The Spruce Run Chapter got its start back in 1995 under the leadership of
Regional Director Jerry Zimmerman. From our beginning, we were forturnate to have
a large dedicated committee in addition to aid from other chapters here in New Jersey.
Over the years, the Chapter has won numerous awards, including Largest Banquet (gross & net), most members, most Jakes members, most Sponsor Members, Most Improved Banquet, Golden Gobbler and more! Our President, Jerry McCusker, our Banquet Chairman, and Co-Chair, Tim Blum and his wife Diane, and volunteer Frank Makowski have all won the New Jersey State Chapter's Volunteer of the Year Award.
Tim has also won the Roger Latham Award, and the Bob Eriksen Conservation Award. Jerry, Tim, and Frank serve all on the NJ State Board of Directors. Tim was the NJ State Jakes Coordinator. When our State Chapter President, Scott Hill, stepped down to take a position on the NWTF Board of Directors, Tim Blum was elected President of the State Chapter. Upon asuming the office of President, he turned over the reins of being the Jakes Coordinator, to Lou Gambale of the Tri-County Longbeards. Like all groups, we had our ups and downs, and like the other chapters in New Jersey, we have seen more than our share of Regional Directors trying to fill Jerry's Boots after his death in 2005. Fortunately, the chapter has been able to weather these changes over the years. For over 10 years now, the Chapter has been under the leadership of Jerry McCusker. Our committees have been stable and effective in working for the wild turkey.
With the exception of one year that we did not hold a banquet, the Spruce Run Chapter has held 18 highly successful Hunting Heritage Banquets. We owe a lot of that success to our RDs, but mostly to our outstanding committee and to one special RD who came from the Highlands Chapter, here in New Jersey.
Chris Karinja joined the NWTF in 1995 with the Highlands Chapter. He became a rabid fan of the banquet program and was his chapter's banquet chairman for many years. When the opportuntity presented itself, Chris became our Regional Director for several years. But even after Chris' leaving the NWTF Professional Staff, Chris helped run several banquets when the new RD had conflicting dates. Through his guidance, the Spruce Run Chapter has remained very successful.
Our chapter is also quite involved with the local community. For over 10 years, the Spruce Run Chapter has held our Jakes Fishing Day at the Pequest Hatchery, in Oxford. We have had hundreds of Jakes participate in our events that include shooting, fishing, and hunter safety. An average of 10 children per event have completed their hunter safety courses and recieved their Juvenile Licenses.
We are proud of the thousands of dollars that we have given out in Jakes Scholarships over the years. Many of our recipients have also won the NJ State Scholarship. The Chapter also participates in the Turkey Hunters Care outreach program, and the Wheelin's Sportsmen's Program
Through the Wheelin's Sportsmen Program, the Spruce Run Chapter has hosted a Wheelin'Sportsmen Hunt an a county golf course in Hunterdon County. Volunteers from the Chapter, the county park rangers, handicapped hunters and several "Wouned Warrior" hunters have participated.
The county has set up permanent blinds for this hunt, and we have had over fifty hunters participate over the years. Each hunt consists of an orientation day, followed by 1 day of mentored hunting. To date, dozens of deer have been harvested and the tradition will continue in January of 2015.
The chapter meets at the Asbury Gun Club club house, once a month. We have a great bunch of people in the committee, but we can always use more. If you are interested in joining our special group, do not hesitate to contact us.
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