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The Turkey Hunters: Catching Up With Steve Stoltz

Editor’s note: “The Turkey Hunters” is a new blog that profiles notable folks in the turkey hunting industry. First up? Our longtime friend Steve Stoltz.

Steve is a full-time firefighter (captain) with the Mehlville Fire Protection District in southern St. Louis County, Mo. He’s best known as a world-champion caller, the host of Winchester’s Whitetail Revolution television show, and a member of Knight & Hale’s Ultimate Hunting Team and a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer.

T&TH: Steve, how many years have you hunted turkeys, and what are some of your accomplishments?

Stoltz: I started calling and hunting turkeys — and killed my first spring gobbler — in 1972 at 11 years old. My dad was an accomplished turkey hunter, and gave me my first mouth diaphragm turkey calls the year before (1971). I took to calling like a duck takes to water and was probably doing most basic calls within hours.

Other highlights include:

* Bow-killed first deer in 1977.

* Placed in my first contest — the first I ever competed in — in 1979: The Gateway Classic, held at Mehlville High School in St. Louis. I took fifth place out of 34 callers. Ken Mounce of Viburnum, Mo., took first place at that contest.

* Won my first state title in 1981; the Missouri State.

* Bow-killed my first turkey in 1982.

* Started top-level pro-staff positions and doing turkey hunting seminars in 1985.

* Started with the pro-staff for Mossy Oak camo in 1988.

* Joined with Mark and Terry Drury to start Drury Outdoors in 1989; began my filming career.

* 1990: Drury’s King of the Spring and Sound of the Spring videos were released. They were big hits on rental shelves.

* 1992: The first Drury Monster Bucks video was released, and it was an even bigger hit in the rental market.

* 1993: I won the 50th annual World Championship Turkey Calling Contest held in Birmingham, Ala., with a field of 47 callers.

* 1994:  M.A.D. Calls were introduced (owner: Mark Drury).

* 1996: The first Dream Season video was released, and it was a huge hit in the whitetail industry.

* 2001: Joined the Outdoor Channel’s Outdoor Video Magazine as co-host.

* 2003: National pro-staffer for H.S. Strut.

* 2006: Joined Knight & Hale Game Calls and the K&H Ultimate Hunting Team.

* 2007: Became a field producer for Knight & Hale Ultimate Hunting TV show and DVDs.

* 2008: Served as Winchester Turkey Revolution TV show co-host.

* 2009: Became Winchester Whitetail Revolution TV show host.

T&TH: Steve, you’ve won more high-profile calling contests than I can keep track of. Can you give us a rundown of your calling accomplishments?

Stoltz: Here goes:

* 1979: Placed in first turkey calling contest ever competed in: fifth place.

* 1980: Won my first contest, in the St. Louis area.

* 1981: Won my first state title; Missouri State Diaphragm Division, Herman, Mo.

* 1987: Won my first big-money contest, the Levi Garrett All American in St. Louis.

* 1993: Won the World Championship Turkey Calling Contest in Birmingham, Ala.

* 1994: Won World Two-Man Championship with Mark Drury in Birmingham, Ala.

* 1998: Won the NWTF Grand National Champion of Champions in Indianapolis, Ind.

* 2007: Won the World Two Man Championship with Chris Parrish in Birmingham, Ala.

* Numerous finishes in the top five in World, U.S. Open and Grand National championships.

* 17 state titles

* More than 150 wins or places in state, regional, open and major competition.

* Three world titles.

* One Grand National title.

* Three-time U.S. Open runner-up.

T&TH: You’re also the host of Whitetail Revolution on NBC Sports Network. How did your fall go?

Stoltz: Great! Got a 5.5-year-old, 142-inch 8-pointer Nov. 1 in Montana; a 4.5-year-old, 144-inch 10-pointer Nov. 12 in Nebraska; and a 3.5-year-old, 150-inch 10-pointer Nov. 30 in Kansas. And while filming for Knight & Hale Ultimate Hunting, I shot a 3.5-year-old, 138-inch 9-pointer Dec. 20 in Missouri.

T&TH: What’s your greatest enjoyment or satisfaction in turkey hunting?

Stoltz: My greatest enjoyment has been watching my wife, Dawn, and daughter Shelby get their first turkeys. My greatest satisfaction is laying down an awesome kill on film. It’s just a little sweeter when it’s captured on tape.

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