provided by John Phillips
Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, the vice president of Mossy Oak in West Point, Mississippi, has been fortunate enough to hunt turkeys with many famous and infamous people across the nation. Often, Cuz is the person who scouts, calls, and records during the hunt. Mossy Oak asked Cuz to tell us about some of his most memorable hunts ever.
Taking Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia turkey hunting was probably one of the biggest thrills of my life. Justice Scalia harvested a turkey sitting side-by-side with Toxey Haas, the creator of Mossy Oak, but of course we couldn’t film that hunt. We were just in awe of being able to hunt with Justice Scalia and hearing all the stories he had to tell. After the turkey hunt, we took him out in a johnboat, and he caught a good mess of fish.
One of the reasons that we couldn’t film Justice Scalia was because the security around him was very tight, and he didn’t want to be filmed. Of course, just the fact that he wanted to hunt with Toxey and me was enough for us. Sitting around camp and being able to talk to him about gun laws and the Constitution and being around a man of his character and stature meant so much more to me than any turkey that we might’ve taken.
Another memorable turkey hunt was with a fella named Steve Reevis, a Native American actor who appeared in the movie “Dances with Wolves” with Kevin Costner. We went turkey hunting in Texas, and he was extremely quiet. We filmed an episode for a TV show on this hunt. The scenery was picture-perfect. Those turkeys got out in front of us and started strutting. When they finally walked out of the shade, he shot one. When he walked up to the turkey, he kneeled down, petted the feathers, took some tobacco, dug a hole and buried it. When I asked Reevis what he enjoyed most about the turkey hunt, he answered, “The Dance,” and I finally understood that he was talking about the turkey’s strutting and spinning.
I may forget the details of taking those two gobblers, but I’ll never forget the experience of being with those two men. One of the reasons I like to be with other people, call turkeys for them and video record them is because of the amazing people I meet and the fascinating memories I make on those hunts.