First in the Field: On His Own

NWTF CEO Thornton stalked first buck, reacting on instinct

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

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.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

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.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

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.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

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.

          From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find Bass

7 Best Bets For New Jersey Largemouth Bass

October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

A father and daughter with their dogs on a dry ground mountain lion hunt get more than they bargain Stories

Arizona Mountain Lion Hunt Turns Into Dangerous Jaguar Encounter

Aaron Decker - November 30, 2011

A father and daughter with their dogs on a dry ground mountain lion hunt get more than they...

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

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

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.