April/May 2014 | Vol 7 | No 2
2014 GA/FL Turkey Invitational: March 27-28
Turkey hunters raise funds for Tall Timbers Game Bird Program
On March 27, the annual GA/FL Turkey Invitational Kick-off Dinner was held for the ninth year in a row at scenic Osceola Plantation, near Thomasville, Georgia. Dr. James Earl Kennamer, a leading wild turkey scientist and long-time Coordinator of Conservation Programs for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) talked some turkey to the crowd, stating that even if you don’t kill a turkey “it’s an honor to be in their presence.”
The next morning, the promise of rain didn’t deter over 50 teams from taking to the woods in search of a winning gobbler. Judge Ricky Lackey, NWTF Biologist, conducted the weigh-in at Seminole Plantation. As usual, there were memorable moments ranging from missed chances to one contestant bagging a season limit with one shot! Team Chace Wheeler and Bubba White won the overall invitational with a “boss” gobbler from Foshalee Plantation. Team Stephen Demott and Randy Floyd took second place, while third place went to perennial winners and 3-time champions Walter Hatchett and Travis Sherman.
Above, first place winners, L-R, Bubba White and Chace Wheeler. Below, L-R, first place winners, Bubba White and Chace Wheeler; standing, 3rd place winner, Travis Sherman; 2nd place winner, Randy Floyd; far right, 3rd place winner Walter Hatchett.
We had 12 youth teams this year. Christopher Watt won the Youth Division for a third time. This year the winning youth team took home a Mossberg SA20 Bantam shotgun donated by South Georgia Outdoors! Hillman Smith was a close second with a tremendous turkey that won the Calcutta, a whopping 24 pounds, 7 ounces!
Above, L-R, 3rd Place Youth Division winner Grant Gatson with his father Greg Gatson behind him; center Jason Loper with Youth Division winner, Christopher Watt at far right.
Thanks to Osceola and Seminole Plantations for their hospitality and to steering committee members John Daniels, Bryan Knox and Robbie Green for helping pull together a great year! The committee is considering a Friday dinner/Saturday event next year to attract even greater youth participation.