July 2018 Presidents Message
First off it is good the editor is flexible with deadlines as my message always seems to be late. I start writing so many times and end up with a different idea or experience each time.
Trying to remember that I am writing now for you all to read in the future always seems to change my quarterly message. As I was thinking about that fact, the relevance to our mission hit me . Also made me reflect on the stories I’ve been told and wishing I knew all your stories as well.
What I’m referring to are all the things each of you do in your daily activities to support our mission that no one knows about. Such as mentored hunts , youth hunts, conservation efforts and an endless list of activities teaching others these things to preserve and pass on our hunting heritage to current and future generations.
This spring I had the privilege to join some local friends on a youth day hunt. This group of outdoorsmen have tried to do this each year for as many interested youngsters as possible. This year they had 11 youth and 11 mentors who hunted multiple counties in PA to teach these youth as well as hopefully securing their interests in our beloved sport and the critical conservation of our hunting heritage it includes. All 11 youth got shooting and 10 connected on mature birds. I was lucky enough to have a young man with a strong outdoor passion that didn’t lose interest when our first location was uneventful. When we got to our second spot with vocal birds and had a successful hunt he demonstrated many positive traits to become a true outdoorsman himself. My photo this month is from that proud moment with him.
On that hunt I also met a gentleman who told me of his childhood in an area with no turkeys and how when birds were re-introduced to that area the school buses actually stopped and let the students watch as NWTF volunteers released transferred birds. Some thirty plus years later he is able to take his grandkids there in pursuit of the majestic birds we all so enjoy. He was very thankful and appreciative of the NWTF and their efforts.
Another event I was honored to be a part of was the awarding of the state scholarship at the Yellow Creek Chapter Banquet. After meeting this young man and going out to get pictures his family stated to me that his grandfather was to thank for this as he had raised his two boys in the outdoors and they passed their love of the outdoors on as well.
Hopefully you agree GREAT STORIES ! But the important part is they all relate to my earlier mention of doing NOW for the FUTURE ! Such as is our Save The Habitat, Save The Hunt initiative!
To all the folks mentioned in this article as well as all of you doing the same I would quote a friend of mine and past CEO of the NWTF Rob Keck as saying “ Thank you for answering the call “
These stories as well as many of yours make me question why we estimate having over 100,000 turkey hunters in PA yet our membership numbers are only a bit above 11,000 ?
Once again I think a friend and early mentor of my days on the state board has the answer? The late great and solely missed Don Heckman used to profess we needed to “Tell Our Story“ this article is just a small example of all the great things you all do for the NWTF. Be Proud , Gobble Loud and PLEASE “Tell Your Story” !
Share Your Passion
Heath A Nace