Bobby Culbertson’s interest in Tara Wildlife began when he was 11 years old. A family member gave him a hunting video filmed at Tara’s Willow Point. He watched it over and over, learning about the location of the hunt and falling in love with the land it was filmed on. “I was star struck,” says Bobby. “I knew that I wanted to hunt there one day.”
While he worked at the local Sheriff’s office, he started teaching hunter education at Tara’s summer camps. “I love to show kids the beauty of the outdoors,” he says. “Some kids have never even walked barefoot in the grass. We get to introduce them to that experience here.”
A few years later, Bobby began working full-time at Tara. He is now the head guide and supervisor. “This place is addictive. I feel like I belong here, like Tara is a piece of me,” says Bobby.
His Experience as a Hunting Guide
A native of Mississippi, Bobby was raised in a hunting family. He began tagging along with on his father and grandfather’s hunting trips at the age of five. They taught him to read signs and how to hunt. He has been using that knowledge to help guide guests on their hunts since 1999.
“Each year is different. We work to find guests the best spot to hunt. It depends on the land – whether it has flooded that year, whether there is hard mast and soft mast nearby. We know the land and we are always paying attention to the changes in the land and looking for good spots.”
“It’s very satisfying to be a part of someone’s first time in the woods hunting with a bow and they have success and you were part of that. I like being able to help guide a guest through the process,” says Bobby.
While Bobby has been guiding hunts for many years now, he says he is continually learning. “There is always something new to learn in the outdoors. You just have to pay attention,” says Bobby.
A Passion For the Outdoors
Each morning of his 16 years working at Tara Wildlife, Bobby Culbertson has woken up looking forward to the day ahead. Whether it is running equipment, cleaning up debris, planting food plots, or helping out with the summer camps, Bobby doesn’t see what he does as a job. For him, his work at Tara is his passion.
“My favorite thing about working here is meeting different people. People come from all over the country and the world to spend time at Tara. By spending time with them, I get to learn about them and also to introduce them to Southern culture – like our food,” Bobby says. “We really get to know our customers and make them feel at home. They aren’t just a number to us.”
The prep work of disking, bush hogging, planting food plots, and hanging stands can be exhausting, but it’s an ideal job to be able to work in the outdoors. “I prefer this to a day spent in the office anytime,” says Bobby. “It’s like outdoor television.”
Bobby says that one of the things that sets Tara apart from other places is that the folks at Tara work hard to make their guests feel at home, like they are part of the family.
“The people that work here have a lot of pride in Tara. We want to be here and it really shows,” said Bobby.
Bobby sees himself working at Tara until he is no longer able to keep up with the physical demands of the job. As anyone who has worked with him can attest to, this man has a deep passion for the land and for Tara Wildlife.
In 2016, Bobby was named the Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. This award is given annually to a volunteer instructor for outstanding efforts in promoting and teaching hunter safety in Mississippi. The award was sponsored by Anderson Tully.