The sounds of spring have finally arrived. There is no better sound this time of year than the distinct and melodious notes of the wild turkey. It calls and hunters come. Like every other turkey hunter in Missouri, the start of spring turkey season is by far my favorite time of year.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining 52,000 other impassioned turkey hunters in the annual pilgrimage to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) annual convention in Nashville. The joy of the convention is the chance for fellowship with kindred spirits, those that choose to rise early and watch the sun come up in the woods with the hope of hearing the magical gobble of a wild turkey. The meeting is also an incredible opportunity to talk all day about turkeys — turkey habitat, hunting stories, state population numbers, regulations, hunting gear and gadgets, and your favorite turkey call. It is a turkey hunter’s dream destination.
While I was there, I also had the chance to talk one evening with a volunteer from Missouri. His dedication to NWTF reflected a deeper commitment to his community as a Boy Scout leader and active volunteer in other conservation organizations. As we were talking about the remarkable efforts of both state wildlife agencies and key partners in bringing back healthy and sustainable wild turkey populations, including how this could not have been done without dedicated volunteers, he used an analogy of a piano keyboard with its 88 keys. He said while beautiful music can be played using only some of the keys, the more keys you use, the more music you make.
I love the sound of this analogy, especially when I think about NWTF and their volunteers in all 50 states, and how these efforts are only accomplished by playing more keys on the keyboard. It’s true for the rest of the conservation community, too. We each have a valuable role to play.
No one organization, or individual, or entity can play all the keys by themselves, but when we come together with a common conservation goal, what beautiful music we can make. What big things we can accomplish. What great success stories we can build upon.
So, happy spring, valuable partners!
To my fellow turkey hunters, have a safe and adventure-filled hunt.
To the rest, I hope to see you afield doing whatever outdoor activities make music for you.
—Sara Parker Pauley, director
How are conservation areas important to you and what improvements would you like to see? The Missouri Department of Conservation is updating management plans for more than 1,000 conservation areas all around the state and invites the public to comment on areas important to them. To view area management plans and share comments online, visit mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler