Since its inception in 1973, the NWTF has provided the foundation for wild turkey conservation throughout North America.
The NWTF has always been a research-driven organization. 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.
Since the organization’s inception, the NWTF has contributed over $9 million to crucial wild turkey research projects. The combined commitment of our state chapters’ Super Fund contributions and the NWTF’s national investment in wild turkey research in 2022-2023 is $1.2 million.
This shows that when there is a challenge, the NWTF and its volunteers rally to solve it.
Projects receiving 2023 funding:
Projects receiving 2022 funding:
The NWTF Technical Committee is comprised of wild turkey biologists from nearly every state natural resource agency who act as liaisons between the NWTF and state natural resources agencies to effectively manage wild turkey populations and deliver conservation that benefits turkeys in a particular state.
Originally assembled in 1976 with just 35 states represented, the Technical Committee has been a part of the NWTF mission almost since the NWTF’s inception (1973), and it has grown to include 49 states. The Technical Committee continues to be the leading force in bolstering populations, creating hunting opportunities and addressing wild turkey management challenges throughout the U.S.
“The interstate trapping and transferring of wild turkeys, the design of the boxes used, the introduction of rocket nets, novel research that guided successful management — when we think of all the iconic moments in the wild turkey success story, they are almost always the result of the NWTF Technical Committee’s efforts,” said Mark Hatfield, NWTF’s director of conservation services. “In addition to all the success over the years, one of the Technical Committee’s greatest gifts was the research culture of wild turkey management they established.”
Wild turkey biology and management is somewhat of a specialized field; biologists who are as passionate about it as those on NWTF’s Technical Committee are few and far between. The Technical Committee streamlines communication between these biologists nationwide so they can better share issues they are facing, as well as solutions and new findings.
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.