Hometown: Nacogdoches, Texas
Hometown Chapter: April AWOL Chapter
NWTF Member Since: 2003
NWTF Involvement: President and banquet chairman of strong local chapter that grossed more than $100,000 at its 2012 Hunting Heritage Banquet. Also a member of the NWTF Texas State Board and heavily involved in JAKES and Wheelin' Sportsmen events.
NWTF: How did you get involved in the NWTF?
Craig White: A close friend, Dan Sestak asked me to join the local committee. I had never heard of the NWTF before, but I was willing to do anything to help him out and return a favor. I became treasurer at my first meeting, so I jumped in head-first
NWTF:There isn't an abundance of wild turkeys in your area, so what motivated you to become so involved in the NWTF?
CW: For that very reason - in East Texas it's often difficult to find turkeys. So let's raise some money and get turkeys here. It's more incentive for me without many turkeys here.
NWTF:Are you optimistic about the future of wild turkeys in East Texas?
CW:We're trying to revise our efforts so they'll pay off. About 2006, not too far away, turkeys were stocked on 3,000 acres of private property, and the family takes very good care of the land. The turkeys are doing wonderful - you sometimes see them from the road. They can survive here. They are managed carefully. We want them to have poults and grow up.
NWTF:What is your turkey hunting history?
CW:I grew up hunting deer and wild hogs. I've only been turkey hunting three times. I harvested my first turkey last year. I went with my father-in-law on a three-day hunt in Kennison, Texas. I got my bird on the first day. We left our brushblind on foot and the ranch foreman who guided us called in the Rio. It was double-beared with about 1-inch spurs. The experience was phenomenal.
NWTF:What is your most lasting impression from the state JAKES day your chapter hosts with the Piney Woods Chapter?
CW:The event has been really good for a long time, but this year with extra funds we were able to do more shooting. It was a big hit. The youth learned that guns aren't dangerous if handled properly. About 60 to 70 percent of the youth who came to the event had never handled a gun. We have a ways to go to protect our hunting heritage. I have a 4-year-old daughter who enjoys going out with me and a 1-year-old son. They're going to have fun hunting.
NWTF:Why are your banquets - you grossed more than $100,000 last year, netting about $46,000 - so successful?
CW:We're growing. We loaded up our banquet up with one of everything, including lots of hunts. We're in a brand-new Civic Center, which helps a lot. Our banquets are just like a big party. The people come out and have a good time.
NWTF:Describe your relationship with the long-estblished Piney Woods Chapter in nearby Lufkin?
CW:We do a lot of events together. We go to each others' banquets. We're friends, but we have a little bit of a rivarly. They've been together a lot longer. They've got a great group.
NWTF:How has your profession helped you organize NWTF events?
CW:I can't describe the amount of time it takes to run a banquet successfully. I'm a general contractor, and though you don't want to delegate, you have to. You want everything to be perfect, but you have to trust the people on your team.