SAm gause | The Natchez Democrat — Steve Ham, from left, Ricky Lagrone and Brendon Dubroc look at the guns that were in the raffle during the Gun Bash Banquet at the Concordia Parish Community Center Friday.
Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat — Steve Ham, from left, Ricky Lagrone and Brendon Dubroc look at the guns that were in the raffle during the Gun Bash Banquet at the Concordia Parish Community Center Friday.

Group hosts first gun bash event to introduce new chapter

Published 12:02am Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ferriday — The guns came out to play at the Quality Deer Management Association’s first Louisiana Delta Branch gun bash dinner Friday evening, and QDMA volunteer Paul Ferrell said it was a good first year to introduce new members to the chapter.

The QDMA is a nonprofit organization, which promotes sustainable, high quality white-tailed deer populations, wildlife habitats and ethical hunting experiences through education, research and management.

Ferrell was one of many volunteers and board members responsible for starting the Louisiana Delta Branch.

“We are here to establish a local chapter here in the Miss-Lou to raise money to put money back in the area to fund organizations for education of wild deer management,” Ferrell said.

Ferrell said one thing the public should be educated on is hunters are big protectors of wild deer and endangered species.

“What anti-hunters don’t realize is, the reason we have good wildlife is mostly because of hunters,” Ferrell said. “Hunters are the ones that have paid the price that brings back species that face near extinction because of loss of habitat. Every time we buy a gun, fishing rod or a hunting license, part of that money goes to fund the wildlife habitats and things to improve habitats.”

The banquet was hosted at the Concordia Parish Community Center where a wide variety of guns surrounded several Miss-Lou residents and silent auction prizes such as hunting knives and large paintings.

QMDA members planned on giving away one gun for every 10 tickets sold, and ended up sending give guns home with happy outdoorsmen.

The guns featured in the giveaway were from Old River Guns in Ridgecrest, a store owned by Sterling Blanche.

Blanche said he was more than happy to be a part of the organization’s cause.

“(Ferrell) said I want to buy the guns from you and I said, ‘What?’ in shock,” Blanche said. “I wanted to help, so I gave them the price tag which was much better than they would’ve gotten anywhere else.”

QMDA members gave away a Trister Viper, a Savage Axis and a Smith and Wesson .22 with a holographic scope among other items.

Blanche’s name was actually pulled to win one of his own guns, but he decided to do a live auction for the Smith and Wesson .22, and raised $475.

“They already paid me for those guns, so I wanted someone else to benefit from it,” Blanche said. “I already have plenty of guns.”

Ferrell said as the local chapter gets going, he hopes they are able to make a difference in the Miss-Lou and benefit the QDMA as best as it can to conserve the things that are often taken for granted.