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Hunter’s Paradise becomes the Second “Build a Wildlife Area” Land Acquisition

Sporting Clay Shoot in Prior Lake to Launch 2005 Campaign

St. Paul, Minn. – March 11, 2005 – Minnesota’s Build a Wildlife Area campaign announces the purchase of 400 acres in Traverse County. The 400-acre parcel, located north of Wheaton, will become the Hunter’s Paradise Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This is the Build a Wildlife Area partnership’s second successful Minnesota land acquisition in as many years. In fact, the 2004 campaign has remaining funds that will be used in another wildlife area acquisition in the near future. Additionally, the 2005 campaign is scheduled to kick off on April 22nd with a sporting clay tournament at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake.

The Hunter’s Paradise acquisition protects critical habitat for pheasants, waterfowl, turkeys, deer, and a myriad of non-game wildlife. The land sellers, DuWayne and Jennifer Ditterich, also made a substantial donation to the campaign. In recognition, the partnership named the new WMA in honor of the Ditterich’s first son, Hunter.

The partnership’s goal was to raise $75,000 during the 2004 campaign. With individual and corporate donations, the campaign exceeded its goal for the second year in a row, generating over $80,000. Pheasants Forever (PF), Outdoor News, Game Fair, Gander Mountain, Federal Premium Ammunition, North Country Ford, KFAN, and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association all returned as corporate partners for the second year. New major partners for 2004 were Apple Auto Group, Referral Mortgage, Simek’s foods, and Big Al’s gourmet pies.

In fact, Apple Auto Group and owner Mark Gulbrandson, with his wife Linda, joined the campaign with a $20,000 commitment; the partnership’s single largest contribution to date. Gulbrandson said, “We support the Build a Wildlife Area campaign because of our deep passion for the outdoors. Plus in this unique campaign our investment is multiplied and the result is a tangible on-the-ground benefit for all, a new public wildlife area.”

Individual contributions to the campaign were in excess of $15,000. PF’s Anoka County Chapter led the way with individual fundraising efforts at Game Fair that generated over $10,000. PF’s Hastings Chapter also made a $5,000 contribution to the effort. With matching grants from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the partnership had over $500,000.

The Traverse County PF Chapter did much of the legwork in making the Hunter’s Paradise WMA a reality. The chapter will host a land dedication this summer as the Hunter’s Paradise WMA is transferred to the MN DNR. Beginning this fall, the new Hunter’s Paradise WMA will be open to the public for hunting and other compatible recreation activities.

The first Build a Wildlife Area campaign in 2003 successfully purchased 318 acres in Morrison County. That acquisition was named the Mud Lake WMA and transferred to the MN DNR. Mud Lake WMA was open to the public last fall.

The 2005 Build a Wildlife Area campaign will kick off with a sporting clay shoot. The event is slated for April 22nd at the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club in Prior Lake. A team of five shooters can enter for $1,250 with all proceeds going to the 2005 campaign to purchase another new wildlife area in Minnesota. To learn more, or contribute to “Build a Wildlife Area 2005,” call Pheasants Forever toll free at (877)773-2070.

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