EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation Winchester Museum recently unveiled the Tom Kelly Exhibit, showcasing a collection of Kelly’s most prized possessions for turkey hunting enthusiasts to enjoy for years to come.
Kelly was in attendance for the exhibit’s grand opening, and was joined by his daughter, Laura Bates, and granddaughter, Keelin, to celebrate the museum’s newest addition.
Kelly, a prolific outdoor writer, forester and longtime friend of the NWTF, is the author of turkey-based fictions books, including the ‘Tenth Legion’ and ‘The Boat.’ Kelly, who hunters laud as the poet laureate of turkey hunting, still lives and breathes the sport at the age of 91.
“Tom Kelly’s ability to write about the wild turkey and the emotions felt during the hunt is unrivaled,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “His most notable work, the ‘Tenth Legion,’ has connected with turkey hunters for decades, and we are honored to have his exhibit be part of the NWTF museum.”
The exhibit, sponsored by Westervelt Lodge where Kelly instructed the Wild Turkey Hunting School for more than two decades, features three aspects of Kelly’s life: his career in the timber industry and his personal hunting life; elements of his writing career, featuring Kelly’s literary awards and his handmade desk; and a sitting area where visitors can read some of Kelly’s works or enjoy videos of Kelly narrating several of his books.
In additional to honoring Kelly’s work through the museum exhibit, the NWTF presents the Tom Kelly Award to an individual each year during its national convention, who has shown a commitment to supporting conservation and hunting’s heritage in the public eye.
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