Turkey business

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Jere Peak developed a love of the outdoors at an early age, and he passed it down to his children.

He hopes there are many more people who feel the need to do the same.

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That ideal is part of what drives the National Wild Turkey Federation. Peak, 53, has been a turkey hunter for more than 35 years and serves as chairman of the federation’s national board of directors.

When the Selma chapter of the NWTF holds its annual banquet Friday, it will be continuing a 17-year tradition of celebrating and supporting the principles of “God, country, family and conservation.”

“Those are things that are very important to me,” Peak said. “One thing people can be proud of is that we give 56 percent of our net money back to the state of Alabama for projects specifically for the state. Those things are habitat enhancement, scholarship money, land acquirement, support for the department of conservation and hunter advocacy issues.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to enjoy the pleasure of being with my two boys and daughter as they killed their first turkeys, and I still enjoy the time we can spend in the woods together.”

The Selma Blaster Chapter of the NWTF has been recognized nationally for its support of the sport and for conservation efforts over the years. Peak praised the support of his fellow committee members and the community for the continued success.

The chapter name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to an annual award local turkey hunters give out. After getting together and telling their best stories, they single out the hunter who has made the biggest mistake or missed the biggest turkey during the past year.

Peak started the Blaster Chapter in 1990, 10 years after joining the NWTF, and was also its president. He was elected as chairman of the Alabama state board in 1997, elected to the national board of directors in 1999 and served as president from 2004-06. Since that time, he has been chairman of the board and was re-elected for a third year in February.

The local chapter of the NWTF will hold its annual banquet and meeting beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday at Lions Park on Dallas Avenue. A seafood buffet, a silent auction and a raffle will highlight the night. The event is one of the major fundraisers that support’s the organization’s efforts.

Tickets will be on sale at the door and will cost $55 for singles and $75 for couples. The cost covers membership and the night’s meal.

One of the things Peak is proud of is the way the sport has grown. He has even attended one of the annual hunts held by Gov. Bob Riley.

“He uses that hunt to recruit industry and show the many resources of the state,” Peak said. “Hunting is big business. There are $4 billion spent on hunting and hunting related activities every year.”