Ducks Unlimited banquet Thursday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 1999

The Natchez Ducks Unlimited Chapter will hold its annual banquet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Lady Luck Casino.

&uot;We will have cocktails from 6 to 7 (p.m.) and heavy hors d’oeuvre,&uot; said DU Zone Chairman Adrian Sandel. &uot;At eight o’clock will have will our raffles and auction.&uot;

Up for auction this year is hte DU Gun of the Year, a 20-gauge shotgun, a duck print and a chocolate lab puppy.

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There will also be several guns given away as attendance prizes.

The topic of conversation is sure to surround the prediction of a record number of ducks flying South.

&uot;There has been a dramatic increase of fall flight of duck coming down and the DU has a whole lot to do with that,&uot; Sandel said. &uot;For years we’ve been preserving the wetlands habitat. But we have to have some rain now because our rivers are low.&uot;

Last year the partnership with Lady Luck led to the Natchez Chapter to two statewide awards. Those awards were Most Outstanding General Event and Largest Increase in Membership.

&uot;Between the two banquets we hosted last year, the Natchez Committee raised $28,000 for wetlands preservation,&uot; Sandel said.

Every year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service creates an index to predict the total number of ducks that will fly south in the fall. This year, that index is 105 million.

This represents a substantial increase over last year’s index of 84 million, and eclipses the 1997 record-high of 92 million.

This number includes 13.6 million mallards, up from 11.8 million last year.

Waterfowl experts report that year’s recent numbers are the result of excellent weather conditions and habitat provided through a variety conservation programs.

Ducks Unliniited is a major partner in the North American WaterFowl Management Plan, a blueprint for restoring and managing the continent’s waterfowl poliulations.

Other partners in the plan include government agencies, private landowners, corporations, other nonprofit conservation groups, and more.

Through Ducks Unlimited’s efforts, through government initiatives like the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program, and through the conservation work of countless individual and corporate landowners, millions of acres of habitat have been restored and protected across North America.

Tickets for Thursday’s event at the Lady Luck Casino are $35 per person, which includes DU membership and magazine, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and the chance to win two attendance prize.

Greenwings (17 and under) can attend for $15.

The mission of Ducks Unlimited is to fulfill the annual life cycle needs of North American waterfowl by protecting, enhancing, restoring, and managing important wetlands and associated uplands.

From the very start, DU focused its conservation efforts on Canada’s prairie breeding grounds. Today, a majority of DUs habitat conservation work continues on the upland nesting sites and shallow wetlands located within the Prairie Pothole region of the north-central United States and south-central Canada, where 70 percent of North America’s ducks are produced.