Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937
John Carlson, Jr., California Waterfowl Association, (916) 648-1406, ext. 105
A special Wyoming big game hunt tag auction has raised approximately $31,500 to benefit the children of the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists killed in a January 2010 helicopter crash.
The Wyoming Commissioner’s tag, which is good for the winner’s choice of an elk, deer or antelope hunt during any open 2011 season in Wyoming, initially sold for $9,000 before being donated back to sell again. It sold a second time for $8,500 and was again donated back, before finally going to the winning bidder for $7,000. Telephone bidding for the tag also occurred the night of the March 26 auction, which took place at a fundraising dinner in San Jose for the Mule Deer Foundation, Central Coast Chapter.
In addition to the funds raised directly by the sale of the tag, those in attendance at the dinner donated another $7,000 for the State Biologists’ Memorial Fund and earmarked for the children of Clu Cotter and Kevin O’Connor, two biologists who were among four men killed in a helicopter crash while conducting a routine deer study in Madera County. 100 percent of the funds raised that night will be deposited into the fund.
“The Department’s partners, constituents and friends are an extension of the DFG family and these generous donations show that this group of hunters and outdoors enthusiasts take care of their own,” DFG Director John McCamman said. “We’re so thankful to Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner Fred Lindzey, who donated the tag, the California Waterfowl Association and the Mule Deer Foundation, among many other groups who have stepped up to ensure that the children of these men grow up with needed resources. We hope it helps them to connect to California’s amazing outdoors and experience all of the rich beauty of our great state that their fathers knew and loved so well.”
The tag was initially donated by Commissioner Lindzey to the California Waterfowl Association (CWA), which decided to auction it at the Mule Deer Foundation’s annual fundraising dinner to benefit this specific cause. Other supporters of the auction included the California Fish and Game Commission, Safari Club International’s San Francisco Bay Area and Golden Gate chapters, and the California Wild Sheep Foundation.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” said John Carlson, Jr. former California Fish and Game Commission Executive Director and current President of CWA. “It was a very special night with very generous folks, and I think it’s indicative of the nature of responsible hunters, who believe that the actions of an individual ultimately affect us all, and don’t hesitate to step up and get involved when there is a need.”
Individuals can contribute to the fund any time by sending a check (made out to State Biologists’ Memorial Fund) to the State Biologists’ Memorial Fund, c/o CAPS, Attn: April Beale, 455 Capitol Mall, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814.