It was Sunday evening, Jan. 24, at the hall in Fosston, and the Mallard Wildlife Federation awards supper was underway. Happy hour had begun at 4:30 and by 5:15 there were more than 80 guests in attendance, and still more were coming from the cold into the warm atmosphere of what promised to be a busy night.
The hall had been decorated especially for the evening, with deer heads and antlers adorning the length of one wall while on the other side hung pictures drawn by children, depicting scenes of wildlife.
Emcee for the evening, Lorne Wozniak, lifted happy hour to a new level with a series of jokes to start the entertainment off. With the help of Amber Ormond, who picked table numbers out of a hat, Wozniak announced the order of tables to proceed to the dinner buffet.
Grace was given by Richard Peterson.
“O great Manitou, we thank thee for all the bounties bestowed upon us. Thy humble servants, we thank thee for the flutter of many wings in the springtime, for the forests and the big and little creatures that dwell therein. We thank thee for the clear cool waters of our many lakes and rivers and for the many denizens that live therein.
“Good food, good meat, good friends, let’s eat!”
Thus the scene was set for dinner, with its good food, excellent meat and good friends — so many that extra tables had to be set to accommodate more than 150 guests.
After the meal, Wozniak introduced the awards and auction portion of the event with yet another barrage of jokes. A bidding war erupted over a footstool in the guise of a stuffed black pig that went for $340. Among the items was a particularly nicely framed picture of a moose that sold for $230. The biggest sale was of a Super B load of some 40 tonnes that went for $635. In total the auction raised about $1640.
The awards, some 22 in all, were given for game from elk to deer to moose to fish, and the recipients ranged from the very young to the old, or should that be experienced. There were a number of other prizes to be won, from bucket draws to guess-the-antler-measurement and photo contests. Someone even won the “butt end of a deer.” Special mention had to go to Wadena’s duck expert Reg Glennie for winning the Pluck a Duck Award.
Then it was time to sit back and chat with friends before the evening ended. As guests drifted away and the hall emptied, another hunting season was wrapped up and its high points acknowledged. It was easy to imagine that the area’s hunters had already begun to look forward to next year’s challenges and accomplishments.
By Andy Labdon