7 reasons why I’m psyched about the upcoming Turkey Country issue

The next issue of Turkey Country should be in your mailbox soon, no doubt bundled with a tree’s worth of Christmas cards and catalogs from companies trying to squeeze just one more dime out of last-minute shoppers.

Here are a few of the gotta-see and must-read pages of the January-February 2012 issue, according to me at least.

1. THE COVER — The frosted tips of the turkey’s body feathers and beard will send shivers up your spine, but don’t overlook his wings worn flat from dragging and strutting. If that doesn’t get you warmed up for spring, then you must not have a bone to pick with a boss tom somewhere. Thanks, Guy Tillett, for snapping this shot — and for making me pine for turkey season even more.

What media outlet includes hand cuffs, video cameras and a lot of grass? The latest issue of Turkey Country, of course! And YOU thought I was talking about an episode of "Cops"...

2. PAGE 15 — The often-overlooked cyber sister to Turkey Country (www.turkeycountrymagazine.com) is full of exclusive features, quick access to many of the links in the magazine and an easy entrance for members to participate in Answer the Call, Snapshots and Ask Dr. Tom. We hope to pique your curiosity with this new page of teasers. This installment of the online version has stories on using turkey feathers in traditional archery to a roundup of outdoors-related apps for a smart phone, and a little coyote hunting and outdoor humor in between.

3. PAGE 21 — I simply love this photo by Senior Editor PJ Perea. It’s incredibly eye-catching and demonstrates there’s so much beauty in the smallest details of nature.

4. NWTF TRACK STARS — We feature Kevin Howard of Howard Communications, who was 2011’s NWTF Communicator of the Year.  I’ve worked with Kevin and his team and found all the nice stuff said about them in the article to be true. What I didn’t know, however, is that Kevin starts every workday with group prayer. That’s a leader who has his priorities in order.

5. 25 WAYS TO CURE CABIN FEVER — There’s a ton of fun stuff to do outside in winter, but it’s cool (check out the pun) to see so many of them gathered in a list. Makes me wish I could teleport myself to a snowy part of the country for a day of fun, then come home to sunny South Carolina and not have to worry about putting chains on my tires.

6. TURKEY CALLS — J.J. Reich tells us about a couple companies that make turkey calls out of submerged hardwoods like cypress. There’s only so much of this old, waterlogged wood around, and apparently it makes one heckuva turkey call. I just think they’re neat because it’s pieces of natural history, recycled.

7. POACHER-PROOF YOUR PROPERTY — When a poacher’s creeping in from your neighbor’s hood … who ya gonna call? Game wardens! (Bravo, if you just sang that to the tune of Ghostbusters.) In all seriousness, I really enjoyed this interview with Game Warden Roger Tate of Arkansas. He was honored at our national convention last year for putting the smack down on ne’er-do-wells who won’t play by the same rules as the rest of us. (He’s also apparently a nice guy who has a heart for outreach.) Tate gives landowners and hunt lease holders tips for keeping these bad apples from hugging your property line and what to do if you catch one in the act.

Hope you find a couple of silent nights to enjoy these pages and the rest of the magazine over the holidays.