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The Dalles Mule Deer Foundation celebrating 25th year

The Mule Deer Foundation is coming to town Saturday for a worthwhile fundraiser and auction.

Through the many hours and days of work put into the sport, organizer Rich Griffith sees the mule deer population increasing.

The Mule Deer Foundation, celebrates its 25th year.

“The Mule Deer Foundation has seen a solid increase its membership numbers in the past few years,” said Griffith. “The foundation’s overall goal is to raise money for the preservation of our mule deer and their habitat. The nice thing about the foundation is that they like to give a percentage of dollars raised back to the local committee so they can do local work.”

Griffith announced that MDF is opening doors for its 20th annual banquet and fundraiser starting at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 20 at St. Peters Parish Hall behind St. Mary’s Church in The Dalles.

Aside from the dinner entrees of chicken Kiev or bacon-wrapped steaks, Griffith said there are hundreds of items on display for both oral and silent auctions, including items that have a specially marked 25th anniversary insignia attached.

Other firearm items are up for grabs in various games, including other drawings and raffles.

There will be an extensive optics package from Leopold, knife sets, paintings and other memorabilia available for bids.

In addition, there are three first-time youth hunt packages offered as well as a regular youth special.

It has been a successful collaboration between donations and giveaways from local people and businesses.

“The volunteers have done a super job,” Griffith said. “This event is our main source of income and we have gotten things together quite well through the entire process. I think it will be a good night with many things available for purchase. ”

Last year, MDF raised a substantial amount ranging in the thousands for projects for use in repairing decoys for the police along with purchasing new collars for mule deer studies.

This year, Griffith said that MDF funded the building of a spring feeding in the Deschutes River Rattlesnake Canyon area.

All of the money is put together to raise awareness and money for a good cause.

Griffith said enrollment in the foundation has remained steady over the years, but he sees continued support as a critical aspect of maintaining the quality of life for the mule deer.

The Dalles chapter of MDF has been in existence for 25 years and as of last month, the MDF program currently has more than 750 members in the state.

Over the past several years, Oregon chapters have invested in excess of $40,000 in on-the-ground projects, and they are on target to obligate more than $10,000 this year.

The Mule Deer Foundation is one of the key conservation groups in North America working to restore, improve and protect mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat.

With a focus on science and program efficiency, MDF has raised millions of dollars and put countless hours on the ground for mission-critical projects.

MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation.

“The foundation buys all materials and the school volunteers plant the foliage, grow it and work with the Oregon Fish and Game to put it to good use,” Griffith said.

The mule deer population is slowly rising, and there is hope that it could continue to do good work to ensure the steady increase in animal population.

Griffith said he has been hunting since he was a youngster and feels comfortable in the wilderness.

He also has many goals he would like achieve.

“I would like to get membership up higher,” Griffith said. “We have a lot of people in this area that hunt and partake in hunting activities. We’re a group that likes to preserve the opportunity to hunt. We can do that by supporting banquets, increasing community involvement, helping the mule deer and getting involved with volunteer groups.”

Tickets can be purchased before Saturday, due to limited facility space.

To order tickets, 541-980-8870 or e-mail him at griffithr@charter.net.

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