Loyd Stafford, Louisiana
Title: Louisiana NWTF state board member and state JAKES coordinator
Hometown: Angie, La.
Loyd Stafford poses with two fine Merriam's gobblers.
Family: "My family has been very supportive in helping me with the local and state events," Loyd said. Loyd has a wife, Nancy, a daughter, Sherry, and a son, Loyd, Jr. He also has two grandsons, Sam and Kyle.
NWTF: Loyd, how long have you been turkey hunting?
Loyd Stafford: I've been at it since 1958. Back then, if we saw any turkey sign at all, it was considered a successful season. Hearing a yelp or gobble was just an extra bonus!
NWTF: We've certainly come a long way. How long have you been an NWTF member, and how did you get involved as a volunteer?
LS: I've been an NWTF member for 19 years, and when the Southeast Louisiana Longbeards Chapter was formed, the late Chapter President Hollis (Pete) Stafford III asked me if I would take the position of JAKES chairman for a year. That one year has turned into 19 and counting.
NWTF: Why do you think it's so critical we get more of our children introduced to the outdoors?
LS: We've got to pass on our hunting heritage. I'm especially proud that our chapter has former JAKES who are now coming back as adults and helping with the events. They understand how important it is to keep our outdoor traditions alive.
NWTF: Loyd, what are some ways volunteers can ensure their JAKES event is a success?
LS: I believe in cutting classroom work to a minimum and having outside activities such as owl hooting, turkey calling, canoeing, archery, skeet shooting, BB gun shooting, fishing and any other activities you may want to put into the event. I also recommend having contests with most of the activities, especially owl hooting and turkey calling, in front of the entire group.
NWTF: What would you say to people who have thought about volunteering but haven't done so yet?
LS: They don't know what they are missing by not working with the youth. If someone told me 20 years ago that I would still be working with JAKES, I would have said they're nuts. But the experiences stay with you, and helping others discover the fun can be addictive. I now do five local events, a parade float, help with local scholarships and the JAKES state event.
NWTF: What's your best JAKES memory?
LS: There are so many to choose from, but I'd have to say my favorite memory involves kids and parents coming over to me after an event and hugging my neck and thanking me. Also, seeing grandparents and parents around town and having them come up to me and thank me for helping their kids and grandkids. I cherish all the memories from all the events.