Hometown: Moncks Corner, S.C.
Hometown Chapter: Swamp Fox Chapter
NWTF Member Since: 1984
NWTF Involvement: Co-founder Swamp Fox Chapter; hosts annual Women in the Outdoors and JAKES events as well as first-time turkey hunters on his more than 12,000 well-managed acres; winner of NWTF C.B. McLeod Award.
NWTF: How did you get involved in the NWTF?
Bobby Mead: Back in the 1970s, I thought I was the only one in South Carolina who hunted wild turkeys. When I found out how much the NWTF needed help with trapping turkeys and moving them and other things, I wanted to contribute. I helped form the Swamp Fox Chapter, which is in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester (metro Charleston)counties.
NWTF: Why are you so heavily involved with NWTF outreach programs and providing hunting opportunities for other first-time hunters? BM: I have always been into hunting, wildlife conservation and preserving our hunting heritage. I like to take people hunting and see them experience harvesting their first turkey. Once you do that, they're hooked. I've had some people turn into fanatics after their first hunt, buying every call they see and listening to every tape.
NWTF: Just how much do you love turkey hunting? BM: About a month before the season, I get up early every morning to scout so I know where the birds are. I love to hear them gobble and listen to them on the roost. I hunt deer and ducks, but I just hunt them to get to turkey season.
NWTF: What is the relationship between your work as a forester selling timber and your role as a hunter and conservationist? BM: We do a lot. Everything we do for forestry helps wildlife. We plant Chufa and other crops. We try to keep the wildlife fed.
NWTF: The properties you own or control are known for having an abundance of wildlife. What are some of your secrets? BM: We have food plots in every area. We only take longbeards. As long as you take the longbeards, you are not hurting the turkey population. If you leave them alone when they're young, they grow up to be big birds.
NWTF: You are even more particular yourself when turkey hunting, aren't you? BM: I take five birds a year. I wait until the last few days to get the last two. I like to get the birds that are hard to get and seem to know how to avoid you. I've spent a lot of time just trying to get one particular bird. I like to get those type of birds so they can't train the jakes.
NWTF: Could you describe the experience of putting on your chapter's first Hunting Heritage Banquet? BM: I was talking to some people trapping turkeys and moving them for the DNR. The NWTF needed help so we decided to put on a banquet. There were no core packages. We worked hard going out and finding products.
NWTF: How much growth have you seen in your chapter in the last three decades? BM: We had 80 people at our first banquet, now we have around 1,000 and we've had to move it. Now, there are a lot of turkey hunters around here.