Making new friends has always come easy to me. When I was a radio DJ, it seemed I made several acquaintances each day. You can meet new friends by just smiling and saying hello.
So is the case with my new friend, Bart Jones. I always go to Kroger to shop for my groceries, as I haven’t been in a Walmart in many years. I would find myself talking to Bart every trip. For years he has raised his family by working at Kroger, and I could tell there was something special about him. In time I would find out that Bart is a hunter, and more special, a turkey hunter.
Bart lives at Waco in Madison County with his wife Stephanie and their two children. A finer fellow I have yet to meet. Bart grew up hunting the usual — squirrels, and quail. He started deer hunting as a junior in high school and fell in love with God’s outdoors and the game that God put here for us to eat. Bart started turkey hunting in 1994, after his friend got him tuned into the gobble of an old long beard at sunrise.
Bart was and still is up for a challenge, so he thought that calling in a gobbler would be an ultimate challenge. He took his friend’s advice on what calls to use and drove Stephanie crazy with his practice. His second year he was able to coax in a jake for his first kill. The following year he killed his biggest, a long beard, that weighed in at almost 26 pounds with a double beard with spurs of over an inch.
Thinking he had turkey hunting figured out, Bart then went five straight years without killing another turkey. He earned his knowledge by watching as turkeys outsmarted him and taking the defeat in stride. He knows we can’t win every time, but like any good hunter he never gave up. Then he heard about wing bone turkey calls. They were first used by the Indians and thought he would put his skills to work and seeing if he could make one. His first call was made in 2003, and he has kept on making them for his friends.
He has yet to sell any, but took one to a world champion caller, Preston Pittman, and had him listen and to sign one for him. I hope the money won’t be far behind. Bart is looking forward to taking a Grand Slam, and even has hopes for a World Slam. That would be a dream come true.
Bart films hunts for his friends after he tags out. I am looking forward to years of friendship with Bart, and to us hunting together some. A newfound friend.