James Earl Kennamer knows his way around the woods. For the past 52 years, he's been on the prowl for turkeys. In the hunting world, this Alabama native is known as a turkey hunting legend. He's the chief conservation officer for the National Wild Turkey Federation or NWTF.
Reporter Gina Bullard: What is it about turkey hunting you like?
James Earl Kennamer: It's a passion. Once you can sit here, see a turkey coming down full strut and making that sound... it's just something about it you can't describe until you experience it.
James Earl aims to bring awareness to the sport in Vermont, setting his sights on people who don't know much about turkey hunting, like me.
"You got a real untapped resource here. I am amazed at the number of turkeys in Vermont and the access you have to enjoy that hunting," Kennamer said.
"Turkey hunting is a fairly new phenomenon here," said Pat Barry of Vt. Fish and Wildlife.
That's because traditionally Vermonters hunt deer. But these birds are one of the state's greatest modern wildlife success stories. Turkeys were introduced in the southern part of the state in 1969 and now cover every corner.
"It's important for our economy. Some of the communities that could use the most help is where some of the best turkey hunting resources," Barry said.
Even with some of our best calling skills, we didn't catch a glimpse of the wild birds Friday. I guess that means I need some practice.
Gina Bullard: This is not for me. You have to be quiet, you can't move.
But this trip wasn't a total bust for James Earl. He called in a few turkeys Thursday, which he considers a success.
"To have someone like James Earl come and spend time hunting in our woods is a real honor," Barry said.
Turning people on to the sport of turkey hunting.
James Earl Kennamer: If you do it, you're going to get addicted to it and it's hard life because there's a lot of mornings at 4 o'clock.
Friday, March 7 2014 9:00 AM EST2014-03-07 14:00:02 GMT
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