I am even branching out and beginning to hunt some things that dad never had a chance to hunt such as coyotes, deer and turkey. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to attend the NWTF national meeting in Nashville. I am trying to learn all I can as I take on these new challenges. My learning that day began as soon as I got in my vehicle and started toward Nashville. You know why? Because traveling with me was none other than Daniel Hale. Now, Daniel probably knows as much about hunting as most all of the folks that were to be at the convention, so I kept him busy with questions the entire trip as I was trying to pick up some tips. By the way, I did call Daniel and ask him for permission to use his name in my column. He remarked that my doing so could be bad for his reputation. I replied back that that could work both ways. As they say in text messaging, LAUGH OUT LOUD.
When we got to Nashville, we met up with Daniel’s son Lucas, also a top-notch hunter, and his wife Melissa. I couldn’t believe the traffic. It seemed as if the entire country had convened upon the Gaylord Center at Opryland for the convention. We had to park a long ways from the exhibit hall and catch one of several busses that shuttled you over. Once we got to the site, I was amazed at several things.
First, you wouldn’t believe that so much camouflage exists in the world. Second, it seemed like every other person there was blowing on a duck, goose or turkey call. There must have been a thousand folks blowing on those calls. If they would have opened the windows to the exhibit hall, every duck, goose and turkey from a 500-mile radius would have come running. Third, I learned that I could sign up for a hunting safari to practically anywhere in the world to hunt practically anything. Funny thing about that, though, is all those folks wanted a small fortune to take me hunting with them. Apparently, they didn’t realize that I have two sons in college. In the days of leasing land to hunt or going without, I guess I will have to hold out hope that there is still an old-fashioned land-owner or two out there that will let you hunt just because you are friends.
I also rediscovered something that I already knew. When I got to the Knight and Hale booth, I was reminded that Harold Knight and David Hale are rock stars in the outdoor world. There was always a long line of people waiting to get them to autograph something. I observed fathers taking their children up to get all sorts of things signed and just to introduce them to the outdoor legends.
The most amazing thing about the entire day to me, however, was the crowd. You have to see the number of people there to believe it. The huge exhibit room was so packed with people that you could barely walk down the numerous isles. There was also a seemingly endless amount of products to view or buy. There were guns, clothing, calls, trips, seats, stands, food, trucks, boats, boots, pictures, paintings, knives, live music and much more.
After my tired feet began to tell me it was time to go home, we began the journey back. I left having purchased a low-profile chair to hunt from, a camouflaged duffle bag and two jars of honey. Oh yeah, they threw in a free hat with the chair. I also left with a thought. I remembered back when I was a child. You never ever saw a turkey in Trigg County. I remember hearing one once over in LBL, but that was it. Now, turkey hunting is thriving and it is a multi-million dollar business. Scratch that, it is probably a multi-billion dollar business. Amazing! Much of that success is owed to folks that support the NWTF and the sport of hunting. I can now proudly say that my wife and I are both members.
Oh by the way, when we got back home and rolled into my driveway on Hospital Street in the middle of town, guess what was in the woods right behind my house? There were eight deer walking by and three squirrels running up a tree. Now, that’s an omen. Let’s go hunting.
OT:Thanks to Robin Roberts. When I was just about to give up on finding a topic for this week, he gave me the idea of writing about my trip to the NWTF convention.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.