Talkin' Outdoors

A group of folks in north-central Louisiana has made a name for itself not only here in this part of the country; they’re turning heads across the nation, especially up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. This is where headquarters for Whitetails Unlimited (WTU) is located and for the past two years, the founder and CEO of WTU has made his way south to attend the annual banquet the local chapter holds to present special awards for outstanding work.

Jeff Schinkten collected a few more frequent flier miles last week when he made the flight from Sturgeon Bay to north Louisiana to attend the banquet put together by the Lincoln Parish Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited. Although the catfish and crawfish meal should have been enough to coax him south, the reason he came to the banquet was to honor the local chapter with one of five national awards. With more than 500 chapters spread out across the nation, the local chapter was number one in the “most paid members at the annual banquet for 2016.” Let that soak in for a minute; no other chapter in the entire United States had as many paid members at their banquet last year as did the Lincoln Parish Chapter.

“I wanted to make the trip back down here to present the award and try to let these folks know just how special they are to the organization and to thank them for the splendid job they are doing,” said Schinkten.

“This area is blessed with so many great members that do a tremendous job and it leaves me overwhelmed.”

Schinkten added that Louisiana is an outstanding state overall for the work they do for the organization. Two of the top five chapters in the country are Louisiana chapters, Ruston and Lake Charles.

Glenn Scriber, chapter president along with number one assistant, Marty Edmonds, heads up the local committee but these two couldn’t do it alone.

“We have 13 committee members who work just as hard as we do to be sure our chapter does just what it is supposed to do,” said Scriber. “With a solid 600 people in attendance at this year’s event, I haven’t had a single complaint. I can’t tell you how many calls and texts I’ve received telling how much they are impressed with the way the banquet turned out,” said Scriber.

“Although all the figures are not in quite yet, it looks like our banquet raised in the neighborhood of $85,000. After expenses, we are allowed to keep half of the net proceeds for local projects. Last year we were able to help fund the local youth shooting club as well as Med-Camps for special needs children.

“Although we haven’t settled on what funds will go for this year, we hope to be able to do something similar to what we did to help Tyler Wheeler, wildlife enforcement agent who was shot while making a stop. Another police officer, Brandon Milner, was severely injured in an accident and there are some serious costs involved in his recovery. Hopefully, we can help some with this.

“We are also considering helping the Trailblazer RD&D because they’re doing so much to make the public aware of problems with feral pigs,” Scriber added.

Jeff Schinkten hopes to be able to return to Ruston next year.

“I hope I can come back next year to present another award,” said Schinkten. “This is a special chapter down here and it’s going to make its name in history, I can assure you.”