NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For outstanding achievement in coordinating and hosting youth outreach events, seven National Wild Turkey Federation chapters received national awards.
Representatives from the Botetourt Longbeards, Four Rivers, Flint Hill Gobblers, Plateau Longbeards, Bootheel Boss Gobblers and Walt Beumer Memorial chapters accepted JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) awards during the 40th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show. RAM is the official convention sponsor.
The NWTF determined this year’s award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization’s Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.
Botetourt Longbeards, Virginia – Best JAKES Event (1-75 Participants)
The chapter partnered with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and local archery and gun clubs to host 40 youth for the annual JAKES field day. Participants attended stations to learn about turkey calling and hunting. Youth also were given the opportunity to compete in a turkey calling competition. More than half of the youth went home with plaques, ribbons or door prizes.
Four Rivers Chapter, Missouri – Best JAKES Event (76-150 Participants)
In only its second year, more than 130 participants showed up for the Four Rivers Chapter’s youth event. Numerous volunteers from Quail Forever, Missouri Department of Conservation and other partnering organizations manned 17 stations covering a variety of activities, including kayaking, shotgun patterning, atlatl throwing, woodworking, fishing, fly-tying and numerous shooting sports.
Flint Hills Gobblers, Kansas – Best JAKES Event (150+ Participants)
Nearly 250 participants, youth and parents combined, attended the 15th annual Spring Turkey Hunting Clinic and Hunter Education Class. Attendees visited eight stations to learn about safely handling firearms, shotgun shooting, archery, scouting for turkeys, wild turkey biology, equipment for turkey hunting, turkey calling techniques and bow hunting for turkeys. More than 20 of the youth also completed their hunter education certification while at the event.
Plateau Longbeards, Tennessee – JAKES Membership Achievement Award
The JAKES Day hosted by the Crossville chapter was attended by 375 individuals. Attendees visited stations to learn about boating safety, firearm safety, trapping, camping, turkey calling, rock climbing and much more. Partnering organizations include the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, Tennessee Fur Harvester, local shooting teams and many more.
Bootheel Boss Gobblers, Missouri – Best Special Event
Nearly 100 youth attended the 25th annual JAKES Field Day. Learning stations covered a variety of topics, including early American adventures, the Lewis and Clark expedition, hands-on archery, Native American living, shooting sports, bird house building, hunter safety trail, fishing lure painting, turkey call making and much more.
Walt Beumer Memorial Chapter, Missouri – Best Cooperative Event Event
More than 150 youth from a community close to Ferguson, Missouri, came together on National Hunting and Fishing Day to experience the joys of the outdoors. Attendees learned about BB gun shooting, white-tailed deer management, bird watching, archery and much more. Youth also made their own bamboo fishing poles, met Smokey Bear and enjoyed a fried catfish lunch.
Redding Chapter, California – JAKES Hunting Heritage Award
The Redding Chapter created an in-depth program to guide 25 new hunters through preseason preparation for turkey hunting – completion of a hunter education course, wild turkey biology, turkey hunting tactics, patterning a shotgun and in-the-field scouting. The program also included a mentored turkey hunt. Numerous partners and dedicated volunteers came together to make this project a resounding success. The program was featured in the short film “Pass it On” from outdoor media group, Ventures West.
“There are few things more fulfilling than helping a child catch a fish for the first time, learn to shoot a bow or BB gun or simply find out there is an entire world to enjoy just out their front doors,” said George Thornton, NWTF CEO. “That is why our volunteers continue to engage the children of our communities. It is to offer the opportunity to experience things they otherwise may never get to do.”
In 1981, the NWTF saw a need to get youth outdoors and began the JAKES program. Xtreme JAKES was later added to provide teens with more advanced outdoor opportunities. JAKES Take Aim gives youth the chance to try target shooting, clay target shooting and shotgunning in a safe, fun environment.
About Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
For more information, contact Peter Muller at (803) 637-7698.