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'Wisconsin Turkey Commander' publishes book

Voss and his book Living on Death Row
Posted at 6:20 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 19:20:33-05

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Loren Voss of Fond du Lac earned the moniker “Turkey Commander” almost three decades ago when he and some fellow hunters were traveling from the Ducks Unlimited Festival in Oshkosh.

“It wasn't any big vote or anything. It just happened,” Voss said.

Voss has harvested 155 turkeys in his career, sometimes getting two or three with one shot. He also often travels to different parts of the state to participate in hunting seminars.

“Sometimes I’ll be out there from 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.,” Voss said.

But when Voss was diagnosed with cancer 30 years ago, his world was turned upside down.

“It's not an easy thing to live through. It's hard for your family and people around you,” said Voss.

When his oncology nurse and aspiring writer Barb Kraft learned about his story, the two decided to collaborate on a book, titled Living on Death Row. Voss said that’s a reference to a doctor telling him that Hodgkin's lymphoma would leave him with six months to live.

Three decades later, he’s still hunting.

“I think if anybody who reads the book can say if Loren can do it, you know, anybody can. It's just simple,” Kraft said. “You know, don't give up. Just keep striving.”

But Voss was recently diagnosed with cancer again, this time in his prostate. He said this news only reinvigorated his spark for life.

As someone who had cancer himself, Voss said he works to share his passion for hunting with others experiencing critical illness.

“For the last few years, I've had the opportunity to share my hunting with a lot of people that are special, special in needs of their health… I've had cancer people out, special needs with epilepsy,” Voss said.

Voss said the Department of Natural Resources allows special tags for those individuals, which give them certain hunting privileges.

“It allows them to hunt outside of the season, whenever that is required,” Voss said. “Because, like the last gentleman, we knew he was not going to make the season. So I actually hunted with him before the season.”

Shortly after Voss and Kraft finished Living on Death Row, which was printed this year, Kraft began to expand her own writing career with I was Patricia Jean: My Mother’s Secret, a book about her life as an adoptee.

“As I had done with Loren’s book, I took these different experiences, in each chapter was an experience of my life, growing up as an adopted child, the people who were in my life and what my life was,” Kraft said.

While Kraft always knew of her adoption, she didn’t know any details until a DNA test about 13 years ago revealed several biological relatives.

“It should give some closure to some adoptees, I hope, I really don't know,” Kraft said. “I don't know what other adoptees are searching for. I was never searching for anything.”

Kraft said they’re working to get both books on bookstore shelves within the year. Voss said he plans to promote his book as he travels the state giving seminars.