Hometown: Rison, Ark.
Home Chapter: Cleveland County Cutters and Strutters
Family: Wife Cindy, sons Austin (24) and Tyler (21)
Notable Fact: NWTF Arkansas State Chapter board member
NWTF: Terry, how did you get started with the NWTF?
Terry Thompson: I became involved with the NWTF in the 80s when the banquets were really getting started here. I had a lot of family members who were turkey hunters, and it just seemed natural to go.
NWTF: Why do you continue to support the NWTF?
TT: I have never met a more dedicated bunch of people all working for the same goals: conservation, education and preserving our hunting heritage and the wild turkey. The more I'm around this great bunch of volunteers, the more I want to get involved. This truly becomes a passion.
It's hard to believe but in 1982, I had never seen a wild turkey in Arkansas. My father-in-law had been a turkey hunter all his life and had only taken a few birds at the age of 60. I guess he is the one who got me interested in them. It was about then that the NWTF and the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission started working together to reestablish turkeys here.
By 1985 I had taken my first bird and I have been hooked every since. My oldest son was sitting with me on my 40th birthday when he took his first bird at the age of 13. My youngest son can write a book on the memories we share from past hunts.
NWTF: Tell us about your favorite turkey hunting memory, Terry.
TT: My favorite hunt was with my brother-in-law Dan Morrison about four years ago up in the Ozark Mountains. We were on a bird together around 11 a.m. one day. We worked him until 2:45 p.m. when I finally took the shot. The bird was never more than 65 yards from us in thick cover, but he knew how to play the game better than we did - almost. Dan and I were both exhausted, and I remember my arms shaking from holding them in place for so long. Dan came over to me and said he was glad I took the shot because one of us − the turkey or him — had to have some relief. We still laugh about it today.
NWTF: What NWTF programs do you feel are the most important?
TT: As an Arkansas state board member, I see where the money we are raising goes, and all projects are worthwhile causes. The work we are doing benefits not only the wild turkey, but also quail, deer, rabbit and woodpecker habitat and so much more.
NWTF: You dedicate a lot of time to the NWTF, why should other people volunteer with the NWTF?
TT: Although they may not be mentioned every day in local newspapers, NWTF chapters complete projects every day that help their communities and wildlife. I'm proud to be a small part of this organization. I urge folks to join a local chapter today. The rewards will be great — and the only limits of what they can do are the limits they put on themselves.
NWTF: What drives you to donate so much of your time to the NWTF?
TT: The NWTF focuses on much bigger issues that we all, as hunters, can identify with. Our hunting heritage is now being challenged — not just turkey hunting, but all hunting in general. There are so many groups trying to take away our right to hunt. I can't imagine growing up without this right and I don't want my children or grandchildren having to either. The NWTF is working hard to keep our hunting traditions alive.
NWTF: What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the NWTF?
TT: Be prepared to meet some of the most wonderful people in this country who have a passion for the NWTF that is unmatched by most other organizations. They care about their community, their families and their hunting heritage. These are the same people you see out there helping neighbors after a storm and even helping people they have never met before. A lot of them are veterans. They are unselfish, hard working volunteers that believe in a good cause and are proud of who they are and where they came from.