Local twins take hunting to TV

 

Jeff, left, and Joel Pounders, of Russellville, will be featured on a national wildlife and hunting show this week. The program, “Turkey Call,” airs on Direct TV’s Pursuit channel. | Nathan Strickland/FCT

 

A little slice of wildlife heaven and a conservationist/hunter’s paradise could be some of the phrases used to describe the Pounders Farm inside Little Bear Valley located in the Mt. Hebron community in Franklin County.

The 1,100-acre plot of land managed by twin brothers Joel and Jeff Pounders was deemed 2003 Alabama Forest conservationist of the year and in 2005 snagged an Alabama Forestry Commission Treasure Forest Award.

Now, the Pounders brothers will bring some national attention to the area when they appear on the National Wild Turkey Federation’s network syndicated television show “Turkey Call” airing on Direct TV’s Pursuit Channel.

Each week, “Turkey Call” takes hunting enthusiasts on an exciting ride as NWTF cameras follow dedicated Federation volunteers on heart-pounding hunts all over North America. With established turkey populations in 49 states, Canada and Mexico, viewers get to see a variety of hunting locations featuring the five subspecies of North American wild turkeys.

The Pounders twins were contacted by the NWTF last year and were able to do two episodes with the professionals featured on “Turkey Call” and also made an episode for NWTF’s other syndicated show “Get in the Game,” which also airs on the Pursuit Channel.

The Pounders brothers described the experience to be like hunting with their heroes and premiering on a show they watched as kids is just indescribable.

Joel Pounders said for the NWTF pros to show interest in coming and shooting a hunt done by he and his brother, Jeff, is like playing football for the University of Alabama alongside Julio Jones and Mark Ingram.

“We were so excited when we got the call from regional director Dave Wilson saying they were interested in doing hunts here,” Joel said. “Jeff and I are comfortable in this environment, but when you get a chance to go out with the pros we were actually kind of nervous, but we were able to put together some pretty good hunts.”

Jeff Pounders said the whole experience was exciting and made him feel like he was doing something positive.

“We didn’t really expect 20 years of work to culminate into this unique opportunity,” he said. “Our success is largely due to the support we receive from our family, friends and adjoining landowners. Who knows what the future may hold for this area?”

A professional biologist, Grand Turkey Caller Joe Mole, a producer and videographer made the trip here to film the brothers on a couple of different hunts.

Three sessions total including a turkey hunt in the spring, a deer hunt in the fall and another deer hunt in the winter were filmed for television.

An episode of “Turkey Call,” premiering Tuesday, July 27 at 8 a.m., took place in the winter while hunting for white-tale deer.

“I believe the temperatures stayed around eight degrees. I mean it was brutally cold when we went on the hunt,” Jeff said. “After two days we received a call from our friend Mark Jent telling us not to give up because at that point we didn’t have one ‘in the can’ as referred to by the ones in production. On the third day God smiled down on us and we were able to harvest two mature bucks, one from me and one from Joel.”

Both Joel and Jeff feel blessed to have had the opportunity for the hunt.

“Joel and I are blessed to be able to put our community and Franklin County in the national spotlight,” Jeff said. “Our farm is relatively small compared to the competition out west, but even though we like to hunt and fish and do all the gaming stuff, our primary focus remains the promotion and conservation of wildlife and natural resources here in the Little Bear Valley.”

The Pounders brothers said the episode that was shot on their farm must have impressed someone because they have never seen a deer hunt on “Turkey Call.”

The Pounders brothers said while the production crew was here they spoke highly of the local food, bands and people and one of them described the community as “a friendly slice of America.”

The Pounders brothers said they don’t plan to try to go into the network business, but will keep filming the hunts just in case.

“I think our hearts would stop pumping if we weren’t able to ever go back into the woods,” Joel said. “We are really rooted in the banks of Little Bear and if they need us again that’s where we will be.”

The NWTF was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Edgefield, S.C. According to many state and federal agencies, the restoration of the wild turkey is arguably the greatest conservation success story in North America’s wildlife history. To learn more, visit www.nwtf.org.

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