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Conservation

Since its inception in 1973, the NWTF has provided the foundation for wild turkey conservation throughout North America.

hardwood forest

A Culture of Conservation

As we address fluctuations in wild turkey populations across the country, it’s worth emphasizing that wild turkey conservation is dynamic, just like the world around us. The challenges the wild turkey faced in the mid-20th century were much different than what it faces today. The ebb and flow of wild turkey populations and the factors that affect these trends are being intensively studied. There is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all approach to the solution. Causes for population declines in many parts of the country cannot be over simplified, and the NWTF is actively engaged in the ongoing science and research investigating these complex and multifaceted issues.

turkey with a band on its foot
Photo Credit: David Gladkowski

What Does Our Conservation Delivery Look Like?


Research

Since the organization’s inception, the NWTF has contributed over $8 million to crucial wild turkey research projects, with average annual investments of approximately $100,000, which is then leveraged further through partnership-matched funding.

The NWTF supports and helps coordinate the Wild Turkey Symposium, bringing together the greatest minds in wild turkey research to gather and share their findings. The research that has resulted from this consortium of agency and academic scientists and NWTF biologists has driven wild turkey management across the country and is the core science responsible for the comeback of the wild turkey and addressing the declines we are experiencing in some areas.

To balance the future needs of wild turkey research, the NWTF is working through NWTF Technical Committee members (state agency representatives to the NWTF) and with the Western, Mid-Western, Northeastern and Southeastern Associations of Wildlife Agencies to outline future research needs that will help guide priorities and identify the best places for the NWTF to invest in research.

Creating Healthy Habitats

Creating wild turkey habitat is where the NWTF pours the majority of its resources because we know that this is the most effective way to benefit wild turkeys on a scale that makes a difference. In the last nine years alone, the NWTF has exceeded conserving and enhancing 4 million acres of wildlife habitat (more than 21 million acres since the NWTF was founded) to benefit wild turkeys.

prescribed burn in a pine forest

The NWTF conservatively leverages funding 4-to-1, meaning for every dollar raised by our dedicated volunteers, members and staff, we turn it into four dollars at an absolute minimum. It’s not uncommon to see our dollars being leveraged at an even higher rate. That’s why our 30-plus-year partnership with the USDA Forest Service is so strong; it’s why our partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is rapidly growing; and it’s why we are often engaged to improve habitat by an array of other partners, ranging from state wildlife agencies, state forestry agencies, non-governmental organizations, private organizations and private donors.

Policy

On Capitol Hill and at capital buildings across the nation, we advocate on behalf of our federal land management partners, such as the Forest Service and NRCS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, to better fund forest and grassland restoration and reforestation efforts. Those efforts have a direct impact on wild turkey habitat while also reducing risks of wildfire, improving water for millions of people and increasing hunting opportunities on federal lands.

NWTF staff has been at the table to help craft the language of the Farm Bill’s conservation title, the Great American Outdoors Act, the Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act, the Trillion Trees Act and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to name just a few.

At the state level, our staff works closely with state chapters and partners to identify and engage in policy and regulations that affect conservation, hunters, outdoors enthusiasts and our ability to fundraise.

Through action alerts, letter-writing campaigns, legislative testimony and other forums, the NWTF is proactively protecting our lifestyle and working with state wildlife agencies to reduce barriers to conservation delivery.

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