LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Former National Wild Turkey Federation president and current board member Gene Denton has been selected to the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame. He is to be inducted at a banquet and ceremony Friday, Sept. 5, at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
The Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame began in 1992 to recognize Arkansans’ achievements in outdoor fields, and to conserve wildlife habitat. Past inductions have raised more than a million dollars for wildlife habitat and conservation education.
NWTF Vice President Jim Hinkle said, “Gene has done so much for Arkansas, our country and for conservation. I’ll proudly introduce him during the ceremony on Sept. 5, and although he’s too modest to admit it, Gene greatly deserves this award for a lifelong commitment to family, country and wildlife.”
Denton, of Clarksville, Ark., has been an avid turkey hunter for more than 58 years and has served on the NWTF’s national board of directors since 1980. When asked what drives his passion for turkeys, Denton replied, “They’re the most whimsical birds you’ll ever see. They can be so finicky and smart, and that’s what makes them so challenging to hunt and fascinating to watch.”
In 2006, Denton received the Five-Star Award, the NWTF’s highest volunteer recognition. The Five-Star Award is named for the military five-star rank given infrequently by Congress to individuals of outstanding ability, achievement and leadership. The award is not given every year. In fact, during the last 35 years only two other outstanding volunteers have ever received it. Denton is a World War II veteran who fought in the battle of Okinawa.
“We are extremely proud to be honoring an outstanding Arkansan like Gene. He’s done so much to benefit our outdoor resources,” said Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation Director Steve Smith.
Despite a lifetime of achievements, Denton remains humble and says that he was surprised when first hearing of his Hall of Fame induction, and still loves to talk turkeys.
“I’ve hunted a lot of things in my day, but I wouldn’t trade turkey hunting for the rest of them put together,” Denton quipped.