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Photo Credit: Chester Moore.

Wild Turkey Research to Receive Nearly $9 Million from NWTF and Partners

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — At its National Leadership Conference in Ridgedale, Missouri, the National Wild Turkey Federation revealed its 2023 investment in wild turkey ecology research, the largest the NWTF has made in a given year toward research: $582,374 dispersed among 10 vital projects across nine states. With partner support, the NWTF’s 2023 investment into wild turkey research will be leveraged to nearly $9 million.

NWTF June 27, 20233 min read

“Wild turkey populations are experiencing declines and have become unstable in some states, varying significantly from year to year,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “How we collectively manage them over the next decade will determine whether future generations experience this tremendous resource as we do today. Our 2023 investment supports many important projects that will address declines and push the broader understanding of the wild turkey and its life history, having applications across state lines and effectively guiding future management of this bird we love.” 

Photo Credit: Joe Foster
Photo Credit: Joe Foster

Projects for 2023 funding include:

  • Florida: Integrating Data Sources to Quantify Wild Turkey Abundance Now and in the Future.
  • Florida: Reproduction and Gobbling Chronology of Osceola Wild Turkeys.
  • Iowa: Identification of Mammalian Predators of Wild Turkey Nests and Females Using Genetic Techniques.
  • Kansas: Wild Turkey Poult Foraging Ecology and Nutrient Availability.
  • Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas: A Distribution Level Health Assessment of Rio Grande Wild Turkeys.
  • Mississippi: Novel Approaches to Estimating Wild Turkey Populations Parameters (year 2).
  • Nebraska: Evaluating the Spatial Distribution of Potential Wild Turkey Nest Predators in Western Nebraska.
  • Oklahoma: Wild Turkey Population Ecology and Disease Monitoring.
  • Tennessee: Investigating Fertility Rates and Causes of Early Embryonic Death in Wild Turkey Eggs throughout the U.S.
  • Wisconsin: Eastern Wild Turkey Recruitment Metrics, Poult Survival and Population Trends from Trail Cameras and Movement Data of Marked Birds (pending agency budget approval).

“The NWTF’s investment in these critical projects is made possible by generous contributions from the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund; Mossy Oak; and the NWTF South Carolina, Tennessee and Nebraska state chapters,” NWTF co-CEO Jason Burckhalter said. “Our partners and volunteers understand the pivotal role research plays in ensuring wild turkeys are thriving across the landscape, and we cannot thank them enough for their commitment to our mission.”

Projects were ranked and scored by the NWTF’s conservation staff and the NWTF Wild Turkey Technical Committee on the applicability of the projects, scientific rigor, partner engagement and matching funds.  

“We have always been a research-driven organization,” said Mark Hatfield, NWTF national director of conservation services. “However, the unstable and declining wild turkey population across the country is cause for an aggressive investment to ensure wild turkeys remain a staple on the landscape for all who revere the bird. That is why we are now funding 16 unique research projects at a national level, which is complementary to the projects our state chapters are funding. What’s more, the combined commitment of our state chapters' Super Fund contributions and the NWTF’s national investment in wild turkey research in the last 12 months totals over $1.2 million. This shows that when there is a challenge, the NWTF and its volunteers rally to solve it.”  

The announcement of the NWTF’s 2023 investment in wild turkey research comes on the heels of a remarkable year (2022) for wild turkey research, including the conclusion of the 12th National Wild Turkey Symposium, the announcement of the 13th National Wild Turkey Symposium in 2025, NWTF’s $360,000 investment and notable contributions to wild turkey research efforts from NWTF state chapters across the country.

Significant funding for the NWTF’s 2023 research investment was made possible through the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, a nonprofit that is driven by the sportsmen and women who round up their purchases made at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations nationwide.  

“Conservation lies at the heart of who we are at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, said Bob Ziehmer, senior director of conservation for Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. “We recognize the importance that wildlife research continues to play in long-term sustainability of our natural resources, including wild turkey populations. We’re proud to invest a half a million dollars this year with the National Wild Turkey Federation. This investment not only addresses priority research and conservation strategies but empowers a bright future for the wild turkey across North America.”

As new projects begin, the NWTF will provide overviews, updates and illustrate how these projects will make a lasting impact on the wild turkey population.

For more information about the NWTF’s investment in wild turkey research or its RFP program, contact Hatfield at

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 50th Anniversary, 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 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.

Filed Under:
  • Healthy Habitats
  • Healthy Harvests
  • Wild Turkey Research
  • Wildlife Management