The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 20, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: The Old Boss gobbler has sung

For the Star Beacon

— Well, that’s it, folks the old boss gobbler has sung. Spring turkey season 2013 is over. I hope many of you had a successful season and harvested a bird.

 It may not have been the boss gobbler of the woods but as I always say everybody has their vision of a trophy and as long as you’re happy with your harvest that’s all that counts.


Now what?

So now what? I could do a follow up column on mounting your beard and fantail. No, I think I’ve done that already, maybe next year just as a reminder.

I could tell you about my escapades this past spring; no I’m not one to do that. But just to give you a couple of high points, I did get the chance to hunt with our District 99 State Representative, John Patterson, on his first ever turkey excursion, he was an observer by the way. Also I did get to accompany my favorite youth, Mike Keenan Jr., into the woods and have it filmed by Wild Ohio TV. Those are just a couple of high points for me this past spring. Now if they would have been successful hunts you know I would have put something about them in my column but that’s why they call it huntin’ not gettin’.

I could remind you of the upcoming ACWCL Spring Banquet, talk a little fishin’ and show you the last of the photos I received, yep sounds like a plan.


ACWCL reminder

This year ACWCL Spring Banquet is going to held on June 1, 2013 at the Lenox Community Center just outside of Jefferson. Our “new Location,” the Lenox Community Center located at 2509 Lenox New Lyme Road, Jefferson. We’re only selling 200 tickets, so you might want to make that call to get tickets as soon as possible.

Dinner Tickets are just $20 per person and the dinner ticket includes a chance on a Buckhorn CVA .50 caliber muzzleloader. The doors will open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6.

Guns & goodies

There will be several more guns on raffle compared to last year including a Tarus Judge .45 / .410 as well as a .22LR Semi Auto Tactical Rifle. Silent Auction items will include a Digital Scouting Camera, a Turkey Deep Fryer, Fishing packages, a hunting tree stand, possibly a hunting blind and several other exciting items and a bunch of door prizes.

It all stays here

The most important thing about this banquet is that all of the monies generated from it stay right here in Ashtabula County! We don’t split it with some big name organization or promote it with their letterhead. It’s the “Ashtabula County Wildlife Conservation League Banquet,” plain and simple.

We promote it, we pay for all the expenses and we reap all the rewards, which as I said stay right here in Ashtabula County!

Support the cause

Now if you want to be counted as one of the 200 people who supported us in our endeavor here’s the names of some contacts in and around the county for you to get a hold of and get your self and your friends a ticket to the ball!

Ticket sellers

For more info and tickets, call me at 466-2223, President; Tim Starkey, treasurer: 224-0324, Don Powell, Amboy Rifle Club: 474-9312, Scott Sutch, Amboy Rifle Club: 228-8086, Don Hancock, Monroe Sportsmen’s Club: 352-6404, Paul Callendar, Ashtabula Rod & Gun Club: 466-1023, Charlie Platts, Conneaut Fish & Game Club: 224-5044, Dave Baird ,Jefferson Conservation Club: 812-5837, Don Spence, Monroe Sportsmen’s Club: 265-6068, Keith Vicars, ORCO: 286-4358, Jennifer Bassett, Orwell Gun Club: 272-5583, Bill Claycomb, Rock Creek Conservation Club: 563-5741.

Don’t wait, folks, make that call, get your tickets, help us so we can help and represent you.

Nate’s special bird

Rather than me tell this story and the special meaning behind it, I’m just going to use the short account of what my good friend Nate Paskey sent to me and let you construe what this means to a tried and true turkey hunter.

No. 2 for 2013

“Dale, here is the second turkey of the season. A very special bird for me... this was my 30th turkey with a bow and it didn’t come easy.

“I shot the bird at point blank range in the field you see in the picture. The bird ran out of the field and stood in the edge of the woods, I saw him slowly walk away. I waited patiently for an hour and went to look for him. First I spent about a half hour making quick circles in the brush thinking he would have crawled quickly under the brush. I didn’t find anything. After that I went back to where I thought he entered the woods only to find it was further west along the field than I looked. Once I pinpointed the spot where he had gone in, I found blood in the woods and proceeded to blood trail him.”


“I found the turkey hunkered down in bad shape in an abandoned cornfield about 150 yards from the blind. A second shot anchored him where he lay and then the emotions of the hunt and the significance of the bird sunk in.”

Saving grace

“After cleaning the bird, I am convinced this is the bird I missed on Friday. There was a fresh wound on the front edge of his leg. Considering the shot angle I took, it is very possible I nicked the leg (I thought missed the bird). There were no feathers, blood or any evidence I hit the turkey.The bird also reacted as though it wasn’t hit. He is 19 pounds, (has a) 9.5-inch beard and 1 1/8 spurs.

