During the final day of the Brokenstraw Fish and Game Club Coyote Contest, Tom Walters and I sat down to talk about the fast approaching Landowner Appreciation Dinner, which has become more popularly called the Buffalo Dinner. We should never overlook the reason for this dinner, though, because without private landowners allowing public recreation on their land neither hunting nor fishing could remain even close to what we (sportsmen collectively) have enjoyed over the past century-plus.
Walters stated the reason for the banquet this way, "In appreciation of the landowners who keep their lands open for public recreation. We (sportsmen) traditionally think of that as hunting, but it's bird watching, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, fishing, snowmobiling... "
Walters trailed off mentioning other forms of outdoor recreation, but my pencil could not keep up. You probably can think of some very good reasons to thank landowners for the generous use of their lands. Walters hopes that outdoor recreation enthusiasts other than sportsmen will support the Landowner Appreciation Banquet.
To readers who have not interacted with organized sportsmen on a regional, state or national level, I assure you that we here in Warren County have a very special group in the Warren County Council of Sportsmen's Clubs. It has been more active, accomplished more, that just about any similar group, including sportsmen groups which have far greater resources to call upon. And they do it right. They represent that which is finest in the sporting movement.
Other than the Landowners Appreciation Dinner, most of their efforts are directed toward the benefit of youth. Even the Landowner Appreciation Dinner benefits youth by encouraging landowners to allow use of their land for outdoor recreation.
One significant reason this event has been around so long is that members of the Council typically have been involved in the council for many years. Certainly they would like to see more sportsmen get involved. But in truth, the one thing that new members tend to bring with them is new ideas, which may be the last thing the Council needs right now. Nowhere better can the old adage 'If it ain't broke don't fix it!' be applied.
Council could use more shoulders behind the wheel, but it does not need more wheels.
They have been putting on the Buffalo Dinner for what seems like forever, but really not quite that long.
"We're in our 34th year we've been doing this," Walters said.
"We've been doing this so long that we believe everyone knows what it is, but they don't."
Interesting and informative guest speakers have played a major role in making the Buffalo Dinners a success. This year the speaker will be Don Watts. His program will be 'Warren County Nest Box Trail'.
Through my decades as a writer I have learned, to my delight, that birding may be the most popular form of outdoors recreation in America. Just about everyone enjoys birding. What hunter, angler, boater, skier, or anyone who ventures into the outdoors does not at some time watch birds?
Watts is one of the most prominent birders in this part of the country. His program about nest boxes and kestrels, which many years ago were called sparrow hawks, should be one of the best.
I am not certain whether buffalo, more properly called American Bison, but what the heck, has been served as the main course since the very first year, but whether or not, buffalo meat has been such an integral part of it that many people know this event as the Buffalo Dinner.
Buffalo meat will be available to purchase at the dinner.
A raffle drawing will be another part of the fun.
Some years ticket sales are slow. I am not sure how sales are going this year, but I do suggest that to be assured of a seat at this event but your tickets soon. Tickets cost $16 per person.
Tickets can be purchased at Peterson Gun Repair in Clarendon, in Warren at House of Printing, Grizzly Gary Outdoors or Warren County Vacation Bureau, at Tall Tales in Russell, at the Garland Fire Hall, at C & H Sports in Columbus, at the Trading Post in Tidioute, at Jamestown Audubon, and in Youngsville at Watson Field & Stream. Tickets can also be acquired by contacting Council president Bill Lyon by phoning (814) 723-8363.
The 2011 landowner Appreciation Dinner will be held March 5 at the Garland Fire Hall. Social Hour starts at 6 p.m. Dinner starts at 7 p.m.