Stafford presented the National Lifetime Achievement Award

EDGEFIELD, SC — The National Wild Turkey Federation presented Jimmy Stafford, retired Wild Turkey and Small Game Coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife, with the Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award.

The NWTF announced Stafford’s award during the organization’s 50th anniversaryhe 47th anniversary celebrationhe NWTF annual convention and sports extravaganza, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

The Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a wildlife biologist, trapper or manager who has dedicated his or her career to the wild turkey and played a significant role in turkey restoration and management.

Stafford is a quintessential example of a state wildlife agency biologist who dedicated a career to wild turkey stewardship, as exemplified by Wayne Bailey.

For more than three decades, Stafford worked at nearly every level of conservation in his home state of Louisiana. His turkey trapping skills were an asset during the final phases of Louisiana’s restocking program and his hands-on management as a technician early in his career improved numerous acres for turkeys and other wildlife.

Since the late 1980s, LDWF has conducted one of the most extensive gobbler banding projects in the nation annually, and Stafford was instrumental in the success of that effort from its inception.

Stafford’s career culminated in his time as manager of the statewide wild turkey program, which allowed him to direct all aspects of turkey management, research and regulation in Louisiana. During his time in this position, the LDWF partnered with Louisiana State University to conduct several important studies that have had a significant impact on the understanding of the species.

Most notably, Stafford was a contributor to some of the early work that switched from VHF to GPS-based telemetry, which revolutionized wild turkey research and made GPS the standard in the field.

Even after leaving LDWF, Stafford couldn’t let go of his dedication to the iconic bird. He spent his early years of retirement writing “Louisiana Wild Turkeys: History, Science, Management and Hunting.” This book is one of his best of its kind and allowed Stafford to pour his lifelong knowledge of turkeys into a special blend of historical information, basic biology, practical management advice, and humble appreciation for the bird and its hunt. This work is accessible to a lay audience, yet authoritative enough for a professional’s shelf, and may well constitute the crowning achievement of an already impressive career.

“From research to habitat management to hunter advocacy, Jimmy’s dedicated career has advanced our understanding of wild turkeys and impacted our favorite game bird in all of the great state of Louisiana,” said co-director NWTF executive Kurt Dyroff. “We are proud to honor Jimmy’s immense legacy with the prestigious Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award.”

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 he anniversary and an opportunity to push the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. for his 50 he 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.