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Titles: NWTF Maine State Chapter President, Maine State Bowhunters Board Member, former Maine State Patrol Trooper, Homicide Detective and Firearms Instructor
Hometown: Machiasport, Maine. "I live right on the ocean and can see Canada from here!" Smith says.
Family: Brian and his wife, Joyce, have been married for 23 years. Brian hunts with his Dad and brothers regularly.
NWTF: Tell us a little about yourself, Brian.
Brian Smith: I grew up in Maine and was raised in an outdoor family. My Dad taught my brothers and I how to hunt and fish. My Dad is a School Superintendent and my brothers are Command Sergeant Majors in the Army and Air National Guard, respectively.
NWTF: How long have you been serving as Maine's State Chapter President, and how long have you been involved with the NWTF altogether?
BS: I first joined the NWTF 20 years ago, and I was elected state chapter president six months ago. I'm the founder and former President of the Downeast Longbeards NWTF Chapter in Washington County, Maine. We are the easternmost chapter in the United States.
NWTF: How long have you been turkey hunting, and how did you get started in it?
BS: I started turkey hunting in 1986 during Maine's first season, but I didn't see, hear or shoot a tom until the following spring in upstate New York. Niles Oesterle of Eight Hoot Hunting Calls called in my first tom, and I've been hooked ever since!
My other buddy, Darrell Richards, convinced me try turkey hunting with him the year I got married, so my wife has never known anything else! I have been fortunate to bag gobblers in New York, Florida and all of the New England states.
NWTF: What are some of the things that Maine's state chapter is doing for wildlife conservation and protecting our hunting heritage? What type of goals does the chapter have as far as outreach programs, membership numbers, etc.?
BS: Maine has 11 chapters, stretching the entire length of the state with a great group of volunteers in each.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the following people for being instrumental in getting the NWTF started in Maine and continuing to help newer members: Jim Wescott, Steve Brooks, Bud Doughty, and also Mac McKenna and Dave Lucas, who are hunting turkeys in heaven.
Bruce White, Brian and Julie Johnston and Jim Plourde are the new leaders and have all been instrumental in turkey relocation, education and promoting our hunting heritage.
The Maine chapters help with trap and transfer, host JAKES and WITO field days, plant food crops, testify on turkey bills and work with the Maine Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to educate both hunters and non-hunters about the wild turkey.
We're working with foresters and landowners to improve habitat and as the Northern and Eastern parts of the state get relocated turkeys, we hope to be able to hunt gobblers statewide within a few years.
Regional Director Tom Nannery and Regional Biologist Doug Little have been instrumental in supporting our efforts and representing the NWTF admirably. We hope to recruit more members as more hunting opportunities become available.
NWTF: That's great to hear, Brian. What's a common misconception about Maine or its residents that you want to clarify?
BS: Some people might think of Maine as one of the liberal New England states, but we have a long tradition of hunting and fishing and one of the highest success rates for spring gobbler hunting.
We also have the best black bear and moose hunting in the lower 48. Native Mainers are hard-working, God-fearing and generous. Most of our land is still open to hunting and we have one of the best hunter safety track records in the country.
NWTF: What's your best turkey hunting memory?
BS: My best memory involves any of the hunts that I've been on where I introduced someone new to turkey hunting and called in their first gobbler for them.
I have done that for my Dad, two uncles and several friends. Hunts with kids and successful bowhunts are memorable as well.
NWTF: Do you have an embarrassing turkey hunting memory that you can share with us?
BS: Eleven years ago, I was guiding my friend Steve Pineo on his first turkey hunt in upstate New York. The birds gobbled on the roost and then shut up when they hit the ground.
After some time, I thought the hunt was over and went out to pick up the decoys. At that moment a jake pitched out of tree and glided over my head as I was bending over to grab a decoy! I figured I just ruined the hunt, so I picked up the decoys and walked back to Steve at the oak tree.
Steve, who had never seen a tom in the wild, asked, "Are those turkeys coming out of the woods?" I looked down the field and saw three leery toms looking our way. I called to them and told Steve to get ready as they slowly worked toward us. They were going pass us by at 40 yards, so we did the old , "One, two, three — BANG!" I dropped a 20-pounder while Steve's tipped the scales at 22 pounds! God blessed this inept guide that morning!
NWTF: Brian, how easy is it for people to get started volunteering with the NWTF?
BS: With chapters in every state and a half dozen provinces, and NWTF.org available worldwide, helping out the NWTF is only a phone call or mouse click away!
NWTF: What are people missing out on by not joining the NWTF? Why should they join?
BS: The NWTF is the reason that we have so many turkeys to hunt and its the foremost steward of our hunting traditions. The work of the NWTF volunteers is exemplary and heartfelt, with conservation and education at the forefront.
We lead by example and show the non-hunting public how a premier conservation/hunting organization should be; unlike the anti-hunting groups that do nothing to help wildlife or improve habitat.
Join our team and be enriched!