Hometown: Bear River City, Utah; now resides in North Ogden, Utah.
Family: Jon is married to his wife, Marjorie, and has a daughter, Lesli, and a son, Matt. He also has two grandchildren— Mackenzie, 12, and Sophia, 3.
Notable Facts: Jon is the NWTF's Utah state chapter president and recently received the prestigious Roger Latham Award for his outstanding contributions to the NWTF's conservation legacy.
NWTF: Jon, tell us about how you got started in turkey hunting.
Jon Leonard: I started turkey hunting in 1979 while I was working in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson, Wyo. Having hunted big game, upland game and waterfowl all my life, spring turkey hunting seemed like a good way to enjoy hunting at the same time getting away from the cold and snow which lingers in Jackson Hole through April and often into May.
Equipped with a Lynch box call which came with an audio tape on turkey hunting, my hunting buddies and I drove all night while listening over and over to the tape. We finally arrived in the Black Hills at dawn; just in time to start hunting. Although I was unsuccessful in taking a turkey on that hunt, I enjoyed the experience so much I have been hooked on turkey hunting ever since!
NWTF: What's your favorite thing about turkey hunting?
JL: I really enjoy the opportunity to be in the great outdoors in the spring. Especially during the pre-dawn hours, when you can hear all the enchanting sounds emerging from the woods with the anticipation of eventually hearing the gobble of a big tom turkey. I also enjoy very much introducing others to the wonderful experience of spring turkey hunting, especially my son and grandchildren.
NWTF: That's great, Jon. Tell us about the goals you have in mind when you help set up an NWTF banquet.
JL: Plain and simple; I try to plan and run a banquet which has:
- a family-friendly atmosphere,
- fun activities for the attendees,
- and all guests leave with a good understanding of what the NWTF stands for and has accomplished.
NWTF: What was it like for you when you won the Roger Latham Award this year?
JL: Receiving the Roger Latham award in Nashville this year was totally unexpected. I still feel as though I am relatively new to the NWTF, (12 years or so) and I'm certain there are many who are more deserving than I. However, I feel honored to have been selected as a recipient of such a prestigious award!
NWTF: Was 2009 your first NWTF Convention?
JL: I have attended several National Conventions, but this year's Convention turned out to be quite special. We were able for the first time to send several folks from Utah, many of whom were experiencing their first National Convention.
We all had a great time, and especially liked the newer format which provided more time and opportunity to interact with Officers and Board Members as well as all the volunteers from other states.
NWTF: Why did you become an NWTF member?
JL:I have enjoyed hunting, fishing and working in the outdoors all my life. As a volunteer with the NWTF, I have a way to give something back for all that I've experienced and enjoyed so that future generations can hopefully have the same opportunities I've had.