Big Bucks Steal Some of the Spotlight at National Turkey Convention

Big Deer on Display

Hunters display their recent whitetail trophies at the annual NWTF convention in Nashville.

By Alan Clemons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Turkeys are taking the spotlight at the National Wild Turkey Federation convention here this weekend, but deer aren’t being ignored.

The annual national convention attracts thousands of hunters and conservationists. Mossberg is sponsoring the annual taxidermy contest for the turkey and whitetail mounts. Several dozen mounts in each category are posted for viewing in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel convention center lobby. Visitors are getting a glimpse at some of the best taxidermy in the nation.

The mounts don’t have identification, so there’s no way to see which artist did what work. The turkey mounts are great, but a few of the whitetail mounts are simply outstanding. One is a shoulder mount of a whitetail eating an ear of corn, but with no obvious support system for the deer’s head. It looks like it’s free-floating … but obviously the corn stalk has a post support of some type. The pedestal base of dirt also includes tracks and looks really cool.

Another full mount has a great buck walking along a fence with such intricate detail and realism it looks like something out of a nearby pasture. Sagebrush, a row of nibbled soybeans (with the bean pods!), twigs, dirt, tracks, a wire fence and post … and an outstanding buck any hunter would be thrilled to see or pursue.

Taxidermy awards will be announced Saturday morning. Check back next week for updates on the winners.