Georgia - Florida Turkey Invitational Bags $20,000 for Game Bird Program
The annual Georgia – Florida Turkey Invitational has become a successful fundraiser for the Game Bird Program at Tall Timbers, while at the same time creating a fun and competitive environment for those who participate. This year’s event raised over $20,000 in support of the Game Bird Program at Tall Timbers.
Forty-seven teams turned out to compete in this year’s event with the coveted perpetual trophy and bragging rights on the line. The rules dinner took place on Thursday evening April 1, at the beautiful Osceola Plantation lodge in Thomasville. Three time world turkey calling champion Eddie Salter was on hand to entertain the crowd with tales and tips on how to bring that stubborn gobbler close when you’ve run out of tricks in the woods. As always, we were delighted to have Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue participate again this year. In his last year of office, Governor Perdue has been a tireless advocate for conservation in Georgia and has fought for the rights of sportsmen throughout his two terms as Governor. We hope he will continue to participate as our guest in the years to come.
In the end, the team of Walter Hatchett and Travis Sherman from River Ridge Plantation brought home the winning bird. A whopper with 1 ¾ inch spurs and a 12 ½ inch beard! No strangers to the winners circle, Walter and Travis won the inaugural event in 2006. Second place went to Cliff Waldrep and Bobby Ryan of Mandalay Plantation and third place was won by Buck Davis and Dennett Jackson. Heaviest bird and winner of the always popular team Calcutta went to Jon Kohler and his 24-pound Goliath.
Many thanks to tournament coordinators, John Daniel and Tim Miles, for staging another great event. Thanks as well to the Williams and Parker families for hosting the dinner at Osceola and to the Rankin Smith family for allowing us to use Seminole Plantation for the weigh in luncheon. FWC biologists David Nicholson and Paul Schulz served as official and “impartial” judges for the event – no easy task given that 27 birds were weighed in that day.
Thanks to all who participated in the event and for your support of the Game Bird Program at Tall Timbers. See you next year!