NWTF Expands Renowned Calling Contest

EDGEFIELD, South Carolina — For the NWTF’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in Nashville, and from now on, the prestigious Grand National Custom Callmaking Contest will have a new Wildlife Art Division, as well as a new JAKES category, Pinfeathers, in the Wildlife Division Turkey hunting.

“We are beyond excited to expand our Grand National Custom Call Contest,” said NWTF Co-Executive Director Jason Burckhalter. “Year after year, we are amazed at the level of talent and artistic expertise that our call makers bring to the table, not to mention their generous contribution to our mission through their artistic prowess. We can’t wait to see what our artist collective has been up to over the past year.”

The new Wildlife Art Division will consist of three categories, Carved or Carved and Painted, Two-Dimensional Art, and Art/General, intentionally vague to include all artistic media. The Best of Show award will award the winner of one of the three categories a prize of $1,000.

To get youth involved in the contest, the new Pinfeathers category will allow NWTF JAKES members (under the age of 17) to collaborate with an adult NWTF member of their choice to create any turkey call. The youth can use whatever level of assistance he needs from her mentor to complete the entry. The winner of this category will receive a unique trophy with the names of the winner and the mentor engraved together.

“When I was 5 years old, my grandfather gave me a booth call,” said Bob Fulcher, a dedicated NWTF volunteer and past Grand National Call Maker of the Year winner. “That call changed my life; it’s what planted the seed and that’s probably why I’m a NWTF volunteer, why I started turkey hunting, mentoring and making turkey calls. I hope this new division puts young people on the same trajectory to become hardcore conservationists who give back.”

Turkey’s call taking has been woven into the fabric of the NWTF; Since the organization’s founding in 1973, call makers in Turkey, whether custom call makers or call companies, provided the soul of the NWTF in those early years, buying advertising space on call from turkey magazine; donate thousands of calls to use as prizes, new member sign-up bonuses, and auction items at fundraisers; presentation or assistance in the delivery of seminars; play important roles at conventions; and generally helping to spread the NWTF message to eager turkey hunters. The dedication, spirit, innovation and craftsmanship of these callers still rings true nearly 50 years later.

Making personalized calls has gained traction and popularity over the years. Custom calls are not only sought after by collectors and hunters looking for the purest turkey sounds, but creating custom turkey calls has become one of those rare instances where art and sport collide.

The Grand National Custom Callout Contest was born on the principle of supporting the mission of the NWTF while also providing a nationwide platform for callout makers to showcase their talents.

This year’s contest will take place at the NWTF 50th Anniversary Celebration in Nashville, Tennessee, February 15-19.

Visit personalized calls.nwtf.org for more information, or contact customcalls@nwtf.net with questions

Register for the NWTF 50the anniversary celebration here.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested more than half a billion dollars in wildlife conservation and has conserved or improved more than 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to advance wildlife conservation, forest resiliency, and robust recreational opportunities across the US by working beyond borders at the landscape scale.

2023 is the 50th of the NWTF the anniversary and an opportunity to push the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. for his 50 the 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 the people of NWTF; and raise $5 million to build a $50 million endowment for the future. Find out how you can help us achieve these lofty goals.