Michael Waddell: Born To Hunt – Georgia Outdoor News
By: Duncan Dolby
Michael Waddell and Georgia gobblers go back a long way. His love of turkey hunting and the skills he developed as a master caller and hunter when he was a teenager opened the door to an extraordinary outdoor career that has been going strong for over 20 years.
And even though his love of turkey hunting has taken him to nearly every state in the Union where gobblers can be hunted, there is only one place in the world you’ll find him when the Georgia season opens in March—deep in the magical woods and swamps of his beloved “Booger Bottom” in Meriwether County. It is here that his country roots go deeper than the tap root of a Georgia pine.
Michael thanks his lucky stars that he was born and raised in rural Georgia where he was brought up by two special parents with traditional country values. Those values included love of God, love of country and respect for others. Hunting and fishing was a way of life. Booger Bottom was a place where a boy could be a boy and play in the woods all day long, catch frogs and snakes and come home dirty. Of course, as soon as he was old enough, “playing in the woods” developed into chasing after anything that flew, swam, crawled or ran on four legs.
The family tradition of chasing Georgia gobblers continues to a new generation of Waddell boys.
“I’m just a good ol’ boy who was born to hunt,” Michael often says. “If it gobbles, quacks, bugles or grunts, chances are I’ve chased it more than a time or two.”
Speaking of gobbling, Michael and his dad Edwin, (better known as PawPaw), went on their first turkey hunt together in the mid-1980s when Michael was about 13.
“Like everybody else in our community, we hunted everything we could—squirrels, rabbits, quail, ducks, doves, deer—you name it. But turkeys were just coming into our area and we had never hunted those crazy thunder birds. One day one of my uncles told us he had seen some turkeys down in a bottom, and that was all we needed. Dad and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s go!’ Mind you, we knew nothing about turkey hunting but that didn’t matter.
“Right before the season came in Dad went to K-Mart or somewhere like that and bought a Lynch box call. That’s what everybody used in those days, and it was a very good call. When Mama saw it she said, ‘Oh my goodness, now turkeys?’”…