Hunters, conservationists join forces on Martha’s Vineyard

Matthew Pouliot examines a D.U. clock, just the thing to rouse a hunter early enough to get the decoys out before sunrise. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Hunters and conservationists joined forces at the annual Ducks Unlimited dinner at the Harbor View Hotel earlier this month, drawn by a mutual love and concern for the natural world and the creatures that inhabit it. Ironically, it might seem, some of the most ardent conservationists are former hunters.

Once a major mid-winter event on the Island, D.U. dinners have dwindled a bit in recent years, but attendance was up this year, and more money was raised in support of the organization that supports their passion. An extensive silent auction featured hunting gear, including guns and decoys, paintings and carvings, and various home accessories — all with a waterfowl feel. A live auction followed the sit-down dinner.

Just one year short of its 75th birthday, D.U. is dedicated to replenishing the supply of waterfowl in North America by conserving the habitat where they breed. With a membership of some 775,000 in North America, D.U. has conserved more than 12 million acres of waterfowl habitat on the continent, and “influenced” another 59 million.