It was 40-years ago, 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation was formed. Their goal was to re-establish wild turkeys in all 50-states. From the looks of things, they have done a pretty good job and then some.
Maybe 15 years ago, it was front page news to see a wild turkey in Wilson County. Now, they are almost a pest.
I went the NWTF Annual Convention last week. That is the folks who have done such an outstanding job of re-stocking turkeys all over the place.
They had their national convention at Opryland and it was packed with people and every toy you can think of. They spend a lot of time giving out awards for service and such things as the Grand National Calling Championship. I did not go to that. It got real loud.
In a couple days, Friday night to be exact, our local chapter of the NWTF will have their fund raising banquet at The Mill.
The Cedar Roost Chapter will host the Hunters Heritage Banquet, catered by Sammy B’s. Doors open at six and the fun starts at seven.
You can find out all about tickets etc. by calling Jimmy Sloan (no relation) at 615/943-4207. This is a much quieter gathering. Still, lots of goodies to bid on. These local chapters and their fund raising efforts are how the national organization is able to do the great job they do. But they are a lot quieter.
See, at the big convention, every second person has a turkey call they absolutely must demonstrate.
They do it all at once and they do it constantly and as loud as possible. Not to be left out, those with duck and goose calls join in. It gets quite loud. I think the Duck Commander, Ole Phil, had about all he could take. He looked about ready to shoot something.
I ran into Jerry Peterson. I worked with him back when he had Woods Wise Calls.
Now he has some new company, still selling calls and stuff, I reckon. We traveled a million miles together in the early days.
Big Daddy Carroll Whitener and his lovely bride, Betty were there. I am thinking Betty probably needed some new hunting clothes or equipment. I hear she has gotten into this hunting deal big time.
Oh, I saw a lot of the old timers…maybe not a lot, seems quite a few of my old crowd have either died or like me, quit doing shows.
Probably, like me, have gone about half deef. But man, talk about new gadgets! Will Primos is still looking good. Speaking of losing old timers, I heard last week Dick Cabela has stepped on a rainbow. He is the patriarch of the clan that built the stores. Nice guy and I’m glad I knew him.
I also noticed quite an uptick in folks who would find hunting land for you to lease or buy. Jimmy Settle, a guy I happen to know from other things is just such a guy. He is called Landman in some circles and he sells tracts of land, just for hunting. Mostly he works in the Tennessee - Kentucky area.
He is just one of several such outfits. They will find just what you want. All it takes is money.
There was some high-dollar stuff as well. I mean aside from cars, trucks and boats. If you wanted, you could drop a bundle on a fur coat or an ATV.
Obviously, not all the booths were just strictly about turkey hunting. You could, should you be so inclined, book a hunt in Kansas, Mexico, Africa, Alaska or New Zealand. Anywhere you wanted to hunt; there was someone there to accommodate you.
Now me, if I wanted to kill a turkey come spring season, what I would do is this. I would place me a comfortable chair out by the corner of my neighbor’s driveway. I would get me a big glass of cold ice tea and my little 20-guage, loaded with number fives. And about 9:30 some sunny morning, I would shoot me a long beard.
However, truth be told, I’d rather be fishin. See y’all at the Mill, Friday night for Cedar Roost wild turkey banquet.
It is a fun thing to do. You can bet the “Reflector” and his crowd will be there.
Contact John L. Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org