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Local Arizona Chapter Awarded with National Conservation Field Day Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NWTF Huachuca Gould’s Chapter of Arizona was presented with the NWTF’s Conservation Field Day Award for the chapter’s annual work helping the Arizona Department of Fish and Wildlife conduct a survey that is vital to understanding and conserving the population of the state’s unique wild turkey subspecies.

February 17, 20242 min read

Representatives from the chapter accepted the award at the NWTF’s 48 Annual Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

“The Huachuca Gould’s Chapter is the most active group of conservationists I know, and I am lucky enough to work events and share camps with them,” said Roy Crain, NWTF Arizona State Chapter president. “When it comes to conservation, these folks walk the walk and talk the talk.”

In a dedicated effort to support wildlife conservation and monitor the population dynamics of Gould's wild turkeys, the Huachuca Gould's Chapter collaborated with the AGFD to conduct an essential turkey survey in southeastern Arizona. The NWTF chapter has been assisting the department with this effort since 2005. From April 14-16, 2023, surveyors and volunteers meticulously covered more than 20 routes in the Huachuca Mountains and Canelo Hills of southeastern Arizona.

The annual survey garnered strong participation, with approximately 35 individuals forming a diverse group of surveyors and supportive volunteers. This assembly included representatives from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Huachuca Gould's Chapter members, personnel from the University of Arizona and others.

Gould's wild turkeys were introduced to southeastern Arizona in two batches, in 1983 and 1987, with nine and 12 turkeys released, respectively, at Fort Huachuca from Yecora, Mexico. The early 1990s witnessed a period of abundant rainfall that contributed to the turkeys' thriving population. In response to this growth, John Millican, the NWTF Huachuca Gould's Chapter president, and Fort Huachuca biologist Sheridan Stone initiated the Gould’s surveys.

Initially, the surveys sought to evaluate the overall state of the Gould's turkey population in the 1990s. Yet, following a DNA study, the surveys transformed to actively contribute to the management of Gould's turkeys. They played a pivotal role in recognizing the growth of subpopulations within the mountain range, understanding habitat preferences and assessing yearly recruitment rates. Over time, the compiled data aids the Arizona Game and Fish Department in understanding population fluctuations, enabling a long-term approach to harvest management. This data-driven insight also shapes future hunt permit allocations for Gould's turkeys.

“The Huachuca Gould’s are a shining example of how the NWTF grassroots volunteers are making a substantial impact,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “Their collaboration with the department and their volunteer leadership have provided valuable insight into the Gould’s subspecies. This illustrates how our local chapters can get involved with conservation efforts. We are proud to award them for their efforts with the Conservation Field Day 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 positively impacted over 23 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The NWTF has also invested over $9 million into wild turkey research to guide the management of the wild turkey population and to ensure sustainable populations into perpetuity. The organization continues to deliver its mission by working across boundaries on a landscape scale through its Four Shared Values: clean and abundant water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and robust recreational opportunities. With the help of its dedicated members, partners and staff, the NWTF continues its work to provide Healthy Habitats. and Healthy Harvests. for future generations.

Filed Under:
  • Convention and Sport Show
  • Wild Turkey Research
  • Wildlife Management