Ducks Unlimited State Convention set for this weekend

Ducks Unlimited will be hosting its annual state convention in the Houma/Thibodaux area this weekend and more than 500 people are expected to attend the popular event.

The 2019 Ducks Unlimited Louisiana State Convention will be Cajun themed and the primary venue will be the Houma Civic Center, Friday and Saturday. The highlight event of the convention will be the “Road Kill Cook Off,” but there will also be speakers, awards, and raffles. Attendees are encouraged to wear overalls, shrimp boots, Mardi Gras, black & gold, LSU, camo, or anything Louisiana themed.

“We can’t compete with them on niceness and formalities,” said Nicholas Lichenstein, Louisiana State Chairman for Ducks Unlimited, regarding people from out of state. “So leave the suits and ties at home and grab the overalls and white shrimp boots.”

Ducks Unlimited is a private organization founded during the Dust Bowl of 1937. Its goal was to protect waterfowls populations from extinction. The organization has grown to the largest private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization.

According to Lichenstein, Ducks Unlimited is important to Louisiana because it spends significant resources on conservation efforts in the area. For example, while fundraising efforts by Ducks Unlimited in Louisiana raised just under $4 million, Ducks Unlimited, as a whole, spent just under $12 million on efforts in the area.

Similar to last year, the Roadkill Cook Off will be returning. With the criteria of, “If you can catch it, kill it, or pick it up,” said Lichenstein, the results can be as exotic as last year’s “racoon pizza,” or even “tuna nachos” (seared tuna on won tons).

There will also be raffle drawings for art pieces, hunting items, decoys. The money collected goes towards the organization’s overall fundraising, which Lichenstein mentioned that 80 percent of the organizations fundraising goes directly towards conservation efforts.

There will also be speakers including scientists, and the new CEO of Ducks Unlimited Adam H. Putnam, said Lichenstein. The former congressman and self proclaimed “recovering politician,” stepped into the CEO position in March.

One topic Lichenstein said was likely to be addressed is a recently finished campaign, “Rescue Our Wetland.” The goal was to raise $2 billion over 5 years: $2.34 Billion was reached by the end. The money will be spent on wetland projects from Louisiana to Saskatchewan Canada.

The first time, and so far only according to Lichenstein, this event was held in the Thibodaux area was in 1996, and it was hosted by none other than Lichenstein’s grandfather the then State Chairman Ronald Bartels. This year the main portion of the event could not take place in Thibodaux as Lichenstein could not locate a venue which would easily house 500 people. •