The River Ridge Fish and Game League presented awards to members who excelled during the past year at the 31st annual banquet and awards night on March 7 at Rainbow Hall in Canora, including first and second-place finishes at provincial SWF (Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation) competitions.
Kathy Thomas, president, thanked all those who helped prepare for the evening’s festivities. She reminded those in attendance regarding the importance of the SWF Habitat Trust program.
“As an SWF member, you own these lands,” said Thomas. “With ownership comes responsibilities. People have entrusted these lands to us, and with over 66,000 acres, just paying the taxes is very costly. The SWF tries to mitigate these costs by using various tools, including: haying, oil, gas, potash, grazing and agriculture, all the while keeping what is best for the habitat and wildlife as the only priority.
“Our club has been paying the taxes on a half section of Habitat Trust lands for many years. With the SWF acquiring more and more land, it’s crucial that we use many tools to manage these lands. If we do not, the habitat and the wildlife will suffer.”
The theme, as indicated on the program, was “Our mission is to ensure the wildlife legacy we leave to our children surpasses that which we inherited.”
In the awards portion of the program, the member recognition award was presented to Kate Lockert. As Thomas explained, this award is not given out every year, only when a member is judged to have earned it.
“For many years, Kate has been helping our branch measure antlers,” she said. “Last year she took the branch measuring workshop and is on her way to becoming an official Henry Kelsey measurer.
“In the fall, Kate took over the membership chairperson job for our club, and didn’t like the way memberships were recorded, so she worked hard on setting up a system where that is more user friendly. Kate is always ready to lend a hand when needed. She is steady, quiet and dependable, and we all thank her.”
The River Ridge awards for fish went to: Brent Danylko, sauger, four pounds, 13 ounces (first in the province); Holly Danylko, junior perch, one pound, two ounces (second in the province); Neal Matechuk, senior perch, one pound, seven ounces; Devon Paley, lake trout, three pounds; Paley, catch and release junior northern pike, 19 pounds, 42 inches; Jace Wolos, burbot, 11 pounds, 10 ounces; Sharon Ripa, sturgeon, 69 inches; Ripa, catch and release walleye, eight pounds, nine ounces; Kailey Sleeva, catch and release junior walleye, 11 pounds, six ounces; Andrew Owchar, junior northern pike, 15 pounds; Aidah Walker, junior walleye, one pound, 12 ounces, and Everett Paley, arctic grayling, one pound, 10 ounces.
Big Game and Birds
In the big game and birds categories, the awards went to: Leann Butterfield, women’s white-tailed deer, 130 5/8 inches; Michael Owchar, archery white-tailed deer, 66 2/8 inches; Emily Owchar, junior white-tailed deer, 148 1/8 inches; Shadd Tratch, typical white-tailed deer, 162 5/8 inches; Devon Sawka, non-typical white-tailed deer, 141 2/8 inches; Ken Kuzek, non-typical mule deer, 210 6/8 inches; Ethan Heshka, bear, 15 7/16 inches; Cliff Lockert, moose, 163 6/8 inches, and Zoe Thomas, goose, seven pounds, eight ounces.
Attendees were encouraged to view the photography display and vote for their favourites in the photography contest, which turned out to be a family affair. Twila Napoleoni was the winner for Scenic Photography and Wildlife Photography, while her daughter Alicia took first place in the Junior Photography contest.
Menu items for the evening included: roast turkey and stuffing, meatballs in honey garlic sauce and salami as feature entrees. Side dishes were: lazy cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, Caesar salad, coleslaw and mixed vegetables. Trifle was served as dessert.