“Little did I know, the first time I heard a wild turkey gobbler 37 years ago would have such a profound impact on my life,” Hickman said. “Since then until now, I’ve been obsessed with turkeys, turkey hunting and conservation. Protecting the things that I love and trying to give back more than I take. That’s why I became a member of the NWTF 37 years ago and have been a part of its mission ever since.”
Hickman received one of four Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service awards during the NWTF’s 50th anniversary celebration at its 47th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.
The NWTF presents Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service awards to members who are not employed as professional wildlife managers but have made significant contributions to wild turkey conservation.
Hickman helped create his home chapter, the Tennessee River Longbeards, as well as others across the state, and has been a committee member for 22 years, including serving as president. His chapter has been recognized as one of the top chapters in Tennessee for attendance, JAKES memberships and gross revenue.
Additionally, Hickman has served on the NWTF Tennessee State Chapter Board of Directors as a past president and Super Fund committee member and has been instrumental in guiding funds to local chapters for habitat improvement, wildlife seed programs and funding for trapping and tagging wild turkeys for research purposes.
Hickman was heavily involved with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in the late 1980s as part of the trapping and relocation program of wild turkeys from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area to surrounding Tennessee counties. He has led by example in supporting Tennessee state game laws by appearing on popular podcasts, such as “Outdoors with Larry Rhea,” discussing game laws, violations and more.
In all his capacities as an NWTF volunteer, Hickman always looks for ways to use funding to help mitigate the loss of healthy habitats, preserve public hunting and fishing opportunities, build rapport with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency partners to further enhance the conservation of the wild turkey.
Hickman’s participation on podcasts, televised Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission meetings, mentoring at JAKES events, numerous speaking engagements at the St. Jude Hunt for a Cure, and Covenant Ranch, led him to be awarded the coveted 2019 Tennessee Outdoorsman of the Year award for his tireless efforts to help others enjoy Tennessee’s outdoors and help to preserve and protect our resources.
“Keith’s work conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage in the Volunteer State spans decades,” NWTF co-CEO Jason Burckhalter said. “The impact of his volunteerism is felt across the state, and we are proud to honor him with our Roger M. Latham Service Award.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.
2023 is the NWTF's 50th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization's mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50-year celebration, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the NWTF's people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.