By the looks of the parking lot at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Convention center, someone forgot to tell the 40,000 plus attendees there was a recession. Other than the S.H.O.T. show, the NWTF convention is the largest gathering of Who's who in the outdoor industry and one of the best places to see new hunting equipment and plan your next deer or turkey hunt.
Among the guides and outfitters was my good friend Manuel Enriquez - owner/operator of El Halcon lodge who I had not seen since 2004. We reflected on our last hunt together back when we shot a world record (spurs)Gould's turkey- all on camera that will be a featured show on USA Outback later this year. El Halcon lodge still maintains the world record for Gould's turkeys and is a fantastic place to add to your list of hunting lodges.
In case you are wondering, here are the 2009 NWTF Calling contest results-
2009 WTB/NWTF Grand National Senior Division Championships
First place- Jim Pollard, Charleston AR 453
Second place- Chris Parrish, Centralia MO 452
Third place- Sadler McGraw, Camden AL 446
Fourth place- Shane Hendershot, Zanesville OH 445
2009 Rare Breed/NWTF Champion of Champions
Mark Prudhomme, Georgetown SC 1141
Sadler McGraw, Camden AL 1109
Kerry Terrell, Brooklet GA 1062
With me on this trip to Nashville was my good friend Mark Zukowski whose company Genesis Lamp is starting to provide energy efficient replacement lamps and light bulbs for the manufacturers of hunting equipment. Part of the proceeds from outdoor industry sales of replacement bulbs benefits the NWTF through donations by Genesis Lamp. Change a light bulb- save a turkey- imagine that.
My main goal at the NWTF convention was to get video snippets from outdoor personalities to promote Safari Club International's Sportsmen Against Hunger program. Talk about Who's who in the outdoor industry- here's a list of who you will see on this feature video mid-March exclusive for XONtv(http://www.xontv.tv/) -
Paul Butski & Bob Walker
David Hale, Harold Knight and Jim Strelec
John Annoni- 1999 SCI Educator of the Year
Mark Nelsen- Cabela's Marketing Manager
Actor Gerald McRaney
Ricky Jo Bishop
Bill Miller from NAHC
John Plowman from Hunters Sharing the Harvest in PA
Baltimore Oriole pitcher Buddy Groom - and of course- myself.
By assembling the group mentioned above, it shows that the entire outdoor industry is behind this program. It is because of these guys that the sport I love so much is even able to survive in today's hustle and bustle world because of their dedication and contributions to the sport of hunting- and the community.
I am hoping that this video will show not only the sporting community but also the general public how we as hunters are making a difference helping those in need. In some circles of the general public, hunting is frowned upon. This video showing venison donations to the needy is just one of the many ways we can help eliminate these preconceived notions that hunters are 'bad' people. Simply put- How can anyone be against helping feed the needy?
Hunters DO make a difference by not only footing the majority of the bill for conservation(Pittman Robertson Act), but also through many other humanitarian services projects that sportsmen do everyday- NWTF Wheelin' Sportsmen, Safari Wish hunts, Safari Care, the list goes on and on.
This Sportsmen Against Hunger feature video will be airing exclusively on the Internet making it capable of worldwide distribution through XONtv.
So think about donating some of your game this year to the Sportsmen Against Hunger program. We as hunters can make a difference.
Check out USA Outback at http://www.usaoutbacktv.com/.