“I honestly got a lump in my throat when Washington State Chapter President Russ McDonald told me [I was Mentor of the Year],” Mann said. “While I don't mentor for recognition, there is something special in recognition from peers. For me, there is a team of others who make what I do possible: My wife, Liliane, who puts up with my obsession with these birds; my hunting partners of 33 years, with whom I've shared lessons learned in the field; great landowners who trust me and generously share their property; and the mentees (and parents) who put their trust in a complete stranger.
“There is nothing like the look on the face of a new hunter as the roost wakes at daylight, a bird lands 10 feet away, or that gobbler answers a call. I know they are hooked! The harvest, if and when it happens, is icing on the cake. Mentoring, when possible, should be an ongoing process, with the goal of passing on knowledge and skills so a student can go it alone.”
Mann accepted the Mentor of the Year Award during the NWTF’s 50th anniversary celebration at its 47th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.
Mann, an NWTF member for 30 years, has been instrumental in the development and sustainment of hunter recruitment and mentoring in Washington, helping set up and orchestrate the first Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife/NWTF turkey mentoring camps in 2015, which continue to this day.
The state chapter relies on him for all aspects of classroom presentations on hunting. Mann’s background in wildlife enforcement and biology enables him to explain hunting, wildlife behaviors and conservation in an easily understood, but comprehensive way.
His experience in the field and excitement about turkey hunting translates to the mentee/students and builds their excitement for the hunt. The people he mentors leave with confidence that they can go out and attempt to turkey hunt on their own, and more often than not, previous mentees follow up the following spring to talk about their first solo hunt.
Additionally, Mann has held several positions within the NWTF Washington State Chapter, including treasurer, Save the Hunt coordinator and vice president.
“We praise Rich’s enthusiasm for turkey hunting and his desire to share it with others, not for recognition but out of genuine passion,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “His talent and dedication is incredible and we are proud to recognize Rich with the prestigious Mentor of the Year Award.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.
2023 is the NWTF's 50th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization's mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50-year celebration, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the NWTF's people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.