Florida Gator Gobblers take a bite out of habitat loss and hunter declines

The Gator Gobblers, a local NWTF chapter in Gainesville, Florida, received a $13,000 grant from the Wildlife Foundation of Florida for outreach events and habitat enhancement.

“This grant will help us continue our Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative, which focuses on wildlife habitat conservation and restoration as well as create new hunters through mentored hunting events,” said Missie Schneider president of the Gator Gobblers. “These events are designed to pass on the traditions of safe, ethical hunting and teach conservation principals.” 

While excited about the opportunities the WFF grant will facilitate, the Gator Gobblers are not new to R3 initiatives. The chapter has an extensive outreach program in Gainesville, specifically for new women and youth hunters. 

“We host two deer and two turkey hunts each year, recruiting 100 hunters every year,” Schneider said. “Over the past eight years, we have partnered with Suwannee River Water Management, St. Johns River Water Management, Alachua County, City of Hawthorne and Alachua Conservation Trust and have opened over 11,000 acres of preservation land for our hunts.”  

The chapter collaborated with the Alachua Conservation Trust on the grant from the WFF, with ACT spearheading the habitat enhancement on Little Orange Creek – a large land preservation where many of the outreach events have been hosted – while the Gator Gobblers run the women and youth hunts.  

“The funds from the WFF help offset the expenses of our hunts, paying for more equipment, supplies, food and such,” Schneider said.

“This type of leadership and determination provides the fuel to inspire other area chapters,” said Jeremy Collard, NWTF regional director for Florida. “There really is no limit to accomplishing the R3 goals we have laid out before us as an organization, and Missie and her crew have demonstrated that time and time again.” 

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