Calling In Birds, Business

Calling In Birds, Business
Gabe Thornton (right) of Academy Sports + Outdoors won the 2014 Alabama Governor's One-Shot Turkey Hunt competition with a 23.6-pound gobbler Wednesday. He was hunting on property owned by Dan Moultrie (left).

Alabama Governor uses turkey hunt to woo industry

PRATTVILLE, Ala. — As Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley celebrated the acquisition of Remington Arms as one of the state’s newest businesses, state conservation officials and their partners in the Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt program used Remington shotgun shells and other turkey hunting paraphernalia to lure even more industry to the state.

Bentley invited CEOs and other top officials of out-of-state companies to participate in his One Shot Turkey Hunt this week, offering trophies and prizes to the one who bagged the biggest gobbler. Landowners from the area shared their turkey woods for the two-day hunt, while guides did their best to lure turkeys into gun range.Gabe Thornton, senior vice president/store operations for Academy Sports + Outdoors, won the competition with 23.6-pound gobbler, which scored 70.35 according to the National Wild Turkey Foundation scoring system. The bird had a 10 ¾-inch beard and spurs measuring 1 3/8 and 1 1/4 inches.

Unfavorable weather conditions held the gobbler count down — the 75 hunters brought in 10 turkeys in one and a half days — but the event itself was a huge success, said Gunter Guy, Alabama’s Conservation and Natural Resources commissioner. “I’m ecstatic,” he said. “It was a fantastic event, especially after a six-year hiatus.”

Guy and hunt organizer Dan Moultrie, chairman of the state’s Conservation Advisory Board and founder of Moultrie Game Feeders, said the Turkey Hunt raised more than $230,000 for a variety of youth-oriented hunting programs. Among the beneficiaries are Hunters Helping The Hungry, Youth Dove Fields, Becoming An Outdoor Woman and Archery In Public Schools. The money will also fund the Dan Moultrie scholarship to the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University and the Larry Drummond scholarship to the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama.


“This is the sole source of funding for these programs, and they were in dire need of a successful event,” Moultrie said.


Moultrie helped found the Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt in 2002 after attending the One-Shot Antelope Hunt in Wyoming. Not only does he have the success of the program to celebrate, but Moultrie also had a share in the champion gobbler, which came from his hunting property.


Landowners volunteered their property and provided housing for the guest hunters. Randy Bozeman of Hayneville, Ala., said he shared his Big Swamp property with a hunter in part to “get out of work,” he joked, but more importantly to “showcase our county — the outdoors is a huge industry for Lowndes County. Besides, hunters are tremendous people.”

Lowndes County District Judge Adrian Johnson, who guided Bozeman’s guest hunter, said he volunteers in order to share his passion for turkey hunting with others, especially those new to the sport.

“It’s the whole experience — being able to enjoy God’s creation and to experience the challenge of outsmarting a big, old gobbler — that’s what it boils down to,” he said.


For Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, the event should prove to companies like Remington that “Alabama loves its hunting and shooting.”

He added, “We’re a state that supports the firearms industry and provides reasonable regulatory oversight. The key is ‘reasonable.’” Asked if he has his sights set on other shooting industry companies, Canfield responded with a grin, “We’re working on that, even as we speak.”

-- Dave Precht


Recommended for You

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think? Bass

MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

 Catfish tend to be found in shallower water at night, but they are still active during the day; Catfish

Catfish Night & Day: How to Catch 'Em Both Ways

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

Catfish tend to be found in shallower water at night, but they are still active during the...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Stories

More News

On this National Day of Mourning after the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, sportsmen look back at his outdoors legacy. News

Outdoors World Mourns Loss of President George H.W. Bush

Lynn Burkhead - December 05, 2018

On this National Day of Mourning after the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st...

Moose, caribou, elk, bear and more – there is no shortage of opportunity during the fall months for hunters that are looking for some adventure. News

Big Game Pursuit

The Revolution with Jim & Trav

Moose, caribou, elk, bear and more – there is no shortage of opportunity during the fall...

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service duck breeding population numbers are down again, but above long-term average. Waterfowl

USFWS 2019 Duck Population Status Report

Lynn Burkhead - August 19, 2019

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service duck breeding population numbers are down again, but above...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×