The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 12, 2012

Grand National Quail Hunt set to begin today

ENID, Okla. — Eighteen new shooters are expected today when the 46th annual Grand National Quail Hunt begins with registration at Best Western Inn.

The hunt, believed to be the third-oldest in the United States behind the One Shot Antelope in Wyoming and the One Box Pheasant Hunt in Nebraska, will run through Friday.

Hunters will be in the field Wednesday and Friday. A competitive trap shoot is Thursday at the Grand National Gun Club north of the city.

Anywhere from 50 to 60 past shooters, including actor Buck Taylor of “Gunsmoke’’ fame, ex-Oklahoma All-American Roy Williams and country singer and songwriter Ed Bruce, are expected to participate.

Brad Blankenship, president-elect of the Grand National Quail Club, said he is expecting a good hunt, although the number of birds are down because of recent droughts.

“According to the wildlife reports, northwest Oklahoma is the bright spot in the state,’’ Blankenship said. “We’re very pleased with the number of hunters we have back. It’s a very manageable number.’’

Participants will be hunting at various sites in the northwest Oklahoma area.

“This hunt was organized as an economic development tool to showcase northwest Oklahoma for business,’’ Blankenship said. “We have some Oklahoma Department of Commerce people coming in. We’re very encouraged about potential prospects for business.’’

Blankenship said camaraderie brings back many of the hunters year after year.

“A lot of it is just the love of quail hunting,’’ he said. “These people love the sport, love the opportunity and love the opportunity to network with other quail hunters from across the country.’’

Blankenship, who has been associated with the club and hunt for 23 years, said all GNQC members are required to serve on at least one committee for the hunt. That’s one reason, he said, the hunt has been well-organized. There has been an “tremendous increase’’ in the number of sponsors, too.

“We have to thank the sponsors,’’ he said. “We have been well-funded. Without them, we couldn’t pull this off.’’

The club recently has tried to have the hunt a week after quail season opens. The dates have moved up in recent years to avoid any conflict with holidays.

“We just try to coordinate around the other seasons,’’ Blankenship said. “We want to have it before Thanksgiving, when people start getting busy. It’s just more convenient.’’

John Collison, director of U.S. Sen. James Inhofe’s state office, and Col. Steve Gray, of Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, are the special hunt guests.

Other new hunters are:

• Lonnie D. Allsup, president of Allsup’s Inc., Clovis, N.M.

• Michael Clemons, chairman and CEO, SR20 Holdings LLC, Oklahoma City.

• Ken Cook, owner, Tarbone Ranch, Lawton.

• Stephen Coonts, novelist, Colorado Springs.

• Terry Edwards, senior well control technical specialist, Boots & Coots, Houston.

• J. Montgomery “Monte’’ Gingery, president, Gingery Development Group, Potomac, Md.

• Randall Ashley Greene, chairman, president and CEO, Safe Flight Instrument Corp., Greenwich, Conn.

• Irwin W. “Hank’’ Hankins III, partner/general counsel, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP.

• Jeffrey P. Hart, senior director, BandRich Inc., Washington, D.C.

• Kreig Jacque, wildlife artist, Riverside, Iowa.

• Neil C. Juhnke, president and chief operating officer, Northstar Agri Industries, Fargo, N.D.

• Peter Perkins, president, Peter Perkins Inc., Pittsburgh.

• Joe Plubell, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Black & Veatch Corp., Leawood, Kan.

• Jeffrey Scarbrough, director of API, Allsup’s Petroleum, Clovis, N.M.

• Mark Schildt, executive vice president and general manager, HyPro Inc., Waterford, Wis.

• Craig R. Showalter, president, Wyoming Community Foundation, Cheyenne, Wyo.

• James D. Shy, senior engineering manager, Lockheed Martin, Plano, Texas.

• Douglas I. “Doug” Ward, AVP Investment Strategy, USAA, San Antonio, Texas.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. today. New shooter orientation is at 4:30 p.m., followed by a dinner at 6.

The hunters will be in the fields 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. The competitive trap shoot will be at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Wednesday’s hunt will be a qualifying round. Friday’s hunt will be the championship round. Captains will draft teams after a past shooters meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

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