The love of turkey hunting and the desire to make it better drives Nathan Pilgreen and Peyton McKinnie to be active in the Union Long Spurs, the local affiliate of the National Turkey Federation.

The Long Spurs don’t just meet once a year and tell stories, raise a few dollars and eat a big meal: They raise money for turkey habitat, honor deserving hunters and work to get youngsters involved in hunting so they have fun and learn to respect the outdoors.

It doesn’t take long to recognize that this is one group that walks the talk. When this group sees a need, they are spurred into action.

Union Long Spurs raises about $30,000 a year from their banquet and applying for grants. They plant food plots on Union Wildlife Management Area and take part in prescribed burns to improve turkey habitat.

An area that is burned gives turkeys a safer, more-open area to nest and survive, while encouraging the growth of native grasses that offer food.

One of their most-important activities is hosting annual youth hunts for turkey and for deer.

“These kids are the future of the sport,” Pilgreen said. 

He knows first hand.

His son, Avery, has been turkey hunting with him since he could get in the woods. Today, at 12 years old, he’s an accomplished caller and hunter.

One unusual thing that the Union Long Spurs does is get kids from 10 or more area hunting clubs together for youth hunts.

With social media the way it is, they then become friends and stay in touch, even though they live in different towns and go to different schools.

You can learn more about the Union Long Spurs at: www.facebook.com/pages/Union-Long-Spurs-Chapter-of-NWTF/124442987576444?_rdr.