Tom Kelly


Tom Kelly (1927- ) is a forester and a hunter who writes non-fiction that centers on turkey hunting. In his essays, Kelly weaves connections between techniques for hunting the notoriously elusive birds, human relationships, and classic military history.

Mobile native Tom Kelly writes widely popular non-fiction Tom KellyBorn May 15, 1927, in Mobile, Thomas H. Kelly Jr. graduated from McGill Institute in 1944. Although Kelly entered Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API—now Auburn University) to study forestry, his education was interrupted by a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy as an aerial gunner until 1946. In 1949, Kelly graduated with a bachelor's degree in Forestry from API. Two years later, he again served in the military, this time as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army in Korea. Upon his return from Korea, Kelly worked several jobs in forestry, including a position with the Tennessee Valley Authority. He took a position with the Scott Paper Company in Mobile in 1953 and would work there for the next 40 years. He was appointed the company's Manager of Woodlands in 1978.

Kelly began publishing books in 1973, with Tenth Legion, in which he weaves connections between turkey hunting and Roman military strategy (hence the title), among other things. He has gone on to publish many other works with similar themes and has produced DVDs on turkey hunting as well. Kelly has also recorded a number of his books as audiobooks, reading the text himself. Since his retirement in 1993, he has worked as a consultant for a number of businesses and organizations. He lives with his wife in Spanish Fort, where he continues to write and play the banjo.

Works by Tom Kelly  

Tenth Legion (1973)

Dealer's Choice (1983)

Better on a Rising Tide: Tales of Wild Turkeys and Southern Folk (1995)

The Season (1996)

The Boat (1998)

A Year Outside (2000)

Faces In the Crowd (2002)

Take Back in Fancy (2005)

A Hat Full of Rabbits (2006)

A Fork in the Road (2007)

Ol' Tom and Laura (2008)

Absent Companions (2008)

The Best of Tom Kelly (2009)

Bert Hitchcock
Auburn University


Published August 24, 2009
Last updated December 18, 2012