By J.W. Schnarr
The Taber Pheasant Festival is getting a shot in the arm with a large donation from the Municipal District of Taber council.
During their regular meeting in June, M.D. council voted to donate $2,500 to the annual festival, a popular event with hunters across the province and beyond.
“It’s going to increase in size and get bigger this year,” said Division 2 Coun. Tom Machacek. “There’s going to be about 700 hunters.”
In order to accommodate the extra hunters, the event is also expanding by 10 sites. Last year’s event saw 4,000 pheasants released on the 30 sites, all within an hour’s drive of Taber. The 2013 hunt saw 73 novice hunters take part in a mentored hunt, and 636 hunters registered for hunting spots–eight per cent of whom came from out of province, as far away as Virginia.
This year, the number of pheasants released is expected to be about 5,000.
The donation would qualify the M.D. for gold level sponsorship, entitling them to exclusive ownership (name and logo) of one of the 40 release sites, which would be named for the M.D., along with a number of advertising opportunities during the event. The sponsorship also comes with four tickets to the celebration dinner on Oct. 22.
This year, the event runs from Oct. 17 to 24, including: Oct. 17–18, novice hunts; Oct. 19–24, main pheasant hunts; and Oct. 22, celebration dinner and silent auction.
The Taber Pheasant Festival is in its fifth year and is a boon to local businesses when the area becomes flooded with out-of-town hunters and their families.
“It’s certainly something that falls within the M.D., where all the hunting is done,” said Reeve Brian Brewin. “Vauxhall, Hays, everybody benefits from the event as the hunters are out and about.”
Division 2 Coun. Ben Elfring said more of these events are in the planning stages around southern Alberta, which is good for conservation of the pheasants brought in to hunt.
“It’s good,” he said. “I see a lot more pheasants than there used to be.”
“There’s a lot more pheasants in the area, from what I’ve noticed,” agreed Brewin.
Funds raised go toward next year’s pheasant hunt and for enhancing upland game habitat.
For more information, please visit taberpheasantfestival.com.