First in the Field: On His Own

First in the Field: On His Own
First in the Field: On His Own

NWTF CEO Thornton stalked first buck, reacting on instinct

George C. Thornton is the CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation, a non-profit organization that works on conserving the wild turkey and preserving Americans' hunting heritage. The 40th Annual NWTF Convention and Sports Show runs Feb. 14-17 in Nashville, Tenn., where the Georgia native will continue the group’s emphasis of funding on-the-ground projects to benefit wild turkey and other upland species. Here is his first deer hunt:

The first story that comes to mind -- I was a young adult and I was in Brady, Texas, with some friends having a quail hunt and deer hunt. I had never stalked a deer before.

We were sitting around at lunch and everybody was taking a break. I just decided to go walking, and I came across a trail. I stalked the deer for an hour and a half. I could tell I was getting closer because the tracks were getting fresher.

I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea where I was. I had totally lost any sense of anything but being focused on the trail.


I went across a ravine, came up and there was an old buck. He had gotten tired and laid down. He jumped up right in front of me, and I had a 30-30 Marlin that I had for years, so I shot him from the hip.


I have no idea how many deer I've killed or how many deer hunts I've been on, but that was the most rewarding deer hunt for me because of just sticking with it. I think I learned more about tracking just being on my own. So, I'll share that with you for what it's worth.


I was a businessman who loved the land. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my life would be blessed being in the conservation world.

I've been with the Turkey Federation several  years now. This has just opened up a whole world to me. I'm doing things that I've done on my own but on a much broader scale with people who were professionals. It's just a thrill to be involved in the NWTF.

Recommended for You

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record. Records

No Kidding: Angler Smashes Record for Lake Trout

Scott Bernarde - May 21, 2019

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record.

 Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or bait Trout & Salmon

How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream

David Paul Williams

Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or...

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide. Coolers

Get Ready for Summer with Cordova Coolers

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

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.

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

See More Stories

More Stories

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles were most popular with our readers. Stories

Game & Fish's Top 10 Stories of 2018

G&F Online Staff - December 24, 2018

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles...

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at its Stories

Guns & Loads for Long-Range Coyote Hunting

Stephen D. Carpenteri - December 13, 2015

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at...

Calling all coyotes:'These predators are efficient, so finding and calling them to the gun can Stories

Predator Hunting: 3 Ways to Find Elusive Coyotes

Brad Fitzpatrick - June 26, 2018

Calling all coyotes:'These predators are efficient, so finding and calling them to the gun can

See More Stories

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.