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Turkey-hunting challenge coming to Perry County

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By Vince Luecke

Teams from across the nation converging here April 23-25

PERRY COUNTY - Teams of turkey hunters from across the county are training their sights on Perry County as a nationally televised outdoors program prepares to make a three-day visit next month.

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge, seen by millions of people each week on the Outdoor Channel, showcases the growing sport of videotaping hunts. Teams of hunters spend three days hunting game and are scored on success in bagging game and the quality of their videos and interviewing skills.

The challenge coming to Perry County April 23-25 will draw turkey hunters from several states, including Georgia, Mississippi, California, Texas and South Dakota.

Approximately 10 teams of circuit hunters who participate in other Campbell events throughout the year will be in the county with up to 16 teams taking to the field. Among them will be one team chosen later this month from a random drawing. Top finishers receive prize money.

Jeremy Leu, marketing director and co-host of the television program, was in the county Wednesday to share plans for the spring-turkey challenge.

Also on hand were Bev Minto, executive director of the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Robert Skinner, administrator of Hunt Club Services, a company supporting the challenge and sponsoring its own hunting-video contest this spring.

The public has a chance to compete in the challenge through a local raffle sponsored by the Ohio Valley Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The raffle winner will be allowed to pick a partner and their team will compete in the event as Team Perry County.

The raffle prize includes entry fee in the competition and food during the three-day event. The raffle winner will also be awarded lodging with other teams.

The winning ticket will be drawn during the Ohio Valley Longbeards Chapter's banquet March 15 at the Schergens Center in Tell City. Raffle tickets are available through Jay Johnson, a member of the NWTF organization, at 547-3906 or 719-0329 or Skinner at (812) 431-8044.

Proceeds from the raffle fundraiser will be used by the Ohio River Longbeards to fund a local scholarship.

The Perry County edition of The Campbell Outdoor Challenge will be aired on the Outdoor Channel and Fox Midwest in early 2009, most likely February, Leu said.

Being able to showcase Perry County's outdoor resources through a nationally seen program is a tremendous opportunity, Minto said. "What better way to let the entire country know what our county has to offer?" she asked.

Tony Thomas, owner of Thomas Glass & More, agreed. His is one of several area businesses offering sponsorships for the event. He said outdoor vendors will be invited to participate and display their merchandise during an evening banquet. Details will be announced later this month.

The public will be invited to meet hunters, sign autographs and watch videos from each day's hunters. Details on the location where hunters will return with their videos will be announced soon.

The upcoming challenge is a first for the show's producers, Leu said, in that it will showcase an entire community, not just a particular business. Other challenges have been hosted by businesses that attract hunters to one or a small number of hunting preserves.

Approximately a dozen hunting sites across Perry County have been already been secured for the challenge, Thomas said.

For raffle ticket info and Challenge updates, visit www.huntclubservices.net. Then look for the Campbell Outdoor Challenge link. For more information on the Campbell Outdoor Challenge itself, go to www.campbelloutdoorchallenge.com and for more information on the Outdoor Channel go to www.outdoorchannel.com.

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge can be viewed on the Outdoor Channel Mondays at 5:30 a.m. on the Outdoor Channel. The program can also be viewed on the Fox Midwest television network Sunday afternoons at noon through June 29.

Call for Turkey-Hunting Videos

The separate contest sponsored by Hunt Club Services will offer a cash prize for the best unedited hunting video from Perry County participants who could not enter the televised challenge.

The HCS video contest begins April 23 and will run until the last day of the 2008 Indiana Turkey season.

All Perry County hunters can send in their unedited 2008 turkey hunting video to The Campbell Outdoor challenge. The News will publish more information, including the address where videos should be mailed, in an upcoming issue.