Covering ground

Spring hunt raffle puts six hunters in position to see new country.

Hunters from six states will travel to territory new to them this spring, thanks to their own generosity in supporting the mission of Turkeys For Tomorrow through the group’s annual raffle of spring turkey hunts.

TFT raffles for adventures in Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, Georgia, Wyoming and Florida concluded in late January, and the lucky winners hail from Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin respectively. The hunts will be guided by high-profile members of the outdoor community in each case, and each is designed to share the hunting camp experience along with a great hunt.

Tickets to the raffle were $20 each when bought individually, and buyers chose which hunt they wanted their chances to pursue. The revenue from all will go to support TFT’s mission, which is that of saving wild turkeys through science-based, sustainable solutions.

“I really like what TFT is doing, supporting scientific research and sharing wild turkey education with hunters at the same time,” said Jaryd Hurst, 31, of Jacksonville, Fla. “I’ve killed a lot of deer and turkeys in my 31 years, and I suddenly realized I had taken a lot more than I’d given back. Somebody needs to stand up in our generation and help make sure we hand things off to our kids better than we had it handed to us.”

TFT currently supports a selection of scientific field research projects underway, each designed to help better understand the dynamics of the specific needs, life cycle and reproduction of wild turkeys. Just as importantly, the group does community outreach, providing applicable education to hunting landowners and managers positioned to make a positive impact on flocks of the future. 

Both quests make a significant difference for a number of different game and non-game critters.

“Deer, quail, small game and non-game species all fall under the same umbrella in a lot of ways,” Hurst said, “but turkeys are the low hole in the bucket. If we can do things that help them, it’ll help everything else as well.”

Hurst will be hunting with Bill and Tyler Jordan, of Realtree, on the Jordans’ home turkey hunting territory in Georgia.  

“I just love playing the game,” Hurst said of the springtime pursuit. “There’s no gadget that can replace woodsmanship, and the best tool in any turkey vest is always what lies between the hunter’s ears. Being able to think your way into an opportunity and play chess rather than checkers is what got me hooked when I was 16 years old. It’s why I look forward to turkey hunting most of all.”

A grand time

TFT arranged hunts for four wild turkey subspecies including one Rio Grande, three Easterns, one Merriam’s and one Osceola. In addition to the Georgia hunt, two other quests for Easterns are in the lineup. A hunt in Missouri guided by Jordan Barnes, of @closeproximity, and Dr. Bret Collier is one. A southern Mississippi chase with Spring Legion is scheduled as well.

The hunt for the Rio Grande is set to be guided in Texas by the crew from The Hunting Public. The Merriam’s hunt will be guided by calling champion Joe Drake, and the hunt for the Osceola is standing by for the direction of calling champion Terry Rohm.

Photo by @jovtes

©Tes Randle Jolly

HunterGuideStateSubspecies
Spencer PeercyThe Hunting PublicTexasRio Grande
Ty KinardSpring LegionMississippiEastern
Mason StappBarnes & CollierMissouriEastern
Jaryd HurstBill & Tyler JordanGeorgiaEastern
Benjamin WaughJoe DrakeWyomingMerriam’s
Jeff NeillTerry RohmFloridaOsceola
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