John McCoy is the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette’s award-winning outdoors writer. His "Woods & Waters" page appears weekly in the Sports section of the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
In 32 years of outdoors writing, John has had articles published in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, Hatches and other publications. His works have earned more than 50 state, regional and national awards for writing and photography.
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I absolutely love stories like this. From the Associated Press:
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Ninety-six-year-old Bill Tanner can’t hunt turkeys any more this season. He’s bagged his limit.
The spring season ends May 1. But Tanner, of Jackson, got his third gobbler Thursday, about a week after his birthday.
He started hunting at the age of 8, he told The Clarion-Ledger. “My dad let me take a .410 shotgun and hunt squirrel in a small swamp in Smith County about a mile wide and a few miles long.”
He hunted turkey before there was a state wildlife department, let alone a turkey season.
“Get the limit every year,” he said. “Well, back in the days when I started turkey hunting I may not have gotten the limit. That’s because we didn’t have many turkey. There were years I didn’t see or hear a turkey. It’s not like it is now.”
Tanner estimates he was 21 or 22 when he got his first turkey. Squirrel hunting helped him pay for his first gun — a single-shot Southern Arms 12 gauge shotgun with a 32-inch barrel. He says he sold dressed squirrels for 15 cents each to raise $4 for the gun.
Tanner has taken good of care of that gun, just as he has himself.
“He’s very active,” said his wife, Kathryn Tanner. “He rides his 4-wheelers, gardens and all. I don’t worry about him going hunting and doing all that stuff, but I don’t like him out in bad weather because of pneumonia.
“But he’s tough. He came from Smith County and that makes him tough.”
Tanner says the secret to his longevity is “good dirt and good genes” — Smith County roots and a father who lived to be “98 years and one day.”