NWTF’s State Chapters Busy Making More Places to Hunt
Courtesy of National Wild Turkey Federation
TENNESSEE | ALABAMA | KANSAS | WEST VIRGINIA | IOWA | WYOMING | OHIO | NORTH CAROLINA
NWTF's Alabama State Chapter has a dedicated account to help fund land purchases.
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Photo Courtesy of the National Wild Turkey
The NWTF’s Alabama State Chapter continues to make public hunting access a priority by designating 20 percent of their funds to land purchases each year.
In February of 2008 the state chapter donated $34,000 toward the purchase of 1,038 acres of land on Lauderdale Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
"Just 10 years ago, the state did not own any land within the Lauderdale WMA," said Ron Eakes, Alabama Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries' supervising wildlife biologist for District 1. "The DCNR had separate leases and agreements with many landowners, and had no authority to manage the land according to the practices that would be most beneficial to wildlife."
Most recently, the NWTF's Alabama State Chapter helped purchase land from multiple private owners to consolidate ownership within the Lauderdale WMA. According to Eakes, combining small parcels of land within a larger area makes managing and accessing land easier, and reduces the chances of hunters accidentally trespassing on privately-owned land.
So, NWTF volunteers donated money from the Alabama Chapter's Hunting Heritage Super Fund to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to help purchase 11 tracts of land, which are now available for public hunting as part of the WMA.
When an appraisal is necessary, NWTF hires an appraiser immediately after receiving a request from the DCNR. Because the appraisal is paid for with donated funds, it simplifies the process of purchasing land and helps keep the state agency competitive.
"Because the DCNR is a state agency, they must complete a lengthy bidding process before obtaining appraisals," said Joe Koloski, NWTF regional biologist for Alabama. "Often, landowners are unable to wait long enough before selling their land to accommodate the state's bidding requirements, so the DCNR loses to buyers that can complete a purchase more quickly."
The NWTF's commitment to allocating one-fifth of their funds to land purchases provides the DCNR a source of money every year.
"The Alabama State NWTF Chapter has assisted with the purchases of 8,430 acres on the Lauderdale WMA since 2002," Eakes said. "Most of those land acquisitions would have been impossible without help from the NWTF because completing the sales in a timely manner was vital. If we can't move quickly with land purchases, we're out of the game."