Texoma Ducks Unlimited hosts couple’s Cajun dinner tonight

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

What do you get when you mix crawfish, camouflage, cowboy boots, and the dust of the Texoma Livestock Exposition arena?

You get the 2021 Texoma Ducks Unlimited Couple’s Event, that’s what. This year’s event will be held tonight, Friday March 19, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Mayor Arena of Loy Lake Park in Denison.

If you’ve followed the outdoors news in this space over the years, then you’ll probably notice a venue change. That change has been made necessary this year due to the Texomaland region’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you’re planning to head out for the DU event this evening, head for D-Town instead of downtown Sherman.

But other than the change in location for 2021, most everything else will remain the same tonight, including the Cajun cuisine. Catered by Savoie’s Cajun Pot out of Shreveport, La., this evening’s Texoma DU menu will contain the usual array of beverages along with crawfish etouffee, fried shrimp, chicken tenders, hush puppies and more. Past events have even featured fried alligator as an entree.

If the food isn’t a big enough drawing card to cause you to want to attend, then maybe the live auction will be. With longtime Texomaland auctioneer Doug Rodgers manning the stage tonight, the live auction will feature nearly two dozen items including a DU coat rack, a DU rocking chair, a DU LED sign, and a DU wind chime among other limited edition and collectible items.

Several of the live auction’s headline grabbing items this spring will certainly be the trips available — including a guided trophy striper fishing trip on either Lake Texoma or the Red River. Other big trips are a wingshooting adventure for doves in Argentina or Uruguay, a big game hunting safari in South Africa, and a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota.

The live auction will conclude with the auctioning off of the 2021 DU Gun of the Year, a beautiful Beretta A400 Upland 20-gauge. Sporting a gold enhanced waterfowl engraving scene of mallards, teal, and wood ducks, the exquisite wingshooting scattergun also has an oil-finished walnut stock and a satin-finished silver receiver.

Speaking of firearms, the night will feature a total of 18 guns up for sale through the live auction and through the evening’s numerous special games and raffles. As always, anyone winning or purchasing a firearm will have to pass the federal background check before being able to take possession.

Other firearms available at the DU event this evening will include a Wise Arms AR chambered in 5.56 and coming with a number of rounds of ammo. Also available is the DU Handgun of the Year, a .45 caliber Kimber 1911 that comes with a hard case; the DU Rifle of the Year, a Christensen Arms rifle chambered in .300 Win Mag that comes with a Zeiss scope and a hard case; and other shotguns, rifles, and even .22 rimfires.

There will also be a silent auction this evening, one that features a number of collectible DU items, wildlife art prints, decorative decoys, outdoors gear, and various items donated by local merchants. Past events have also included other items like gift baskets designed for ladies, special restaurant packages and golf outings, so who knows what all tonight’s fundraiser might bring?

But the best part about tonight, aside from the Cajun cuisine — it’s crawfish season, after all — and the merchandise up for grabs is the opportunity to help ducks, geese and other wildlife species that are completely dependent upon habitat that is rapidly disappearing across the North American continent due to increasing development, urban expansion, and changing land use practices.

Without that habitat, the ducks won’t be able to keep up with the pace of civilization’s ongoing encroachment in coming years. When that happens, waterfowl numbers will trend downward as untamed lands disappear from the landscape.

So, the bottom line at events like tonight’s Texoma DU couple’s dinner is that while there’s certainly the chance to enjoy the event for yourself, the best reason to attend is that you can help keep the ducks and geese flying south each and every fall. Not to mention helping provide vital habitat for all kinds of other wild critters who depend on such wild landscapes.

Interested in attending tonight’s Texoma DU event? According to the local group’s social media info, tickets are $60 for individuals and $75 for couples. Aside from the meal itself and the chance to win a door prize, the ticket cost will also give attendees a year’s membership in Ducks Unlimited, a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine, a DU decal, and a membership card.

And that’s not to mention the satisfaction that you’ll get from attending the quacker backer event and doing what you can to help keep the ducks flying down the flyways.

To find out more about tonight’s event or to purchase tickets, please contact area chairman Kris Spiegel at 903-820-8882, past area chairman Eric Kloppers at 903-815-2229, or retired DU senior regional director Jim Lillis at 903-815-8002.