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Ducks Unlimited banquet is Friday in Fox Lake

Vicki Mandurano is shown her with one ducks she harvested from ChaO'Lakes. She is part ChaO'Lakes Ducks Unlimited Chapter having

Vicki Mandurano is shown her with one of the ducks she harvested from the Chain O'Lakes. She is part of the Chain O'Lakes Ducks Unlimited Chapter having their annual dinner next week. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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The 1.31 million people who hunt or fish in Illinois have a tremendous impact on the state’s economy. In 2011, they spent $2.34 billion, with a ripple effect of $3.9 billion, and supported 31,597 jobs in the state. New data released by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation documented the importance of sportsmen and women’s activities in Illinois and across the nation. The state fact sheets follow the release of CSF’s national report, America’s Sporting Heritage, Fueling the American Economy, that was released in mid-January.

This press release and more can be found at

Updated: March 17, 2013 6:34PM

The Chain O’ Lakes Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in Fox Lake will host its 30th annual Membership Banquet at Maravela’s Banquet Hall in Fox Lake at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

This year, the event is co-chaired by a woman.

“As a first-year chairman and the first woman chairman of the Chain O’ Lakes Chapter, I am honored and excited about celebrating our 30-year anniversary,” said Vicki Mandurano of Grayslake, who is working with co-chair Bill Beckmeyer.

She believes that being a woman helps because their chapter is trying to appeal more to couples and families. “It used to always be a guy thing,” she said. “We welcome everyone who enjoys the great outdoors,” she continued.

She started out volunteering about five years ago, and next thing you know, she was on the committee and then named chairman, “but that’s alright because I love my organization,” she said.

She started out hunting when she was little — shooting squirrels with her father, Herb Haas, who is now retired and living in southern Illinois.

She really fell hard for deer hunting. “I’m an archer at heart,” she said, joining the Kenosha Bowman and getting certified as a bow instructor. It was her ex-husband who got her into bow hunting. She has tried to get her three kids interested, but no nibbles.

“My granddaughter has gotten interested in archery, she’s 11 now,” said Mandurano.

The club also does an event during the annual duck blind lottery at the end of July at Chain O’ Lakes State Park.

Their members come from Grayslake, Gurnee, Fox Lake, Ingleside, and even Trevor, Wis.

“I think being a woman has helped to make this more of a family event. I did a woman’s bucket raffle last year,” she said, and there were about two dozen women.

“This event is an exciting evening for all outdoor enthusiasts,” she said.

The membership banquet costs $65 for an individual and includes a DU membership. A couple costs $100 so you don’t get two memberships, and a youngster costs $35 and that includes membership in Greenwing, which is for kids.

There will be unique live/silent auction items and raffles of the wildlife and sporting art as well as goods and services donated by area businesses, including a ladies raffle and items for Greenwings.

“The support and beliefs we receive from our volunteers, donors and attendees play an important role in teaching our kids sportsmanship, as well as a love of the great outdoors. It is with our efforts and passion that we continue to support Ducks Unlimited wetlands and waterfowl habitat conservation efforts in Illinois, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico,” said Mandurano. To sign up, go to and click on events and Illinois.

Just in case you were wondering, hunters are overwhelmingly male, outnumbering women 9-1,. Midwest women make up 8 percent of the hunters, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

This month, Ducks Unlimited announced it has reached a conservation milestone with more than 13 million acres of habitat conserved in North America.

The ground-breaking number is a cumulative accomplishment of the millions of DU members, as well as volunteers and partners, who have been a part of the organization over the past 76 years.

“Coming on the heels of DU’s 75th anniversary year, this milestone is a fitting tribute to the hard work of each and every member, volunteer and staff member who has contributed in any way over the past three-quarters of a century,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “If not for their dedication and commitment to conservation, this accomplishment would not have been possible.”

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