Hunters Harvest 32 Turkeys at NWTF Wheelin' Sportsman Event
NEW ELLENTON, S.C. – The 10th annual NWTF Wheelin' Sportsmen Ultimate Turkey Hunt at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C., once again lived up to its name. Twenty-eight hunters with disabilities and their guides, from as far away as Ontario and California, harvested 32 wild turkeys - 16 each day - during the morning event April 19 and 20 on the USDA Forest Service-managed property.
The NWTF and the Forest Service provided several guides and worked together to organize and put on the event.
Each hunting day was concluded with a lunch prepared by the Aiken Sertoma Club. All hunters were provided with a complimentary bag of hunting products.
"The volunteers and participants really make the SRS Ultimate Turkey Hunt the success it is every year," said NWTF Wheelin' Sportsmen national coordinator Randy Green. "Hearing stories and seeing the appreciation from everyone involved is second to none."
Friday's post-hunt activities included a performance by Mark Prudhomme, who won four Grand National Calling Championships at the 2013 NWTF Convention in Nashville, Tenn. The Saturday event concluded with a silent auction of outdoor products and a drawing for a Winchester 887 shotgun.
Each hunter was accompanied by a guide who had staked out their assigned hunting zones in the previous weeks to find the best hunting spots. Twenty-one hunters (75 percent) harvested at least one wild turkey.
The Forest Service allows no other wild turkey hunts on the land.
"Each and every hunt participant is always so thankful for everything the Forest Service and its many partners do," said Forest Service biological technician Tal Mims. "But for us here at the Savannah River Forest Service, we want to thank all the participants over the last 10 years for being part of something special. It is truly a blessing to be a part of an event that makes so many lasting memories for all of those involved."
Event superlatives included:
- Marion Brickey of Cleveland harvested the largest bird, a 19-pound, 8-ounce gobbler with a 9 1/2-inch beard and 1 3/4-inch spurs.
- Robert Hatler of Rineyville, Ky., harvested four birds, attaining the two-bird limit each day with the assistance of Forest Service guide Jared Vance.
- Wrilon Martin of Seneca, S.C., harvested three birds.
- Joel Bennett, Dale Cullum, Mike Fredrick, Milo Lucas, Roger Ramsey, Eddie Tapley, Tommy Wilson, Ed Olson and Mims were honored for serving as guides in all 10 NWTF SRS hunts.
Other Ultimate Turkey Hunt sponsors included: the NWTF Aiken County Chapter, Primos Hunting, Quaker Boy Game Calls, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Wackenhut Services, Global Extreme Mobility, Laissez Faire/Sotheby’s International Realty, Hooties Outdoors Inc., Savannah River Remediation and Aiken Gun Rack.