Thursday, March 25, 2010

Swinging Beards and Swinging Clubs

Spring has definitely arrived. Turkeys are gobbling and golfers are talking about the Masters. Sure Tiger Woods stating that he will be competing this year after his latest issue with his wife, has been one of the main topics, but the fact is…it’s the Masters…with or without him.

And did you know that the National Wild Turkey Federation’s headquarters is located only 30 minutes from the Augusta National Golf Club?

If you happen to be in the area for the tournament or traveling through while heading to a hunt camp, I strongly recommend stopping by and visiting the Winchester Museum, located inside of the NWTF’s facilities.

The Winchester Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the restoration, management and hunting of the wild turkey.

The Museum features interactive exhibits, such as the world's largest turkey call, which visitors can actually step into and learn how to operate different types of wild turkey calls. Other exhibits include a retired USDA Forest Service helicopter, a wildlife oddities display and many other unique attractions.

While on a recent turkey hunt we took a couple of outdoor writers on a tour and as we

turned the corner, an animated, life-like, old-time storyteller sitting in his rocking chair on the front porch of his cabin began telling stories about the history of the NWTF, turkey hunting and conservation.

It was discussed among our group to grab “grandpa” and bring him on our hunt for entertainment.

The Winchester Museum is truly a phenomenal place to visit. It also provides a section that showcases a variety of historic turkey calls donated by master turkey call makers Neil Cost and M.L. Lynch, as well as many other award winning call makers. Through these exhibits, visitors can easily view the evolution of turkey calls spanning more than a century.

And before you exit, you have to go and sit in The Dave Harrelson Memorial Theater. Once inside, you’ll find yourself deep in a spring forest at the break of dawn, mixing the sounds of nature with early morning calls of wild turkeys flying down from their roosts.

After visiting the Winchester Museum, you’ll be pumped up to go hunt a few longbeards. And be sure to use Winchester’s Xtended Range shells when turning those birds into jellyheads!

Museum images are courtesy of the NWTF. Gobbling turkey image is provided by Stephen Bauer/NWTF.

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