By BUSTER WOLFE
PONTOTOC - The first time that organizers sponsor a banquet, they're not always sure how many people will attend.
For sponsors Richey Crew and Steve Parrish of Richey's Gun and Archery of Algoma, Friday's Skuna Bottom Turkey Seminar was a pleasant surprise. H.S. Strut Pro Staff member Eddie Salter was the featured speaker at the Pontotoc National Guard Armory.
"I'm tickled to death," Crew said after about 300 people ate gumbo and listened to Salter's calling demonstrations and watched his videos.
Parrish said, "I didn't expect this for the first one."
The banquet was as much an appreciation dinner by Crew and Parrish as a turkey seminar.
"We just wanted to thank the people who have supported us," Parrish said. "We wanted to put something together that people would enjoy and we didn't want to make anyone pull out a billfold."
Salter of Evergreen, Ala., said he believed the banquet was worthwhile.
"Richey and Steve have done a great job getting the people in here," said Salter, who has won two World Open Turkey Calling Championships, six Alabama state titles and seven Southeastern crowns. "The main thing for me is if someone learned one thing tonight, then it was worth me coming."
One technique Salter illustrated was directing the sound from his call.
"By controlling the direction of the call, I can control which way a turkey goes," he said. "You also need to put feeling in your calls."
Salter said using a thumb on a box call to deaden the sound can produce different sounds to entice a gobbler. And although a mouth call is important because it can be used while aiming at a turkey, the box and slate calls give a truer sound.
Mississippi's youth turkey season opens Saturday, followed by the spring season March 14.
Contact outdoors writer Buster Wolfe (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 678-1576.