You don't always have to see eye-to-eye with someone to respect and appreciate the heart of the guy.
Doug Burt and I have served on Sportsman's Jamboree and National Wild Turkey Federation committees together for years and while there have been times that we butted heads, I know of no one who has worked harder and taken his responsibility more seriously than Doug.
I was shocked and saddened and any ill feeling I may have had toward him vanished like a snow cone in July when I learned of his death over this past weekend.
For more than 20 years, I was chairman of the Sportsman's Jamboree, an event held each fall in Ruston. The focus of the Jamboree, for the 31 years of its existence, has been to promote ethical hunting and outdoor sportsmanship and to get youngsters involved in the outdoors. I could always depend on Doug Burt to utilize his artistic talents to help publicize the event.
Folks around Ruston no doubt have seen the banners that go up in late summer every year to promote the Jamboree. Doug not only crafted those banners; he was out in the oppressive August heat hanging them.
He and I did other things together. For example several years ago, a youth turkey hunt was held on Jackson Bienville wildlife management area. Doug did the scouting and built blinds that enabled me to call in a gobbler and watch a 12 year old girl, Sarah Hebert, bag her first wild turkey. While Sarah and I were accomplishing this feat, Doug was in another blind with Sarah's brother, John, and called his first gobbler in for him. I still treasure the photo of the four of us, Doug and me along with the Hebert kids, proudly showing off their trophies.
I still remember how special it was the day I drove into Ruston from Caldwell Parish with the first mature gobbler I ever called in by myself. Doug drove by, I flagged him down and was thrilled to have a friend with whom to share details of my hunt. He was proud for me; I could just tell.
One of Burt's best friends who has worked untold hours with him on local and state NWTF committees and who has shared the woods with him numerous times is Luke Lewis, Wildlife Biologist with the NWTF.
"Doug was a long time friend and was passionate about working for the wild turkey. He had a special love for helping kids and handicapped hunters. He served over 20 years as a local and state chapter board member in Louisiana. He will be missed by a lot of his friends.
"Every time I see one of his signs on a WMA and in North Louisiana at a business, I will think about him. When we host a Louisiana State Board meeting and our local chapter banquets are held each year, he will be noticeably absent. He and I spent a lot of days in the woods pursuing turkeys in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. He taught me a lot about patience, persistence, and woodsmanship while hunting turkeys over the years," Lewis wrote in an e-mail to NWTF committee members.
I recall when tragedy took the life of James Brooks, refuge manager for the Jackson Bienville wildlife management area, Doug was one of the ones who came up with the idea of having a granite marker to serve as a monument to Brooks placed on the area as a constant reminder of who Brooks was and the valuable work he did on the area for the betterment of wildlife. It is fitting that Doug Burt's ashes will be scattered, as were Brooks', over Jackson Bienville.
In this tragedy, there is comfort in knowing that these two kindred spirits, James Brooks and Doug Burt will forever be present on this special piece of land both dearly loved.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.