NWTF: How long have you been a member of the NWTF?
Brad Criner: I became a member around 2005. That was the first year that my county in Illinois issued turkey permits. Growing up in the southern part of the state, you never saw turkeys. The NWTF worked to restore the turkey populations in the state and as the birds spread, they finally made it to the county where I lived. I have always been an avid outdoorsman. I hunted deer, quail and upland birds, and when turkey seasons came, I was very excited to jump into that sport as well.
NWTF: Was there a chapter around before the season was renewed in your area?
BC: There may have been a chapter, but it is like anything else in a small town. Once something new starts up, it takes some time for the word to get out. Even after joining, it wasn’t until 2009 that I became really involved with the chapter. I was working at Winchester and someone asked me to be a part of the banquet committee. I have been involved with that committee ever since.
NWTF: What other ways are you involved with the NWTF?
BC: The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is something that is exciting to me. Getting new people out into the field is important to the sport of hunting. I have also learned a great deal about the conservation side of things from working with one of the NWTF biologists. Some of what I learned has been applied to my own property as an additional way of cultivating wildlife.
NWTF: What is your title with Winchester and what do you do?
BC: I am a senior product manager in marketing, managing the shot-shell and rim-fire product lines. I also manage our product service department. We are very proud of the new Long Beard XR turkey loads with Shot-Lok Technology. This is an awesome new product and will take turkey hunting to the next level!
NWTF: What is your favorite part about attending the NWTF convention and sport show?
BC: The first time that I attended the NWTF National Convention and Sports Show was in 2007. We always have a booth at the convention so we can meet with customers. I also attended the Winchester Veteran’s Breakfast that year. Hands down, the best part of attending the convention is meeting and talking with the customers, hearing their stories and getting their feedback on the products. This past year Long Beard XR was definitely the focal point and it went over phenomenally.