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Local Pheasants Forever chapter to host banquet Sept. 9 at Legends in West Fargo

There is simple arithmetic involved when figuring out how to increase wild game populations: more habitat equals more wildlife.

Though simple in theory, implementing the task can be rather difficult, however.

Thankfully, there are some organizations with the dedication and purpose to follow through. One such organization is Pheasants Forever, which has local chapters spread out across the country. Its mission is the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.

The local chapter that covers the West Fargo-Fargo area and beyond is the Dakota East Central Pheasants Forever, which just so happens to be holding its Annual Fall Banquet on Thursday, Sept. 9, at Legends Event Center (formerly Speedway Restaurant) in West Fargo.

"Our main focus is here, in this area," said Shawn Dieken, a board member with the Dakota East Central chapter. That means monies raised from the banquet will directly impact the region for which the organization is focused.

It is a misconception, however, that Pheasants Forever simply buys up land for its members to hunt.

"We are creating habitat," Dieken said. "People submit projects, such as creating shelter belts, and we help with cost sharing."

And landowners need not worry about being tied into any agreements, either.

"There's no strings attached," Dieken said.

The Pheasants Forever Annual Fall Banquet kicks of at 5:30 p.m. with cocktail time. Dinner, catered by Legends, will be served at 7 p.m., before auctions, door prizes and games at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $55 at the door or $50 in advance, and can be purchased by calling Dieken at 701-388-2059. The ticket price also includes an annual membership with Pheasants Forever (a $30 value). Spousal or guest tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

Corporate Sponsorships also are available for as low as $250, which includes two banquet tickets and either the 2010 Pheasants Forever Print of the Year, or a one-in-five chance at a gun.

Guests can expect a host of events, including silent auctions, door prizes, and games. And kids are encouraged to come out, as all will receive some sort of prize, Dieken said.

The event typically draws around 300 individuals, Dieken said, which can equate to a lot of money for a good cause: creating and conserving habitat for wildlife.