Hank D'Auria, New York
Hometown: Livingston Manor, N.Y
Home Chapter: Sullivan County Longbeards, Willowemoc, N.Y.
Family: Wife Frances is the secretary of the Sullivan County Longbeards. Hank said, "Without Frances, we wouldn't do as well as we're doing. She does a lot of grant writing and public relations for our chapter."
NWTF Member since: 2002
NWTF: Tell us a little about your involvement with the Sullivan County Longbeards.
Hank D'Auria: I am the treasurer, the event chairman and the banquet chairman for the Sullivan County Longbeards. I am also on the New York State Chapter's Board of Directors. Last year, I was voted Outstanding Member of the Year for New York.
Our chapter received an award at last year's National Convention and Sport Show for the Best First Time Wheelin' Sportsmen Event. We were voted Outstanding Chapter of the Year in 2007 and 2008. In 2005, 2007 and 2008 we won an award for signing up the most JAKES members in New York State. Last year, we broke the record for the most new members in one year in New York State. Our chapter accomplishes a lot because everyone's on the same page and willing to extend themselves.
NWTF: What would you say contributes to the success of getting new members for your chapter?
HD: We're at every local community event we can attend with a booth, promoting our events and asking for donations to help fund our events.
NWTF: How did you get started turkey hunting?
HD: I had always been a hunter, but a few people told me turkey hunting was fun and that I should try it. The first day I was out there, I got a turkey and I was hooked. I said, "This is not hard." Until later on, and then it got harder. But it got me hooked. And now that I'm retired, I hunt every day of the season.
I'll stretch my tags out to last the whole season. After the first bird, I try not to shoot another bird until the end of the season so I can hunt the whole season. Sometimes I don't get a second bird, but that's OK because I was out in the woods.
NWTF: What are some of the things your chapter is doing for wildlife conservation?
HD: We purchase corn through the conservation seed program for the community, and we plant apple trees through the NWTF's Operation Appleseed program. This year, we put out 250 bluebird and bat houses. Our chapter also won an environmental impact award from the Sullivan County legislators.
NWTF: How easy is it for people to get started volunteering with the NWTF?
HD: It's as easy as coming to one of the chapters' meetings. Our chapter even gives coffee and doughnuts to people just for coming. We always need new members and new ideas. It's easy − you just have to be willing to volunteer.
Note: To volunteer, select your state from the "NWTF In Your State" drop-down menu on the NWTF's Web site and then click on "NWTF Field Staff" to contact an NWTF Field Staff member in your area.
NWTF: Why should someone join the NWTF?
HD: If you're a turkey hunter, you should belong to the NWTF because of the amount of money the NWTF spends on conservation, land acquisitions, legislation and the rights to hunt and bear arms. We're only strong in numbers.