “Every year we have more deer on display. This part of the event is always a big attraction.” Atkinson estimated the event attracts between 800 and 1,000 visitors annually. Another popular attraction is scoring trophy bucks. Scorers from Commemorative Bucks of Michigan will be on hand to score turkey and elk as well as bucks. Atkinson anticipates another popular activity will be virtual reality hunting. “The club has purchased our own state-of-the-art equipment, which will be available to Hunter’s Rendezvous visitors,” he said. In addition, representatives from conservation organizations attend the event to provide information about the work each group does to protect wildlife and their habitats. “Conservation organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasants Forever, as well as many others, will be on hand,” Atkinson said. An antique gun appraiser will be on hand. Visitors are encouraged to bring vintage firearms to the event to be appraised. Hunter’s Rendezvous helps area youth in that it raises money for Dowagiac Conservation Club’s youth education fund, which supports such activities as hunter’s safety classes at the club, Youth Fishing Day and Wildlife Encounters, a program that brings live animals into area classrooms for educational and interactive presentations. The youth education fund supplies Tracks magazine to area schools to serve as a teaching tool. The fund also sponsors area youngsters who wish to attend Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ summer camp. Working with Pheasants Forever, a free youth pheasant hunt takes place in late winter. Youth sign-up for this event will be at the Pheasants Forever booth. Money is also raised through a silent auction. “Area merchants and conservation organizations donate numerous items, including hunting equipment, limited-edition prints, apparel and more, to be sold during the silent auction,” Atkinson said. “We also have the Trading Post, which is a way for people to buy, sell and trade used hunting equipment and clothing.” Money is also generated through a raffle drawing. The featured raffle will see a top prize of a freezer full of meat. Second prize is a Weatherby .270 Remington rifle. Third prize is a Traditions .50-caliber muzzleloader. A 5555 raffle will also take place. “The entire event is designed to educate young hunters,” Atkinson said. “To that end, Dowagiac Conservation Club will be signing up youngsters for one-year free youth memberships to the club during Hunter’s Rendezvous.” For additional information about Hunter’s Rendezvous or youth education programs at Dowagiac Conservation Club, contact Atkinson at (269) 424-5186 or Furmer Reed at (269) 646-9839.

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