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Saturday, July 20, 2013
Right about the time Jim Basham was getting involved in the National Wild Turkey Federation, the group's Roanoke chapter was entering a dormant stage.
Basham, an avid turkey hunter from Roanoke, eventually let his membership lapse, too.
But then he recently rejoined, and has since started working to restore the Roanoke chapter, once one of the state's largest and most successful at fund-raising.
Inspiration came from the city's neighbors.
"You see Botetourt County, Franklin County and the James River chapters doing a lot of things," said Basham, who manages the recreation program at Green Ridge Recreation Center in Roanoke County.
Basham has been working with NWTF regional director Billy Hall to get the chapter back off the ground. Along with a local committee of about a dozen volunteers, they're working to host Roanoke's first fund-raising banquet in several years.
The banquet will be Aug. 16, at the Valley View Holiday Inn.
Basham said he realizes that it's a new era for the NWTF, which started in Virginia but is now headquartered in Edgefield, S.C.
While once the organization was able to rally volunteers and donors to support the mission of restoring and rebuilding wild turkey populations, the mission has shifted somewhat as turkey populations have been established nationwide.
Basham said he sees hunter recruitment as a key role for the NWTF and its members.
"In my mind, the focus needs to be on, 'How do we recruit?'" said Basham, noting that the NWTF's JAKE's youth days are great examples of good recruiting tools. "There are a lot of kids who get off the school bus and jump in front of the Xbox or the Wii.
"They aren't getting the same kind of outdoor experience I got when I was a kid."
More information on the Roanoke Valley Longbeards banquet is available by calling Colter Ayers at 588-9819, or by visiting www.nwtf.org.
- Mark Taylor
Teen's grand slam won't make record book
Will Kilpatrick caught a blue marlin, a white marlin and a sailfish in the same day, but his accomplishment won't be approved by the International Game Fish Association for inclusion in its all-time list of billfish grand slams.
Kilpatrick's catch would have been the third official North Carolina billfish grand slam. Catches must adhere to IGFA rules to be recognized and Kilpatrick, who was making his first deep sea fishing trip, violated one of most basic requirements when he received assistance with his blue marlin catch.
A grand slam consists of catching three different species of billfish on the same day. The 13-year-old eighth grader at Apex Middle School caught a blue marlin that was estimated to weigh between 200 and 250 pounds, a white marlin estimated at 60 to 80 pounds and a sailfish that weighed an estimated 40-60 pounds. All of the fish were released.
"When the blue marlin hit, Will went to the fighting chair and the first mate handed him the rod. That is a violation of the IGFA rules," said Mike Kilpatrick, Will's father, who learned of the rule while filling out the record application forms. He confirmed the interpretation of the rules with IGFA rules administrator Jack Vitek on Tuesday.
"No one else can touch the rod, reel or line once the fish bites. We didn't know. They were just out fishing. We knew it was a grand slam, but we didn't know there were so many rules."
The IGFA rule is clear that the mate handing the rod to the Kilpatrick was a violation.
Kilpatrick was making his first deep sea fishing trip with George Powell of Virginia Beach. Not receiving the official recognition doesn't take away any of his joy, Will Kilpatrick said.
"Not one bit," he said. "I understand the rule now. He didn't have the rod but two seconds, but he set the hook. But it doesn't matter to me if it is a record or not."
-Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer
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