From the first research project funded in the 1970s, to the multimillion-acre restoration initiatives going on today, conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage has always been — and always will be — the backbone of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Operating as a federation, the NWTF employs biologists, foresters and fundraising staff, and invests in research and habitat enhancement projects at a regional level, tackling the most pressing issues a particular state or region may face.
NWTF has had a long history of partnering with the Forest Service and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency on the national forest to enhance wildlife habitat and improve access and opportunities for hunters on Cherokee National Forest.
The NWTF is proud of its multiple roles within the America’s Longleaf Initiative, which focuses conservation delivery throughout America’s Southern Piney Woods – part of the NWTF’s America’s Big Six of Wildlife Conservation – and specifically focuses on the Southern Flatwoods Focal Landscape.
The NWTF and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are working together to provide better access and infrastructure for sportsmen and women on 10 new and expanded wildlife management areas throughout the state.
The NWTF is at the forefront of working with Congress and state governments alike, acting as a nonpartisan entity solely to further laws that bolster NWTF’s conservation efforts and sportsmen’s advocacy.
The NWTF and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Forestry Division recently collaborated to enhance 4,750 acres on Arkansas’ Poison Springs State Forest, which is part of the NWTF’s Mid-South Rebirth in its Big 6 Regions of Conservation.
The NWTF has been working closely with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to reintroduce the Eastern wild turkey to its historic range in east Texas through the Eastern Wild Turkey Super Stocking Project.
The NWTF is continuing longstanding, and what has become regimented, teamwork with numerous partners to improve habitat for wild turkeys and many other wildlife in the Huron-Manistee National Forest near Muskegon, Michigan.
While it is easy to attribute fire, in general, to destruction and ruin, not all fires are ruinous; in fact, many landscapes and the wildlife that inhabit them, thrive from strategic prescribed burning.
Located on Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ T.M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area and part of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, the Bolar Mountain Burn Project is a forest restoration and habitat enhancement project between the NWTF and numerous partners.
Considering the over 40 years of successful partnership between the NWTF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is easy to say that the shared stewardship approach taken to benefit natural resources is a well-oiled machine that delivers results.
To better enhance and conserve wildlife habitat and forested areas in its America’s Crossroads Focal Region, the NWTF employs three foresters that deliver technical assistance and facilitate cost-sharing opportunities to private landowners.
Helping fund cooperative biologist and forester positions with partners from all corners of the conservation industry is a common strategy the NWTF implements to enhance wildlife habitat and properly manage forests.
While 2020 was a tempestuous year to say the least, there are still many reasons to be thankful as we wrap up the holiday season. Not only have the last couple years been great for conservation legislation, but this recent Christmas marked the 50th anniversary of the USDA Forest Service providing the Capitol Christmas Tree.
The NWTF and other partners collaborated to fund a cooperative forester position to facilitate projects and enrollment in the Arkansas Bottomland Hardwood Conservation Partnership Initiative and NRCS’ Wetland Reserve Easement program in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
Since 2011, the NWTF has been a partner in the West-Central Louisiana Ecosystem Partnership, a group of conservation-minded organizations interested in restoring and maintaining the longleaf pine ecosystem throughout central Louisiana.
The NWTF and USDA Forest Service partnered on the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, part of the NWTF’s Shawnee Hills area of focus, to improve forest health and wildlife habitat on 550 acres.
Forests in southeastern Ohio have been evolving, often to their detriment, since the earliest wave of European American settlers moved into the state in the early 1800s. One of the most alarming changes is the steady loss of the mighty oaks that once dominated the forest canopy.
The NWTF partnered with Cal Fire, Great Basin Institute, USDA Forest Service, Mule Deer Foundation and University of Nevada, Reno on the Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Monument for the Eshom Ecological Project.
The NWTF and the many conservation organizations that make up the Northeast Texas Conservation Delivery Network recently worked with private landowners in 29 northeast Texas counties to restore wildlife habitat.
The NWTF recently partnered with Woodscamp Technologies Inc. to seek out and provide free technical assistance to interested landowners in northern Alabama, part of the NWTF’s Tennessee River and Oconee-Piedmont Focal Landscape.
The NWTF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leveraged funds to assist the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ purchase of a 174-acre property near Castana, Iowa, part of the NWTF’s Loess Hills Focal Landscape.
The NWTF partnered with New York Department of Environmental Conservation and other conservation organizations to convert a 40-acre forested area to a grassland on the Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area in Erieville, New York.
The NWTF, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Forest Service, Nebraska Game and Park Commission and the Boy Scouts of America partnered to enhance habitat in the Chadron State Park in Chadron, Nebraska.
Contributing to one’s local wildlife habitat has never been easier — for a small fee, you get an exclusive, state-specific NWTF license plate for your vehicle, and those additional funds help proliferate and manage wild turkey populations and enhance habitat for many other game and nongame species.
The NWTF collaborated with the Upper South Platte Partnership – including Denver Water – USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, Colorado State Forest Service and others to facilitate forest restoration efforts in NWTF’s Rocky Mountain Focal Landscape; this partnership is known as the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative.
The NWTF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted controlled burns on the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge, a nearly 39,000-acre unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses parts of both Mississippi and Louisiana.
The NWTF contributed to a two-year project to convert 25 existing log decks on the Big Woods Wildlife Management Area and the bordering Big Woods State Forest in Sussex County, Virginia, into a wildlife and pollinator habitat.
