his most memorable hunting experiences. He had caught turkey fever, which he carried for the rest of his career. When he transferred from Baldwin to the U.P. he was instrumental in bringing the Wild Turkey there.
He said that he could no longer remember the names of the two hunters that were so gracious to take him turkey hunting. I told him that it had to be Jay Drilling and Bruce Wiley. He said that yes, it was those two, but couldn’t figure out how I knew. These two were some of the early turkey hunters who had figured out the new art of turkey calling. They taught many of today’s experts and pros the skills of turkey hunting.
I received a letter dated this past May 30, 2008. Enclosed was a check for MWTHA membership sent by Arnold Smith, 71, of Evart (just a kid). Arnold had attended the Turkey Hunters’ Rendezvous and being a brand new hunter, he attended Jim Skipper’s class. He struck up a conversation with Jim. Jim told him to try to call up a gobbler on his own, and if successful, Jim would hunt with him.
Try as he may, Arnold couldn’t outfox a gobbler, so he called Jim. Jim met Arnold and on May 29, Jim called up a three year old gobbler with a nine inch beard that Arnold was able to kill. Jim had told him that there was one stipulation – and that was he would have to join MWTHA.
Those of us who have killed gobblers know the thrill of harvesting the first gobbler. We never forget the experience. Arnold will never forget his either.