Hometown: Prattsburgh, N.Y.
Hometown Chapter: Finger Lakes Bucks & Beards
NWTF Member Since: 2005
NWTF Involvement: Co-founder and president, Finger Lakes Bucks & Beards; founded NWTF Pemi-Baker Chapter in New Hampshire; years of involvement in JAKES and youth archery.
NWTF: Why did you get involved in the NWTF?
Steve Calderwood: I've hunted and fished my whole life. Around here, this is a great organization to get youth involved in the outdoors instead of getting into trouble. It's also a way for hunters to give back to wildlife through conservation.
NWTF: How has your hunting and archery pro shop, Edge of Times Trading Post, has helped increase the number of turkey hunters in the Finger Lakes area? SC: When we moved here and opened our business a few years ago, turkey hunting wasn't a really big draw. Everybody told us they hunted white tails and we were turkey hunting everything. We wanted to get back into the NWTF. I think our store helped grow turkey hunting. Our chapter is getting ready to start our third year and we're already the No. 1 banquet in the state. The economy has been tough here, but people start saving their money in the fall for our spring banquet.
NWTF: How has your wife, Debbie, been a partner in your participation in the NWTF? SC: She had never hunted before we met. Now, she's an avid hunter. We both have royal slams. She does the majority of the paperwork for our chapter and all the registration stuff with one other woman. She goes to two schools and teaches a multi-day Turkey Education Box program for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. She brings turkey feathers and other things the kids can touch.
NWTF: The first chapter you founded, the Pemi-Baker Chapter in New Hampshire, remains vibrant. Why did you start that chapter? SC: Turkey hunting was new and exciting. They had just gotten turkeys. For a few years, we traveled to banquets and helped out. Our area didn't have a chapter. It worked out. We always sold out our banquet and made money. It gave people a chance to get out and have some fun.
NWTF: Why do you prefer bow hunting to shotguns and rifles? SC: The season is extended and it's usually warmer. You get a lot closer to the animals. You see them better and smell the scent. You're just more involved in the total experience. Bow hunting is about all I do now. If you hunt in a blind, and it's set up right in a good spot, it might be easier than hunting with a shotgun.
NWTF: Could you describe your participation in JAKES and other outreach events and your motivation for helping them? SC: Kids often decide what they like to do at an early age. Our business and our chapter made donations to get a NASP chapter started in our area. We've helped at one chapter with turkey calls. We're going to work in a combination JAKES event with a rod and gun club. Shooting and hunting are opportunities for kids who aren't involved in traditional sports. Shooting sports participation is growing for women. For many women, they branch out into hunting.