The LBL Sportsman’s Club and the Livingston County Nature Advisory Board will split nearly $15,000 raised for an elk hunt tag drawing held Saturday, March 5 at the Grand Rivers Senior Citizens Center.
The groups sold 15 tickets at $1,000 apiece to local groups, and the participation of the non-profit Jackson Purchase Foundation allowed for those who purchased tickets to reclaim 90 percent of the ticket cost as a tax deduction. The tag, designated for a bull elk hunt in eastern Kentucky, was made available through the cooperation of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. KDFWR was represented at the auction by 1st District Game Commissioner Terry Teitloff and Elk Biologist Will Bowling, who gave a presentation on the past, present and future of elk in Kentucky.
LBL Sportsman’s Club Secretary Kevin Murphy said the group will use its portion of the funds to develop a shooting range that will be utilized for firearms training and other activities.
“[The shooting range] will be open to the public during certain time periods,” said Murphy, who is also president of the Jackson Purchase Foundation Resource Conservation and Development. “We want to have a good hunter safety program where, instead of a kid having to go out and shoot a BB gun, they can shoot a live gun and get a much better feel for it.”
The Sportsman’s Club, which has approximately 300 members, focuses on maintaining hunter’s rights in LBL, Murphy said, while inspiring a younger generation to keep hunting alive. The group makes available information and a schedule of events at lblsportsman.org.
“Hunters are becoming a minority, and we want to get youth involved,” Murphy said. “For the past two years, we’ve had a squirrel shoot and had hunters 20 and under participate.”
Jeff Ramage, vice-chair of the Livingston County Nature Advisory Board, said that groups portion of the funds will be used to help with management costs for the approximately 2,000 acres the group oversees.
“We’ve got several projects, and we’ve got some property coming online soon, so that money will probably go toward supplies for it,” Ramage said, adding that the property will need parking lots, fencing and road repair. “A lot of our seasons are geared toward youth, so our idea is kind of in line with the [LBL Sportsman’s Club’s] gun range. Once they‘re set up and able to be used by the public, not a lot of funding goes into them.”
Ramage said the cooperation of all the groups at Saturday’s event is a good sign for the state of nature and hunting in the region.
“We’ve always been able to work well together,” Ramage said. “It’s important to be united. Hunting and fishing often comes under fire from our critics, so it’s nice to have a united front to hold the line with. A lot of people don‘t realize that much of our property is used by people who will never hunt or fish - bird watchers, hikers, nature lovers.”
The drawing was won by the Tennessee Valley Adventure group, which brought over 10 members to the dinner. The group held an on-site drawing to determine which member would attend the hunt, and the winning participant was Jim McCoy, a former resident of the Between the Rivers area before it became the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in 1963.
Other entrants in the drawing received a wide range of consolation prizes.