Northwest Colorado Mule Deer Foundation banquet raises big bucks | CraigDailyPress.com

Northwest Colorado Mule Deer Foundation banquet raises big bucks

Items available for the drawing by the Northwest Chapter of Mule Deer Foundation are on display. The group's Saturday banquet was attended by more than 200 people and raised about $50
Andy Bockelman

Just as the deer and elk of Moffat County find safety in numbers, so too do the people who want to keep wildlife thriving gather in large numbers.

The turnout was sizable Saturday for the annual banquet hosted by Northwest Colorado Chapter of Mule Deer FoundationNorthwest Colorado Chapter of Mule Deer Foundation at Clarion Inn & Suites. at Clarion Inn & Suites.

Northwest Colorado Chapter of Mule Deer Foundation at Clarion Inn & Suites.

Few seats were left at tables filling the floor space, and Mike McQuay estimated about 215 people attended the fundraiser dinner, a number on the rise.

He also calculated that the night would bring in about $50,000 for the organization.

“We keep growing every year,” said McQuay, president of the region’s chapter. “We’re actually the biggest chapter in Colorado. We even beat out Denver.”

Mule Deer Foundation’s goals include the restoration, improvement and protection of habitat for mule deer and black-tailed deer populations, as well as supporting wildlife management programs and responsible hunting.

A big draw for the banquet is specialty firearms available. The grand prize was a Browning X-Bolt White Gold Medallion with a .300 Winchester Magnum, while a bevy of other rifles, handguns and other features were on display.

Kristin Nichols with Northwest Pawn said she’d been fielding questions all night about the potential prizes purchased for the event by Mule Deer Foundation.

At $20 per ticket in the drawing, the entries piled up quickly, as did the cash.

“Everybody likes to win guns for sure,” she said. “The .270 is always popular, it’s a good elk gun, and we’ve had a lot of interest in the .26 Nosler and the .257 Weatherby. They’re fun calibers.”

Numerous other items, such as hunting apparel and décor were also on the prize tables overseen by volunteers recognizable by paper antlers, one set of which was worn by Foundation member Elizabeth Kelley.

The antlers also sported the name MULEY, a Mule Deer Foundation kids program — Mindful Understanding Legal Ethical Youth — only a part of the group’s larger picture.

“Raising money and awareness for the deer population is so important,” Kelley said. “It’s a really great group of people here for a good cause and to have some fun.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.