Laborer Begins Journey as a Sportsman with Brotherhood Outdoors Turkey Hunt
by Kate Nation
Many sportsmen are introduced to hunting by their father, grandfather, mother, or some other family member. It is a tradition handed down to them at a young age. But that wasn’t the case for Maverick McBride, a member of Laborers Local 2 from Antioch, Illinois, and the featured guest on a Brotherhood Outdoors Florida Osceola turkey hunt.
“I have always been active, but an outdoorsman is not something I have called myself,” said McBride, who does not come from a family of hunters or anglers. “But my journey to becoming one starts on this trip.”
McBride got involved in the Laborers union in 2014 and was a member on an off through college. Since joining full-time in 2017, he has never looked back. “Being a union member is part of who I am as a person, and I don’t intend that to change any time soon. I share common beliefs, and I like the brotherhood nature of the union.”
As an eagle scout, McBride was involved in the outdoors and conservation efforts growing up, and he hunted waterfowl a few times in northern and central Michigan while in college. But he had never hunted turkey before meeting up with the Brotherhood Outdoors crew and a few USA staff and partners in DeLand, Florida.
“I was extremely excited for the opportunity to experience my first turkey hunt—in a state that I didn’t even know turkeys come from,” McBride said.
His trip to Florida began when he kept seeing the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) Big Ten fundraising raffle pop up on Facebook. Figuring his $100 would support a good cause regardless of whether he won, he decided to enter the raffle. When he got a call that he won an Osceola turkey hunt for two, he thought Osceola was a place—not a subspecies of turkey.
McBride chose his friend Tim Palmer, a member of UA Local 130 Plumbers and Tech Engineers, to join him on the trip.
“I’ve known Tim since elementary school,” McBride said. “He’s a hunter, and he’s started working on his Grand Slam.”
So, while Palmer showed McBride the ropes of turkey hunting, McBride was able to help Palmer toward his Grand Slam. Palmer harvested an Osceola about 10 minutes into the first day of their hunt.
For McBride, on the other hand, it came down to the last minute of the last day. After missing a gobbler because of his excitement and the angle of the sun, McBride was feeling a bit down on himself.
With some encouragement from the more seasoned hunters in camp and a bit of good fortune, a tom approached their decoys on the last day, giving McBride a perfect shot to successfully harvest his first turkey.
“I didn’t even know what to feel,” McBride said. “It was a relief. Being able to call myself a sportsman—it was awesome.”
Just as the crew arrived back at camp, it began to pour.
For McBride, the Brotherhood Outdoors turkey hunt was just the beginning of his journey into hunting. He is hoping to hunt Eastern turkeys on his girlfriend’s parent’s property, and he and Palmer are contemplating a trip to Arkansas to hunt Rio Grande.
“I want to mature as a sportsman, and hopefully, keep it rolling for generations to come after me,” McBride said. “I’ll be a sportsman for them and pass that along because it’s a beautiful tradition.”
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Presented by ULLICO, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Carhartt; International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; National Electrical Contractors Association; and United Association/International Training Fund’s Veterans in Piping Program.