“Your friend, Nathan.”

Opening-week double

In the early spring of this year is was privileged enough to put on a turkey seminar at Parker Place, a senior assisted living home in Mentor. A dear friend of mine, Carol Belina, who is the Activities Director for them with the insistence of one of their residents, Wally, asked if I would be willing to an informational talk on turkey and turkey hunting. Now askin’ a redneck to talk huntin’ to anybody... well, that’s just a no brainer, heck yea, I can do that!

Nonetheless while Janie and I were doing our talk, I noticed one very well-groomed elderly fella who seemed to be engrossed in our repertoire. He finally spoke up and started commenting on the art of turkey hunting and to our pleasure he was dead on accurate in everything he said. I made the comment, “sounds like you’ve done this a time or two my friend, yep hammered a few birds in my time” was his reply.

Something to show ya

After the talk was pretty well over he asked if we’d stick around long enough for him to show us something, sure we could do that. After a few minutes he returned with a beautiful Turkey Beard Plaque with eight long beards displayed on it and the shortest being nothing less than 8 inches. I was blown away, I was in awe, and I was speechless!

84 years young

As we talked, I found out my new found friend’s name, Carl Stump, and he’s 84 years old. That’s right 84 years young! He reminisced about his many experiences in the turkey wood and deer as well. The many excursions he had taken when he was young and later with his son, J.D. As we parted he told me good luck this spring and that he would be out there sometime opening week. I told him if he got one to send me an email and I’d see what I could do.

Lo and behold

Much to my surprise, a few days after the turkey season started, I got an email from J.D., Carl’s son and again I was in awe! A doubleheader, wow! Here’s some of the ensuing correspondence that followed:

Initial contact

“Good morning, Dale. Here is the photo of a recent successful turkey hunt with my father. Eighty-year-old Carl Stump and his son, J.D., both took birds during the opening week of Ohio’s Wild Turkey Season.

“Thanks, J.D. Stump.”


J.D., thanks so much for the pic. We met Carl at Parker Place while giving a turkey seminar through our friend Carol Bleina. Carl had some very wise input during the seminar. He also shared his beard display with us and the other residents. It was awesome!

You are very lucky to have a father who has handed down his hunting heritage to you and is still able to participate in it with you. My father is 84 also and did the same for me but unfortunately hasn’t hunted in several years, bad knees, trouble walking, etc. Thanks again, your friend in camo.

Get back

“Dale, Thanks for writing back. You are right about how lucky I am to have my father still active and participating in my life. He and I have many fond memories hunting, trapping and fishing together since I was a very young boy. Carl has even become a “surrogate” father for many of my outdoor-loving friends whose fathers have already passed.

“Even now, as he spends most of the winter in Florida with my mother, he flies back home for a few weeks to deer hunt with me and his “adopted” sons in Pa. & Ohio. We all look forward to his return north, and the chance to catch-up around the warm glow of a hunting campfire.

“I truly could not have asked for a better role model, father and hunting buddy than Carl.  

Thanks again for the interest in our story.I’ve included a few more photos of some outdoor adventures for your interest. Take care, J.D. Stump.”

My call

Here’s my take on Nate’s hunt. Nate has got to be one of, if not the best, turkey hunters I personally know. Every hunt is spiritual to Nate. He’s a firm believer in God’s bounty and the great outdoors. Heck, what more would you expect from a “soil and water guy.”

For Nate to accomplish this milestone in his hunting career is a major feat and something to be proud of. Thank you Nate for sharing it with me!

A call to action

As for Carl’s hunt and J.D.’s praise for his father, friend and mentor, that’s what father’s a for. Unfortunately there’s not as many of them out there anymore like Carl.

Our world is caught up in the frenzy of day-to-day survival. IPods, cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, be my friend B.S. instead of hey son ya wanna go fishin’ or let’s go out and shoot some cans.

And I don’t even want to hear about taking your kids to all the freakin’ sports they’re in, baseball, football, soccer etc. Most of you don’t do it for them you do it for yourself. You try to precariously relive your youth though them.

Worse yet, since you don’t spend any real quality time with them you become an over bearing pompous butt head, make a fool out of yourself at their games by yelling, screaming, hollering and bad mouthing the officials because of course you know better than them.  

Here’s the deal, now that I’ve angered half of Ashtabula County guess what? It’s my column so I can say what I want, for the most part, and for those of you who will admit it, I’m telling it like it is! Go spend some quality time with your kids, by a pond, a stream, camping, in a turkey blind, in a tree stand. Some place where you can talk and they can listen.

Furthermore, try listening to them! Eventually, you might create a bond that will last forever. Just ask J.D, Carl created that bond and at 84 years young he still has his son’s undying admiration, respect and LOVE! What more could a father ask for?

Remember, pass it on or it will surely pass on.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at