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Rotarians raise funds for polio while pheasant hunting

Dickinson Rotary Club raised $2,200 for PolioPlus during an auction for a pheasant hunting trip to the area during the Rotary district convention. (Submitted Photo)

Dickinson Rotary Club raised $2,200 by having a few members spend two days doing what they love — pheasant hunting.

Dickinson rotarians auctioned off an all-expense paid hunting trip to the Regent and Mott areas during the annual district-wide convention in Bismarck. This is the fifth year the Dickinson Rotary Club has hosted the pheasant hunt to raise funds for PolioPlus.

"I think when we do this hunt, what a better thing to do than to make money for something that is going to a great cause, and I get to go hunt," said Don Bares, a Dickinson rotarian. "It's like the best of both worlds."

Dickinson rotarians Harvey Brock with his dog, Pepper, Jim Ozbun, Tom Henning with his dogs, Spenser and Hawk, Dale Hansen and John Reger with his dog, Milo, led the hunt on Dave Anderson and Larry Stang's land.

Lawrence "Lew" Lewandowski, Brian Lund and Steve Spaeth from Detroit Lakes, Minn., and Doug Duba from Duluth, Minn., were the top bidders in the auction.

"This was our first time out there, and I'm sure the guys would be happy to run out there again," said Lewandowski. "Great bunch of guys. Everybody really appreciated the club putting that up, and we look forward to bidding on it again."

Bares said that everything is donated, from the land to the rooms, so that all of the money bid goes to PolioPlus.

Anderson donated his land near Regent, and Stang donated his land near Mott.

Bares said as long as the land keeps getting donated, the hunts will continue.

The Ramada Grand Dakota in Dickinson also provides rooms to the hunters.

"We just want to support what they are doing for the community and what they use their funds for," said Elaine Myron, general manager of the Ramada.

In the five years of hunts, Bares said the club has been able to raise a substantial amount of money just from the hunt, not including the other fundraising opportunities throughout the year.

In the past five years around $9,700 has been raised through the hunting opportunity, and with the Bill Gates Foundation matching funds raised on a local and state level, Bares said he believes the pheasant hunting the club hosts has brought in close to $30,000.

Every local club has to donate something during the district convention to be bid on. Just five years ago, the first year the club offered a pheasant trip, the Dickinson club received $1,100.

This year they doubled that number.

The four hunters bagged their limit, but Lewandowski said just seeing that amount of pheasants made the trip for him.

"The first day was a bit breezy, so the pheasants held a little tighter, and the second day was just absolutely ideal," he said. "There were so many birds. We went past one field, and it was like the field was moving. There were so many pheasants in that field. It was fantastic. It would have made the whole trip just sitting there watching them."

Pheasant hunters come from across to western North Dakota for hunting, specifically Regent and Mott.

"You know, the pheasant hunting we have in that area is the best, it's world-class," he said. "Pheasant hunting doesn't get any better any place else in the country or the world for that matter."