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Become a Better Turkey Hunter with the Help of Mentors

Twenty-year-old Hunter Wallis of Greenfield Township, Pennsylvania, started hunting turkeys when he was 4 years old and won the 2018 Intermediate Division of the National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Calling Contest.  This was the last year for him to compete in the Intermediate Division. He won the Intermediate Division four times, and the Junior Division three times in the Grand Nationals. He also won the Senior Division of the U.S. Open, the World Junior Championship, the World Intermediate Championship, the Pennsylvania State Open in both the Junior and Intermediate Divisions, and the Open Pennsylvania Championship three times. 

Hunter Wallis | Mossy Oak ProStaff

Hunter Wallis and mentors

I'm currently in college majoring in business. This semester I'm taking some online classes, so school doesn’t interfere with my turkey hunting. I'm also only taking three classes which makes traveling as much as I do a lot easier. I have some really nice teachers who are very understanding about my work in the outdoors industry while I pursue a college education. So, when I have to go out of town, they work with me. I attend Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the northeastern corner of the state. I'm working toward the possibility of getting a job with Zink and Avian-X after college. However, if that doesn’t work out, I hope to find some type of job in the hunting industry, because that’s where I'm building my resume, and that’s why I'm going to college. 

I was 10 years old the first year I won the NWTF Grand National Calling Championship in the Junior Division, and I met Nate Hosie who lives about 10 minutes from my house. Nate and I have been friends ever since I was really young. He's always helped me with my turkey calling, and I've bagged a couple of gobblers with Nate. He got me to the point that I had a pretty good calling sequence. He gave me the confidence to go to the Grand Nationals where I finished in first place. I was walking around looking at all the exhibits at the convention, and I stopped at the Zink booth. Josh Grossenbacher was sitting in the Zink booth, and I started talking to him. We just seemed to bond right there at the Zink booth, and he started teaching me more about contest calling and about turkey hunting. Josh helped coach me on how to be more competitive and win turkey calling contests. 

I’m convinced that finding a good turkey calling and hunting mentor is one of the secrets for a young person to become good at both. I believe that you're only as good as the people you're around who help you become whatever you want to be. So, I was really fortunate to have my dad and other close friends like Nate and Josh take an interest in me and be willing to help coach me. I was lucky to be born into a turkey hunting family. For a young person who wants to become proficient as a turkey hunter and competitive in turkey calling, a good mentor is very important. 

The other ingredient that has helped me and I think can help any young person is the NWTF. First of all, without the NWTF working with state fish and wildlife conservation departments, we wouldn’t have as many turkeys to hunt as we do today. The NWTF supports all forms of hunting and tries and help grow hunter participation. Without the NWTF, I believe hunters would have a hard time finding a wild turkey to hunt. I try and preach to everyone I know to join the NWTF, because I believe in the organization that much.

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