The following is a portion of a email sent to us by Shaun, AWA President, with information about the history of the AWA. Please read.

When I heard from Bud and found this forum I was elated to see so much interest in the waterfowl community. First I will fill you in on what I know about AWA because the past of the organization is still somewhat unclear to me. (I’m going to apologize in advance for my rambling! Lol )

I first heard of AWA about 4 years ago, never knew it existed before then. I have been a member of DU since I was 3 yrs old… I come from a long line of duck hunters that have always supported the cause to one extent or another. In my opinion DU has grown from the local group of duck hunters getting together to shoot the **** and help the cause to this big corporate giant. At the banquets and functions around here you rarely ever see anyone wearing camo, most people are wearing suits and you can tell most have never hunted ducks in their life. This is great for bringing in funds for conservation! But how much stays here in Alaska, where does it go, and what happened to the “brotherhood” of hunters getting together and having a good time? This is what brought me to see what else is out there.

My Father and Grandfather became members of AWA 2-3 years before I did and where the ones that encouraged me to come to the organization. My first impression was that everyone in the room where local business owners and avid waterfowlers…and a few old crotchety guys. They were in the process of putting together a pre-event raffle for an upcoming banquet. The first thing I realized is that this was a disorganized bunch, which surprised me because there where so many successful businessmen involved. I have prior experience with being VP and Board of Directors in other local clubs, so I stepped in and did what I could to help these guys out. I was also the youngest guy in the room so I’m not sure anyone took me seriously. After that event they put me in charge of all banquets and functions from there forward.

Every time I asked what this organization was about, where it came from or what the goal was, I got 3-4 different opinions or perspectives( most coming from the old guys in their 60’s-70’s ) When I put it all together this is what I came up with…

The club was formed by a group of waterfowl enthusiasts back in the 70’s that wanted to get together, share hunting stories, talk guns and get drunk. Women were not welcome in this club back then. It was a way for the guys to get out and do their thing and from what I heard Prostitutes and hard drinking where probably not uncommon. From there the club just existed. They were not motivated to advertise for new members. New members were brought in by current members, etc. I don’t exactly know what went on for the next 25+ years, it’s fairly unclear. When I arrived, There was a president that nobody could get along with, my father was the VP and my grandfather was the treasurer (my grandfather is also the treasurer for DU in Alaska as well as Fur Rondy) All bank accounts where established and the club had a gaming permit. Taxes and legalities where somewhat over looked until my grandfather joined. Since I joined the club we have rectified past tax issues and are now in the process of becoming a 501C3 organization with the federal Gvnmt. The president finally stepped down and a new president was elected 2 years ago. This president did a great job with the legalities (he was an attorney) but also had to step down for personal reasons...that was when the club elected me to be the president of the club. Somewhere around the time I joined we decided to be a family friendly club ( with some complaining from the older crowd that seemed to think the good ole days where better ) We make an annual donation to the NRA youth shoot in Alaska and have for some years. Recently we have added our own youth shoot event and co sponsor one with DU in Alaska. Other donations include Waterfowl USA, Bird TLC, Hayflats, Delta Waterfowl and DU Greenwing program. We also have AFG employees on our board. I apologize for my rambling but I don’t know how else to get all this information out there!

As far as I can tell the ideal for AWA is on the exact lines of what you guys are looking for in a club. We are a group of avid waterfowlers and wives, grandmas, girlfriends etc. (Family) our goals are to promote conservation, education and tradition within the state of Alaska. We put a lot of emphasis on youth because they are the up and coming waterfowl generation. We currently have a decent bank roll and are always looking for ways to use that money to better our cause. Last fall we voted to hire someone to construct the website (which needs some updates and a lot more content) so that we can be more streamline and put ourselves out there more. Currently our club seems to operate on about 6-8 solid core people, which is not enough to get all of our goals accomplished. These people are there for almost every meeting (we all have jobs and such outside of this club so it’s hard to make them all) we need more folks like yourself that want to make a difference and want to help! From my experience it seems to be difficult to find these types of people, seems they put in 110% and soon get burned out and drop off the map. My goal is to put this club back on track and start accomplishing some of these goals we all want to reach. This is why I was excited to hear from Bud and yourself. I had no idea this forum or group of waterfowlers existed and I am an avid outdoor Alaskan. I think it would be great to get this bunch into the AWA organization. We will be having a meeting on Nov. 19th 6:00pm at Lone Star Steakhouse in Anchorage, if anyone wants to attend and see what we are about I would encourage that. I will be attending the meeting in ER at Pizzaman and will bring a few club officers (1 old one!) so we can answer any questions that may come up. If you guys decide you still want to form your own club, I’m in! May be re-inventing the wheel but whatever! I will always support the cause.