NASHVILLE, Tenn. — National Wild Turkey Federation volunteer Charlie Mueller finds more enjoyment in seeing the smiles on the faces of new hunters than he does in punching his own tag. His dedication to taking new hunters afield earned Mueller the Mentor of the Year award from the NWTF.
“The award is greatly appreciated, but I feel undeserving,” Mueller said. “There are so many people who did so much more than me this year. [However,] at our last committee meeting I realized that I had mentored several of them and brought them into a top-notch organization like the NWTF. As for my success, it probably is just [due to] my love of turkey hunting and showing others, especially kids, how fun it is.”
Mueller, of Kimball, Minnesota, accepted the Mentor of the Year award during the 43rd annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show. Mossy Oak is the official convention sponsor.
The Stearns County Thunderin’ Toms, for which Mueller serves as chapter president, hosts one of the largest mentored turkey hunts in the state of Minnesota each year, providing opportunities to youth, adults, veterans or those with disabilities.
In addition, outside of scheduled NWTF outreach events, Mueller is always seeking out individuals wishing to learn to hunt. Tom Glines, NWTF director of development in Minnesota, has known Mueller for more than 20 years and believes Mueller has taken more people turkey hunting for the first time than almost anyone else.
“Every spring turkey season, Charlie mentors as many individuals as he can, regardless of age or gender,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “Through his dedication to recruit the next generation of hunters, Charlie is the embodiment of our Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to raise $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org