Wild Turkey Federation banquet tonight

Published 12:08 am Thursday, March 18, 2010

NATCHEZ — It’s not a Thanksgiving meal, but turkey looks to be the main attraction tonight at the Natchez Convention Center.

Turkey hunters are set to migrate to the convention center at 5:30 p.m. for the 18th annual Mississippi Wild Turkey Federation banquet, which is being hosted by the Miss-Lou chapter of the organization.

Stephen Edwards, chairman of the Miss-Lou MWTF, said the banquet would include an auction, the proceeds of which would go toward federation membership. However, he said that’s not the only thing the funds sponsor.

“It also goes toward things like Jake’s Program, which sponsors seminars and field days for younger hunters,” Edwards said. “And, it goes towards re-forestation for turkey habitats and things like that.”

And Edwards said the main purpose of the federation was to help re-establish those turkey habitats.

“Mainly, it’s for rebuilding habitats on private lands where you can still hunt,” Edwards said. “They don’t do a whole on reserves. It’s an organization for hunters.”

For Edwards, involvement in the organization dates back a decade.

“I’ve been involved probably about 10 years. I’ve always been a member, and have gone to all the banquets — that’s mainly how you get in. I’ve always been a very avid turkey hunter, and this is my first year to head up the chapter.”

And with that comes his first year to put the banquet together, which Edwards said he’s gotten a lot of help with.

“It’s been exciting and tough, but I have a committee of all my close friends who are helping me out,” he said. “Most are young professionals around the area, and they’ve put most of the grind and work into it. I’m just the contact.”

When considering the state of the economy, Edwards said he expects a good turnout tonight.

“It’s one of the (organization’s) biggest banquets in the state as far as numbers and gross at the auction,” Edwards said. “We expect to have a really good one this year.”