In spite of an incredible array of prizes, this year's raffle ticket sales, raising money for Tennessee elk management efforts, is lagging behind 2019.
As of July 24, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRF) has sold 51,830 tickets for a total of $577,870.
In 2019 TWF sold a total of 61,783 tickets, raising $667,150.
The price of a single raffle ticket did, however, increase to $20 from the previous $10. This year's tickets are $10 each, if you buy a package of ten.
"We have 21 days to go, so we’re hopeful we can top last year’s total," said TWF Executive Director Joey Woodard.
The TWRF has put together seven outdoor experience packages for its 2020 Tennessee Conservation Raffle. Formerly known as the Elk Tag Raffle, this year’s Conservation Raffle has opportunities for everyone whether a hunter, fisherman, camper, or lover of the outdoors. One hundred percent of the funds from the raffle goes to support wildlife habitat restoration.
The packages available this year include:
-- An elk hunting package including a tag to participate in the 2020 Tennessee elk hunt (one of only fifteen tags allowed)
-- A deer hunting package including a deer hunt on the famous Presidents Island Wildlife Management Area near Memphis with crossbow and gear
-- An off-road package with a 2020 Honda Pioneer UTV
-- A turkey hunting package including gun and participation in the Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt
-- A waterfowl hunting package
-- A camping package
-- A fishing package including a day of fishing with the legendary angler Bill Dance.
All the packages feature additional items and a complete list of the prizes can be found on the TWRF raffle web page
A single ticket is $20, three tickets for $50, and 10 for $100 and are on sale now until Aug. 16. There is no limit to the number of raffle tickets that can be purchased.
In 2019 Dennis Freidline was the grand prize winner. He is from Kokomo, Indiana but owns property in Tennessee and told the Kokoma Tribune that he routinely supports TWRF conservation efforts.
"“Their mission is what I have always believed in as well,” he explained, “so I will always support them.”
When officials first called to tell Freidline he won, he didn't answer the phone.
"I thought it was a telemarketer,” he explained. “I asked my wife, Angie, who do we know from Nashville?”
Freidline was successful during his 2019 hunt, taking an elk the last hour of daylight on the last day of the hunt.
The winning tickets will be drawn Monday, August 17, 2020. The seven winners will be drawn for the seven great packages. The first person drawn will get to select the prize package they prefer. The next person drawn will select their package and the process will continue until all seven packages are selected.
For many years the one precious elk hunting tag donated to a non-government organization was sold at auction. The system was geared toward "big spenders" and regular sportsmen typically had little chance when the winning bid was always several thousand dollars.
Three years ago, TWRF switched to a raffle system which opened up the opportunity to anyone, like Freidline, who can afford a single $10 ticket. The raffle system raises far more than the auction system ever came close to.
TWRF is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting habitat conservation, responsible land stewardship, and Tennessee's hunting and fishing heritage for the benefit of TWRA and Tennessee's outdoor enthusiasts.