The NWTF recently completed a collaborative, multi-year habitat improvement project with the USDA Forest Service on the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest, a nearly 1 million-acre forest in northern Georgia.
As part of the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative, the NWTF partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to help restore longleaf pine ecosystems on public land in southeast Georgia.
Through the USDA Forest Service Legacy Program, the NWTF and other conservation organizations contributed towards the purchase and conservation of 4,350 acres of scenic canyon lands in the NWTF’s Black Hills Focal Landscape.
Rowan Mason, TC Energy, and Roy Van Houten, Davey Tree and Wetlands Services, demonstrated the impact of shared stewardship across energy rights of way during one of Energy for Wildlife sessions at the NWTF National Convention and Sport Show, hosted by NWTF Director of Energy Partnerships Steve Barlow.
The NWTF, USDA Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation leveraged a total of $67,500 for controlled burning to stimulate a variety of plant species in NWTF’s Northern Rocky Mountain focal landscape.
The NWTF, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Pheasants Forever partnered for a habitat improvement project on private lands along the Touchet River, part of NWTF’s Western Wildlands Focal Region.
The National Wild Turkey Federation provided funds to construct barbed-wire fencing and establish reliable water sources within a 250-acre native-grass tract at the Wilson Wildlife Area in Russell County, Kansas.
The NWTF contributed to the Stowe Land Trust’s purchase of a 750-acre parcel of forest in Stowe, Vermont, preserving the now public land and enabling use by future generations of outdoorsmen and women.
The NWTF, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and The Nature Conservancy have joined forces for a second year, using prescribed fire to enrich longleaf pine forest habitat across public wildlife management areas in North Carolina.
The NWTF, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various other wildlife organizations demonstrated shared stewardship in what was a multiyear wildlife habitat restoration in the Missouri River Breaks region of central Montana.
12,500 acres of land are open for public access in the Loess Canyon area of Nebraska, thanks in part to the contributions from the National Wild Turkey Federation and a variety of other partners to Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s via the Canyon Access Initiative.
The National Wild Turkey Federation and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks are collaborating to improve habitat and hunting quality in the Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area.
The National Wild Turkey Federation and the Missouri Department of Conservation teamed up to improve and increase open lands and wild turkey brood habitat at the Truman Reservoir, an area experiencing low hatch rates.
This is an excerpt from the revised report “Introduction to Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems” authored by the USDA Forest Service, Research and Development Southern Research Station in August 2012, revised 2015 and 2018.
NWTF Super Funds in Kansas have been provided to support prescribed burning on both private and public lands to improve many acres of wildlife habitat by controlling undesirable woody species and improving grass and forb species.
Missouri’s New Hunter Recruitment Dove Field Initiative is a cooperative effort between the NWTF, Quail Forever, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Missouri Prairie Foundation and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The NWTF collaborated with the USDA Forest Service and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on the Frenchtown Face Project – a project just west of Missoula, Montana, focused on prescribed burning and thinning ground cover in the Lolo National Forest to help wildlife and improve habitat.
Through a Fiscal Year 2019 Oklahoma NWTF Super Fund grant to the Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association, equip local prescribed burning associations to enable prescribed burning operations on private lands throughout focal landscapes in in south central, north central and northeastern counties.
Tools and techniques include hand-felling with chainsaws, lopping and scattering, girdling and mechanical piling to remove ponderosa pine and spruce from within and around aspen, birch and bur oak stands in the Sugarloaf project area.
The NWTF’s Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is now focused on maintaining those healthy, sustainable and huntable wild turkey populations for generations to come. An important part of doing that is active habitat management, which includes the use of prescribed burning or prescribed fire.
The NWTF has found a unique way to support their continued R3 efforts in Georgia. Lynn Lewis, NWTF conservation field manager, certified wildlife biologist and a steering committee member of the Georgia R3 Initiative, plans and hosts the annual steering committee meeting.
With budget constraints, sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands has become a challenge. Using partnerships, such as the one with the NWTF, the work is being completed.
John D. Burk, NWTF district biologist for Missouri and Illinois, said the NWTF and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have worked to re-establish open woodland areas at Siloam Springs State Park in Adams and Brown counties and Hidden Springs State Park in Shelby County.
The NWTF’s 42nd annual Convention and Sport Show’s Conservation Conference brought together nongovernmental organizations, government partners, private companies and more interested in helping to preserve our nation’s precious wildlife.
A new exhibit at the Allegany State Park Administration Building Museum commemorates the park’s role in trapping and transferring wild turkeys to other areas within New York and other Northeastern states.
Developing safe fire breaks and creating small openings in timber, planting of shortleaf pine and using controlled burns minimize the long-term effects of devastating wildfires in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest and the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area
Work to improve habitat for a variety of wildlife will now be conducted year-round across Colorado thanks to a unique new public-private partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Colorado State Land Board and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Five-year oak woodland and grassland restoration project to boost populations of Rio Grande wild turkeys, northern bobwhite quail, other grassland birds and white-tailed deer from south-central Oklahoma to southeast Texas
“We can’t do the work that we want to do without state agencies,” explained Ricky. “We’re just a nonprofit so to have a partner like FWC is crucial, it’s critical. We could not even come close to making the impact we do without them.”
At a recent meeting of the NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter’s board of directors, funding was allocated to assist Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in the acquisition of a nearly 1,400-acre property located in Osage County, Oklahoma.
Cooperative efforts near Bison, South Dakota, by the USDA Forest Service and the NWTF are improving habitat for many animals, including ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, Merriam’s wild turkeys, deer and elk.