Despite 50 years of unparalleled conservation delivery and the realization of what is regarded as the most acclaimed conservation story in America, many factors today are resulting in the loss of healthy habitats and a decrease in wild turkey populations.
The health of the North American wild turkey population has diminished since 2004, with surveys showing a decline of 10-15% over the past 15 years. Also alarming, the number of turkey hunters have declined over the same period.
Insufficient habitat management, the fragmentation and development of previously untouched lands, decreased public support of hunting, reduced funding and resources, less turkey hunters to conserve and revere this iconic bird — there are numerous challenges that are undoing much of the hard-fought work the NWTF and its partners have accomplished over the last nearly 50 years.
While there are many challenges ahead, it’s not all bad news; this is where NWTF’s Help The Yelp Project comes in.
(Photo Credit: Jami Linder)
This year, the NWTF established the Help The Yelp Project, a laser-focused campaign designed specifically to bring all turkey hunters into the NWTF as active participants and stewards of the organization’s mission to conserve the wild turkey and preserve our hunting heritage.
Simply put, Help The Yelp is a call to action for all turkey hunters and conservationists.
Both aspects of NWTF’s mission directly benefit wild turkey hunters, so it goes without saying that we need to bring all turkey hunters into the flock. If all turkey hunters in America united under one roof, the strides we could make as a monolith would be profound.
Over the years, the NWTF has seen firsthand the power of community awareness and support. The association and fellowship of hunters and outdoorsmen and women willing to work collaboratively to find and work towards innovative and effective solutions is, and always will be, the lifeblood of conservation.
The objectives of the Help The Yelp Project are as follows:
Objective 1: Increase national awareness of the risk to the wild turkey and other interrelated game and non-game species.
Objective 2: Recruit 250,000 turkey hunters into the NWTF as active participants in our mission.
Objective 3: Recruit 200 small businesses to participate in the project by providing awareness and localized, grassroots support, where possible.
Objective 4: Recruit 20 large businesses to participate in the project by providing awareness.
What Can Happen if We Achieve Our Goals?
A successful Help The Yelp Project will have a tremendous impact on the health of wild turkey populations and their habitats across the United States and will greatly boost opportunities for hunters and outdoorsmen and women to continue living and loving their lifestyle. More specifically, a successful project means:
• Additional wild turkey research across the U.S.
• Increased and improved habitat management
• Improved habitat connectivity
• Increased health of the wild turkey population
• Increased social support and acceptance of hunting
(Photo Credit: David Gladkowski)
What Can You Do to Help The Yelp?
Help us spread awareness and grow support!
Many of you may remember a time when few wild turkeys roamed the landscape. A huge part of their resurgence is attributed to the passionate hunters and conservationists who felt it was their duty to partner with the NWTF and ensure the population of this iconic bird remained healthy.
Today, however, with the population in decline, hundreds of thousands of wild turkey hunters have not yet opted-in to help. And without their support, we can’t outpace the challenges and risks to North America’s wild turkey population. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining, and Help The Yelp.