Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

QDMA CHARITY TURKEY HUNT

 

Will Howell QDMA Branch president in Auburn with a nice thunder chicken

This past deer season in Alabama's been pretty on and off, but aside from the weather, it's been plenty full of great hunts and greater stories! I've heard and read lots of stories and seen plenty of photos about folks bringing home the meat for the freezer as well as some really nice trophies for the wall. Here's to hoping the next season will be even better!

As for me, my mind's preoccupied with Turkey Hunting. This year the fun kicks off for most counties in Alabama on March 15th, running all the way through April 30th. There are a few exceptions to those dates, so make sure you stop by www.outdooralabama.com and double-check your hunting area's season start and finish dates.

Personally, while I still go solo chasing after those crazy birds, the real fun nowadays is taking along some other folks to go hunting. To me, Turkey Hunting starts off as a social kind of hunt. You crack jokes, share stories, and just enjoy being in the outdoors, until that first gobble rattles off. The moment you hear it, the switch is flipped, and it's business time. The whole gang shuffles on quietly towards that gobble, hoping to set up on that fella before he drops down from the roost in to some giant empty pasture 200 yards away from any sort of cover with eyes on you.

If you're not familiar with chasing down Thunder Chickens, lemme tell you; they have some very, very, very sharp eyes. If you so much as think about twitching from 50 yards out, they'll turn right around and let every other bird in the area know the jig is up. So setting up your shot, getting the gun raised and aimed, and being in the right place at the right time is a great mix of both skill, knowledge, and mostly luck. It creates a kind of tension that can take years off a grown adult, but that thrill is something I can't get enough of, especially when it pays off with a gobbler on the ground.

Of course, this might be a little overwhelming for some folks, but some of us crave that challenge. Naturally, many of you turkey chasers may wonder just how much harder we can make it. I'm glad to report that this year QDMA is presenting a Charity Turkey Hunt in Alabama. Now, the neat thing about this charity hunt is that each hunter has just one shell to use. Laugh, cry, hit or miss, that's all you get.

Naturally, this competition has some rules and regulations to follow. Here's the quick breakdown; 20 hunters will participate. The contest starts on April 6th, as the hunters gather at Great Southern Outdoors, in Union Springs. The hunters will meet with their guides, get some good food and socializing in, and get some rest. The next morning, each team of hunter and guide will head to their best hunting spots around central Alabama, chasing down some birds, in the first of 3 rounds of hunting. After the morning hunt's over, everyone returns to GSO and grabs some lunch. The hunters that managed to bag a bird that morning are free to hang out, go fishing, hog hunting, or whatever they like at GSO. The rest will make their way back to the field, for round 2. Another dinner, and some more rest, then the next morning starts the third and final round of turkey chasing. All hunters must return to GSO by 12 noon with their bird in order for it to be judged. The hunter with the best bird wins a nice cash prize! Every hunter and guide that participates also gets a Goodie Bag, loaded with outdoor merchandise.

If that sounds like the kind of challenge you'd be interested in participating in, would like to sponsor, or just want a little more info, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at slong@qdma.com. Each hunter's entry fee is $1000 upfront, and all proceeds go to QDMA to help fund research and education for deer hunting and herd management.

I'm pretty psyched up for this event, and I hope the rest of you are able to ride the wave off of the end of this past deer season into the next few months. 2017 is going to be a great year for getting away from social media, politics, and civilization in general, so we might as well enjoy it in the woods, hunting and fishing. I look forward to hearing more about all of yall's deer hunting on mine and Rob's radio show, Cast & Blast, on Saturdays, so keep up with that ammo and camo, get your turkey calls out and boots strapped on, and go get'em!

 

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