SULLIVAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY HISTORY MAKER AWARD 2014
Sullivan County Long Beards
Since the very earliest days of Sullivan County history, the county’s forests and streams have provided both sport and subsistence to outdoor enthusiasts. Over the years, the exploits of these sportsmen have been well chronicled, from the early writings of James Quinlan to the current essays of Sullivan County Historian, John Conway. Among the numerous sportsmen’s clubs throughout the county that share in this heritage, the Sullivan County Long Beards are true representatives. Chartered with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the local chapter has promoted, over the years, the involvement of outdoor activity through education and conservation. The sponsors of numerous programs, the
Sullivan County Long Beards are committed to passing on this heritage, as well as the preservation and improvement of habitat, for future generations.
The Sullivan County Long Beards is a chapter of New YorkState, chartered with the National Wild Turkey Federation [NWTF] in 2002. The chapter works with the community as well as several local and state organizations to achieve the NWTF mission and goals of the improvement and preservation of habitat and promoting our hunting heritage.
The volunteers of the Sullivan County Long Beards are a small group of active, dedicated members that have the youth, women and veterans in the forefront of the chapter’s agenda and have worked diligently to become one of the most active and recognized chapters in New York State. The Long Beards promote involvement and education in the outdoors by hosting and assisting in programs such as hunting, archery and trapping education, handgun safety, as well as conducting educational and training seminars for clubs and other organizations. In addition, the chapter sponsors youth to attend the Department of Environmental Conservation camp to learn new skills and experience the outdoors.
The annual JAKES [Juniors Acquiring Knowledge Ethic and Sportsmanship] event consists of many shooting and archery activities. The chapter has been recognized for several years for signing up the most JAKES at an event, breaking their own New YorkState record several times. Other youth events consist of but not limited to ice fishing, pond fishing, mentored hunt and a youth deer hunt photographed live by the Eddie Adams Photo workshop. The chapter has worked with the Boy Scouts to help them acquire their shooting badges as well as other projects.
Youth Hunt Contests; The Sullivan County Long Beards sponsor two youth hunting contests each year. The prizes awarded are generally firearms and taxidermy mounts of their trophies donated by local taxidermists.
Scholarship program; Since 2010, the chapter has provided annual NWTF Conservation Scholarships to local graduating seniors in SullivanCounty. This year, our first place winner also received second place at the NYS Chapter level.
Habitat programs; As a benefit of NWTF membership, the Long Beards provide individuals, local farmers and hunting clubs with conservation seed corn, clover blends and strut and rut mix to help sustain the wildlife over the winter season.
Turkey Hunters Care; Every Thanksgiving we provide turkeys to the needy, working with churches and other charitable organizations for turkey distribution. The number of turkeys distributed is dependent on our finances. One year we gave out over a ton of turkeys.
Wounded Veteran Hunts; The Sullivan County Long Beards are active associate members of the Sullivan County Coalition of Veterans, doing for our local veterans over and above what is being provided by existing governmental programs. In 2013, Ethan Morgan’s “Wild Boar Excursion” generated enough funds to take 11 wounded veterans on one of three wild boar hunts. All costs were covered; the hunt, lodging, meals, butchering and a shoulder mount of their animal. For 2014, Ethan and the chapter, supported by Travis Archery and Catskill Mountain Archers, will be providing fallow deer hunts for five wounded veterans. The chapter has received recognition for the best first time “Wheeling Sportsmen Event” for the disabled and handicapped, an outreach program of the NWTF.
Red Stag Excursion; A young boy or girl, 12 to 15 years of age, with a debilitating disease or illness, have been chosen to go on a hunt for Red Stag at no cost to them.
The Sullivan County Long Beards volunteers are committed to the cause of conserve, hunt and share, passing on their passion for the outdoors to our youth, who are the future stewards of conservation. Likewise, the Long Beards acknowledge and thank our veterans, who through their sacrifice allow us to exercise the freedoms that we all enjoy today.