Amidst the endless echo of yelping hens and constant gobbles, it’s easy to find yourself daydreaming of that next longbeard racing to meet his fate at the hands of an all too realistic flock of Dave Smith Decoys. And while it’s not quite as fun as sitting in a blind, the annual NWTF Convention comes close. As I race northbound ahead of winter storm Octavia, I find myself thinking of warmer times to come, but also I reflect on the great memories made at the convention this year.
For those of you who have attended the convention before, you know this isn’t just another hunting show. Of course, many of the similarities exist. Retailers setting up booths, selling goods, showing off new products for the year, but there are many things that set the NWTF Convention apart from other sporting shows. For starters, it has found a home at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. That alone makes this convention exciting and worth your while. Filled with beautiful atriums, a quarter-mile long river system, numerous waterfalls, and many more exotic features, the Gaylord is second to none when it comes to luxury hotels.
With so much fun and excitement packed into one weekend, it’s hard to pick a place to start. But for me, my favorite part of the convention is meeting and talking with some of the greatest turkey hunters to walk the earth. While browsing through the Primos booth at the show this year, I was greeted by a gentleman asking how I was doing. I was not completely surprised, but still taken aback to look up and see Will Primos standing before me. It’s not often you get to see, let alone pick the brain of a hunting legend, so lets just say I wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass. Not only did we get a chance to talk turkey, but when I asked a question regarding my double bull blind, Will was quick to introduce me to the Primos Product Manager who oversees Double Bull. Talk about customer service! When was the last time you talked to the president of Apple in order to get assistance with your iPod?
So, this one encounter is cool to be sure, but it does not exactly explain in detail why the NWTF Convention is so awesome. And yet at the same time, you can begin to paint a picture of what makes the convention such an attraction. Occurrences like the one I laid out above happen frequently, and if you’d like to talk to your favorite hunting celebrity, you likely won’t have to try too hard to make it happen. But what about the guys and gals who aren’t so celebrity like in nature, well they are in attendance too. One group of individuals you will find in no small shortage are the many representatives from state wildlife offices. Over the years we have made it a habit to stop by the Nebraska DNR booth to gather info for our annual pilgrimage to Nebraska for Merriam’s. Talk about good people to network with!
Ready to make the trip to Nashville next February yet? Honestly, I could spend hours and hours of my time writing about the great experiences I’ve had at the convention, but really, it is just something you have to experience for yourself. Between the calling competitions, seminars, and numerous other events hosted each year, the NWTF Convention simply provides one of the best experiences you can imagine if you are anything close to a turkey hunting enthusiast.
Last but certainly not least, the convention provides an awesome opportunity to join the NWTF. At $35 dollars, you can get your annual membership and free admission to the convention. And for the past few years, members have also received a $25 dollar gift card to Bass Pro Shops. If you ask me, that is a pretty good bargain and one I am all but certain to make for years to come. I highly suggest you take the opportunity to experience the annual NWTF Convention, but even if it’s not in the chips, I would encourage you to join the NWTF. You’ll search hard and long before you find a more dedicated organization to such a worthy cause.
For more information on the NWTF or the NWTF Convention, be sure to visit them at nwtf.org.