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27th Annual 
National Wild Turkey Federation
CONVENTION & SPORT SHOW
Kindell Keeten, Doug Crabtree, Robert Hoague and Greg Keeten.
| 1st Day | 2nd Day | 3rd Day

Interviews: Dick Kirby, Harry Blodgett, Harold Knight, Jim Pollard, Doug Crabtree
Competition Events: Wild Turkey Call Making | Taxidermy: Game Birds | Taxidermy: Deer MountsWildlife Art | Youth Art | Other Events: | Exhibitors | People at the show | Types Of Wild Turkeys | For info on NWTF visit the National Wild Turkey Federation Web Site.

The NWTF Sport Show - Day 3

Coverage Of The National Wild Turkey Federation Convention & Sport Show  2003.

Turkey Hunting Tips From The Pros, Contd.
Turkey Tips From Jim Pollard - NWTF Grand Nationals Champion for 2003
"Learn the cluck and the purr. Soft calls will kill more turkeys than load calls." Jim's second tip, "Proper set up. Set up above or on the same level of the bird you are working. Don't try and call the birds down hill." These were so good I couldn't stop with two so I asked for one more. "Listen to live turkey recordings. Start duplicating those calls."

Doug Crabtree, Interview by Fred Lutger
Doug Crabtree is from Brook Park, OH. He was featured on Bowhunting.net in 2001 doing a day-by-day Grand Slam turkey hunt. Doug completed his mission in 7 days of actual hunting. This year Doug will be joined by bowhunting.net Webmaster Robert Hoague. Together Doug and Robert will hunt four states for their 2003 Grand Slam quest. I'm sure Robert will be the student, learning call techniques from the 9 times Ohio State Call Champion, Doug. 

Alex Rutledge, Jim Parker & Matt Morrett

Alex Rutledge,  "Safety is more important than any other aspect of the hunt. Practice good safe hunting." Alex also added, "Don't be afraid to try many different calls. Learn from your mistakes."
Jim Parker, "You don't have to be a competition caller to bag a turkey. Turkeys make many sounds. Do your best and go with what works." 
Matt Morrett, "Pay special attention to hens. Reproduce what you hear."

Interview With Harold Knight, by Fred Lutger
Harold Knight is one half of the famous duo, Knight and Hale. Harold is from Cadiz, Ky. He started the Knight and Hale Game Call Co. in 1972. The company was sold to Pradco 6 years ago. His TV show, Knight and Hale Ultimate Hunting is one of the best-filmed and produced outdoor shows on television. Those are my words, not Harold's'. Harold had this to say. "Watching the Outdoor Channel is a sight better than some of the other crap on TV." 
I couldn't have said that better. I asked Harold for his best tip. "Learn as much about a wild turkey as you can. Why does he roost over water? What makes the hen sit on her nest for 28 days? What is in a turkeys' diet?"
Harold stated he hunts turkey about 55 days a year. This will be Harold's' 48th year turkey hunting. I asked him which he prefers, spring or fall turkey hunting?
Harold replied, "Spring hunting by all means! One-thousand-to-one over fall hunting. Spring is God's awakening of this great earth.  What a great time to be in the woods. It's the mating time for turkeys. They're struttin-n-gobblin, flowers are blooming, and buds are opening! Gods' creation is jumping right at you!" 

MORE TIPS FROM THE PROS

Rick White, Lance Tangen and Shawn Grant

Rick White, “Be patient. The biggest mistake a hunter can make is getting up to move when you should sit still. When you are ready to get up to move, look at your watch and sit ½ hour longer.”
Lance Tangen, “Scout! Prior to season, check out the land you will hunt. Find the fences, streams and other barriers and obstacles that guide turkey movement.
Shawn Grant, “Patience, hunt every day. If you don't have luck, if you don't see anything, go again anyway. Never give up.


Lots of people were at the show, about 30,000 of 'em. Here is a photo gallery of some of the folks that attendced the NWTF show. People Thumbnails

DSC07711DSC07720
Preston Pittman and Walter Parrott in the 2003 Champion of Champions Competition.
Champion of Champion callers are judged on their performance of a medley of different turkey calls and use of required callers. Callers in this category must be a past Grand National Senior Champion, past World Open Division Champion, or past Natural Voice World Champions. This years competitors were Preston Pittman, Walter Parrott, Dick Kirby and Chris Parrish. Here is what happened. NEXT

Harry Blodgett
Harry Blodgett's dynamic personality is matched only by his enthusiasm for turkey hunting and call making. Harry is CEO of Blodgett Calls located in Corning, NY. Harry started his call business in 1989. Blodgett Calls are used by the reigning Grand National Turkey Calling Champion Jim Pollard. Harry Blodgett's best turkey hunting tip, "Be very versatile in your calling. Don't stick with one type of calling style. Be aggressive and be soft." 

Walter Parrott, a name know to all turkey hunters, is as personable in person as he is on the many TV shows he stars in each week. See Walter in Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World TV Show and Co-Hosting Knight and Hales’ Ultimate Hunting show. Walter also gets time behind the camera. “This helps me relate to the hunters’ needs while being filmed.” Walters Best Turkey Tip:, “Be patient. Stay in the woods when other hunters are leaving. Many gobblers are taken mid-morning and later by patient hunters.” 

Turkey Tip From Pro Eddie Salter:
(by Fred Lutger) Many of you know Eddie from his own successful call company for many years. Eddie has been with Hunter’s Specialties for 7 years. H.S. truly made a wise move adding Eddie Salter to the team. Eddies’ duties include seminars, product design, sales and development and video productions. Eddies’ best tip, “Get and learn to use multiple calls. Have a choice of calls to fall back on. When a bird won’t come in, give him a different sound. Don’t be afraid to call.”

Taxidermy Game Birds Competition

Artistry is the key work here. This exhibit consists of game birds, mostly wild turkeys, depected in action scenes. The day by day life of a wild turkey can have it's tense moments. Hey, is that an alligator??? Taxidermy Game Birds.

Turkey Tip From Pro Steve Cobb:
Here is an excellent tip from Steve Cobb of H.S.Strut. "Early morning let it get light enough for hens to be on the ground before you call. Gobblers are smart enough to know a hen isn't down there in the dark."

More Art on display. (L) Whitetail deer exhibition. (R)
On the last day of the show I noticed that there were a bunch of new painting and other art on display in the Art area. Friday's paintings, etc. were auctioned off after competing and a few of the ones I took pictures of on Friday were still in the Art section, but there were plenty of great new ones. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger picture. More Art. Incredible, is the only way to describe the whitetails on exhibit at this show. Here are some highlights.

The Dick Kirby Interview 
Fred Lutger interviews the legendary Dick Kirby.
"Dick Kirby recently retired from Quaker Boy Game Calls, which as we all know is the company he founded. If successful in the turkey woods this year, Dick will complete his 20th successive year with a Grand Slam. This will raise his Grand Slam total to over 30. These day's Dick is heading another successful company, Dick Kirby Collectibles."
"I learn constantly," Dick Kirby stated. "I use Cherry, Poplar, Butternut, Cedar and other woods. I learn how each works in harmony as a striker, paddle, etc. I learn by putting together different lids with different bottoms. I check their harmony with angles, wall thickness and checkering." 
But that's just a highlight of the interview, here is what Dick Kirby is up to these days. Dick Kirby Interview, by Fred Lutger.

Here is an out take from Fred Lutger's interview with Dick Kirby, it's Dick's turkey hunting tip.
Fred begins, "Dick Kirby, founder of Quaker Boy Game Calls, is a man I respect for not only what he has accomplished as a turkey hunter and call manufacturer but even more for how he lives his life. I met Dick several years ago at the National Celebrity Turkey hunt in Warsaw, MO. If you spend time around Dick you'll see his enthusiasm for life, his love of God and country and his joy for the great outdoors and his fellow man. I asked Dick for his best tip for successful turkey hunting." 
This was Dick Kirby's reply.  “You must learn to sit still. If you don't, you eliminate 50 to 90% of your chance of getting a turkey. Take to heart how to sit still, how to be comfortable while sitting. Don't put your body in an awkward position. Make sure you can see an approaching bird without moving. Get your calls ready and laid out, don't try to locate calls once you start your hunt. Keep movement to change calls to a minimum.”

The NWTF Sport Show - Day 3

The Oscellated Wild Turkey & Turkey Call Making Competition

(Feb 16) This was the last day of the show. Fred interviewed Harry Blodgett, Harold Knight, Jim Pollard & Doug Crabtree. (We have to write the interviews from our notes so it will be a couple of days before they are ready.) 

Every year the NWTF has a different exhibit to show the 6 species of wild turkey. This year they had mojunts of them plus video footage of each one, including the Gould and Oscellated. Here are the mounts.

Top Turkey Call Makers submit their calls in the Turkey Call Making Competition. Here are Thumbnailed pictures of every entry (click on them to see the large picture.) Fred interviewed Dave Constantine, the winningest call maker in the history of the NWTF. The interview will be ready real soon and will include 4 close up pictures of Dave's hand carved turkey calls.

Look for lots more tips, one each, from pro turkey hunters and champion callers.

The NWTF Sport Show - Day 2

The Photography and Deer Taxidermy Competition

(Feb 15) Today the show had a huge crowd. Every isle was packed and the exhibitors were all busy showing and selling turkey hunting products. I finished taking pictures of the major competition events of the show and now I'm making photo galleries of these events. The Taxidermy Deer Competition is ready as well as the Photography competition. Dick Kirby gave Fred Lutger a dynamite interview (look for this as soon as we can get it written up).

Fred Lutger (L) Steve Stoltz (R)
We started a new deal today. Fred Lutger interviewed Walter Parrott, Steve Stoltz, Shawn Grant and lots more wild turkey experts and got their hottest wild turkey hunting tip. Let's kick off this informative segment with Steve Stoltz's tip. "Study the vocabulary of the wild turkey. Learn those sounds. The better you know those calls the better wild turkey hunter you will become."

Tomorrow we'll have the Wild Turkey Call Making Competition, it's one of the highlights of the Show. The craftsmanship, creativity, and artistry is truly amazing. You're gonna love it.

The NWTF Sport Show - Day 1

Wildlife Art Competition (L) and the Youth Art Contest

(Feb 14) Today turned out to be a fun day that ended up with hanging with Dave and Judy, Doug Crabtree, Matt, Sean, Greg and several other wild turkey hunting nutso's. 
Back to the subject of the show: you gotta love the 6th Annual Youth Art Contest. Kids from 6 to 16 are have their art on display here.
And for the more mainstream art appreciation types, here are the Wildlife Art Competition entries

National Wild Turkey Federation Convention & Trade Show - Arrival Day
(Feb 13)  Thursday: I arrived in Nashville just before dark and met Fred Lutger at our hotel. We left right away for the NWTF show at Opreyland. The welcome party was in progress but the Media room, where we needed to pick up our badges, was closed and we couldn't get in. So we went to Ruby Tuesdays and ate dinner. We'll check in tomorrow and start our coverage of this super event.


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