Dale helped charter the local Piney Woods Chapter in 1987.
Hometown: Mansfield, La.
Home Chapter: Piney Woods Chapter, Lufkin, Texas
Family: Dale and his wife, Kitty, have six children: Laura, 43, Lynn, 39, Lara, 37, Matt, 37, Leah, 36, Allen, 35, and nine grandchildren.
Notable Fact: Dale's dedication to the wild turkey have earned him the NWTF's Roger Latham Award in 2001 and the U.S. Forest Service Making Tracks Award in 2008.
NWTF: Tell us a little bit about your involvement with the Piney Woods Chapter.
Dale Bounds: I'm currently the Piney Woods Chapter President and a Texas State NWTF Board Member and JAKES Coordinator. I also served eight years as NWTF's Texas State Chapter President.
NWTF: How long have you been turkey hunting, and what's your favorite part about it?
DB: I've been turkey hunting for 25 years, and have considered myself a wild turkey freak for 15 years. The anticipation of closing the deal while hunting a gobbler is about all I can stand!
NWTF: How did you get started in hunting, and what makes turkey hunting different than other types of hunting?
DB: I started squirrel hunting with my dad and our dog, Snowball. He was a mixed-breed dog and was the best squirrel dog I have ever seen. I was seven years old at the time and I have been hooked on hunting ever since— hunting ducks, woodcock, deer, rabbits, etc. If you could eat it, we hunted it in Louisiana!
We didn't have wild turkeys in central Louisiana until about 1980. I never had the opportunity until much later to hunt the wild turkey. I have filmed all five subspecies of the wild turkey, which is as much fun as hunting them. The cool thing is that I got paid to do it. What the U.S. Forestry Service and NWTF didn't know is that I probably would have paid THEM to do it!
I like being out there in the spring, seeing God open His spring splendors to our waiting eyes and hearts. That makes it different than other types of hunting to me. Hunting in the spring is like a renewal of the spirit.
NWTF: What does your chapter do at your banquet to make sure people have a good time and keep coming back?
DB: Good food is a must, and we also have a lot of guns and hunts to raffle and auction off. This year will be our 21st banquet.
NWTF: Is your chapter heavily involved in outreach?
DB: Oh yeah, big time. This year we're sponsoring our 7th Wheelin' Sportsmen Bream Buster fishing event, our 10th Texas State JAKES event, our 8th Piney Woods WITO event, and we've participated in Turkey Hunters Care each year since its inception, contributing $1,000 per year, including $500 to purchase turkeys for Hurricane Ike victims in southeast Texas.
NWTF: What do you think this year's turkey season is going to be like for you?
DB: This season should be good. At my age, they're ALL good! I will hunt Louisiana and Texas. Last year I had knee problems during turkey season. It ended my season and resulted in knee surgery. But this year I'm back at 100 percent and I can't wait until the end of March, when the season opens in Louisiana!
NWTF: What originally made you want to join the NWTF?
DB: In 1987, while I was working for the U.S. Forest Service, I video taped the first Eastern wild turkeys being released on the Davy Crockett National Forest in Texas. That was my first exposure to the NWTF. Dr. James Earl Kennamer brought the Eastern wild turkeys from South Carolina via Delta Airlines to east Texas. After that experience, I was hooked. We returned that day to Lufkin and chartered the Piney Woods local NWTF chapter, and it's still going full speed ahead! For me, it's all about preserving our hunting heritage.
NWTF: Anything else you want to mention about the NWTF?
DB: I have seen with my own eyes the return of the Eastern wild turkey to east Texas. Because of the NWTF, I have been a part of this conservation success story. I can now hunt the Eastern wild turkey in Angelina County; my home county. To the Texas Parts and Wildlife Department, the U.S. Forest Service and the NWTF, I say THANK YOU for giving me that opportunity!