The NAWTMP partners with utility companies through the NWTF's Energy for Wildlife program to enhance right of way management for wildlife benefits and reliable energy delivery.
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Photo Credit: National Wild Turkey Federation
New Jersey is home to the Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), which can be found in every mainland New Jersey county. The Eastern wild turkey is the most widely distributed, abundant and hunted turkey subspecies of the five distinct subspecies found in the United States. It inhabits the eastern half of the country and is primarily found in hardwood and mixed forests from New England and southern Canada to northern Florida and west to Texas, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota.
The North American Wild Turkey Management Plan is a compilation of regional and state/provincial plans that will outline goals to help wildlife management agencies and the NWTF's dedicated volunteers target the most important factors in wild turkey conservation and protecting our hunting heritage.
In support of the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan and the continued efforts of wild turkey conservation and the preservation of the hunting tradition, the NWTF's New Jersey State Chapter and its members have spent more than $420,500 on projects in New Jersey since 1985. The money has been raised through Hunting Heritage Super Fund banquets and administered jointly by the NWTF, its state chapters and state wildlife agencies. The New Jersey State Chapter's priorities fall into four categories: Habitat Enhancement, Hunter Access, Wild Turkey Research and Outreach.
- Create, manage and enhance wild turkey brood habitat on state and federal lands in the Skylands, Piedmont Plains and Pinelands ecoregions by providing funding to agencies and hiring contractors annually.
- Assist in the creation and maintenance of oak-pine savannah habitat on state wildlife management areas and state forests in the Pinelands and Delaware Bay ecoregions of southern New Jersey to improve wild turkey brood range and bobwhite quail habitat.
- Encourage and support the creation and maintenance of woody early successional habitats on state and private lands in the Skylands and Piedmont ecoregions of New Jersey's northern and central counties to improve turkey nesting sites, enhance American woodcock and ruffed grouse habitat and improve conditions for a variety of songbirds.
- Support the establishment of early successional herbaceous habitats using warm and cool season grasses and legumes to improve wild turkey nesting and brood-rearing habitat and encourage grassland-nesting songbirds to nest in the Skylands and Piedmont ecoregions.
- Establish quality winter food sources for wildlife on public and private lands by planting fruit-bearing trees and shrubs and encouraging contract farmers to leave standing grain crops on state and federal lands.
- Support and expand the use of prescribed fire in managing Native Warm Season Grasses, reducing fuel loads in oak-pine forests and improving oak regeneration in hardwood stands.
- Advocate for a net gain in land open to hunting statewide.
- Support and encourage the acquisition of additional public land acreage for wildlife management areas, state forests and national wildlife refuges open to hunting through participating in public meetings, writing letters of support and assisting with purchases.
- Identify public land areas that are not open to hunting and work to open these areas to hunter access.
- Advocate changes in hunting regulations that provide additional recreational opportunities without jeopardizing wildlife resources.
- Support hunting as a viable management tool for resolving human-wildlife conflicts by actively managing wildlife populations.
Wild Turkey Research
- Provide financial support during the next year for the final analysis of gobbler survival data collected in a recent telemetry study.
- Encourage continued collection of harvest and other biological data via the check station system.
- Support the collection of turkey hunter demographic and satisfaction information by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife through mail and Internet surveys of active turkey hunters.
Education and Outreach
- Provide funding for one local scholarship for each local NWTF chapter annually and one state chapter scholarship to be awarded to an outstanding student.
- Encourage chapters to host and sponsor JAKES (Junior Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) and Women in the Outdoors outreach events by providing funding and volunteer help.
- Sponsor at least one Wheelin' Sportsmen NWTF hunt annually and support the improvement of access for hunters with disabilities by working with state, federal and other government agencies.