Hunter’s Rendezvous set for Saturday

The 19th annual Hunter’s Rendezvous, a gathering of hunters of all ages, is slated for Saturday at the Dowagiac Conservation Club, located on M-51 North in Dowagiac.

Admission to the Hunter’s Rendezvous is free and the public is invited to attend. The event runs from noon to 6 p.m. Deer camp chili and hot dogs are available for a $6 donation.

This is the 19th year for the Hunter’s Rendezvous, which provides an opportunity for young hunters to learn from more experienced hunters in a casual atmosphere.

“Visitors to the Hunter’s Rendezvous can expect to see a large display of deer, turkeys and other game that have been harvested from our area,” said event coordinator Richard Atkinson. “Every year we have more deer on display. This part of the event is always a big attraction.”

Atkinson estimates the event attracts between 700 and 800 visitors annually.

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

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

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

In addition, representatives from conservation organizations will attend the event to provide information about the work each group does to protect wildlife and their habitats.

An antique gun appraiser will be on hand during the Hunter’s Rendezvous and visitors are encouraged to bring their vintage firearms to the event to be appraised.

Hunter’s Rendezvous helps area youth in that it raises money for the Dowagiac Conservation Club’s Youth Education Fund. This fund supports such activities as the hunter’s safety classes at the Conservation Club, Youth Fishing Day and Wildlife Encounters, a program that brings live animals into area classrooms for interactive presentations.

The Youth Education Fund also supplies the Tracks magazine to area schools to serve as a teaching tool. The fund also sponsors youngsters from the area who wish to attend the Michigan United Conservation Club’s summer camp. Working with Pheasants Forever, a free youth pheasant hunt is held in late winter.

Youth sign-up for this event will be at the Pheasants Forever booth at the Rendezvous.

Money is also raised through the silent auction.

“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 said said. “We also have the Trading Post, which is way for people to buy, sell and trade their used hunting equipment and clothing.”

Money is also raised through a raffle drawing. The featured raffle will see a top prize of a freezer full of meat. A second prize of a Weatherby 12 gauge combo/deer shotgun, and a third prize of a 32-inch television set. A 5555 raffle will also be held.

Again this year the popular free for children raffle will be offered each hour starting at 1 p.m. and ending at 4 p.m.

“The entire event is designed to 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.”

For the third year, a squirrel hunt will be offered on Jan. 31 (the day after the main Rendezvous).

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