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NWTF staff watching trapping presentations at the WAFWA meeting
Photo credit: Patt Dorsey
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Working Together for Turkeys at WAFWA’s Annual Workshop

EDGEFIELD, S.C. – The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies recently concluded its annual Western States Wild Turkey Workshop. Hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation this year, the event provided a crucial platform for leading wild turkey managers and researchers to share insights, discuss management strategies and address emerging challenges in wild turkey management across North America.

May 13, 20242 min read

The spring workshop rotates annually among host states and agencies, with this year's gathering landing in Cheyenne, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma NWTF State Chapter played a crucial role by providing funding support for the meeting, and the Oklahoma State Chapter President Lynn Hagerman was in attendance to show additional support for the NWTF’s commitment to advancing wild turkey conservation efforts.

The workshop served as a convergence point for state agency biologists, many of whom also serve as technical representatives for the NWTF, from WAFWA states. Together, they delved into the latest developments, celebrated accomplishments, tackled challenges and explored ongoing research in the realm of wild turkey management.

“It was an honor to host this year's meeting,” said Marcus Thibodeau, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation southwest region senior wildlife biologist. “Being able to get together as turkey biologists and ‘talk turkey’ and do some hands-on training helps all states involved manage turkeys better. The NWTF, especially Patt Dorsey and Jared McJunkin, played a huge part in the success of the meeting. Being able to serve as the person that introduces state biologists that have similar issues or projects really helps improve these habitat and research projects states are working on. Part of the meeting this year was a tour of a recent Waterways for Wildlife project at Packsaddle WMA, where over 2,000 acres of cedar trees were removed. So being able to show other state biologists and NWTF staff the success of this initiative was personally my favorite part.” 

Additionally, researchers from Oklahoma and Texas shared preliminary findings from ongoing research, a significant portion of which receives support from the NWTF. Agency staff from Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma also led a training session on trapping methods, including walk-in traps and air cannons, discussing the pros and cons of each technique.

Biologists set up air cannon netting for wild turkey trapping. Photo credit: Patt Dorsey
Biologists set up air cannon netting for wild turkey trapping. Photo credit: Patt Dorsey

Patt Dorsey and Jared McJunkin, serving as NWTF directors of conservation operations in the west and central regions respectively, delivered updates on NWTF activities within their respective regions. Their presentations offered a glimpse into the diverse range of initiatives and projects undertaken by the NWTF to promote conservation efforts. The NWTF’s Central Region spans six WAFWA states: Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and North Dakota. Meanwhile, the western region encompasses Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. District Biologists with the NWTF covering the WAFWA states were also in attendance.

“I will say this is an amazing group of wildlife professionals and I look forward to this annual meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies biologists overseeing wild turkey management for their respective states,” McJunkin said. “The NWTF has been an invited participant in the Western Wild Turkey Workshop for as long as I can remember and I have personally been attending since 2006. The NWTF is honored to be a part of this workshop and be in a position to learn more about how the NWTF can support the efforts of our state and federal agency partners to manage the wild turkey for the enjoyment of future generations.”

To learn more about The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and their annual Western States Wild Turkey Workshop, please visit their website here.

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