Wild Turkey Research will receive nearly $9 million from NWTF and partners

EDGEFIELD, SC — At its National Leadership Conference in Ridgedale, Missouri, the National Wild Turkey Federation unveiled its 2023 investment in wild turkey ecology research, the largest the NWTF has made in a given year for the investigation: $582,374 scattered among 10 vital projects in nine states. With partner support, NWTF’s 2023 investment in wild turkey research will be leveraged to nearly $9 million.

“Wild turkey populations are experiencing declines and have become unstable in some states, varying significantly from year to year,” said NWTF Co-Executive Director Kurt Dyroff. “How we collectively manage them over the next decade will determine whether future generations will experience this tremendous resource as we do today. Our 2023 investment supports many important projects that will address declines and drive a broader understanding of the wild turkey and its life history, having applications in every state and effectively guiding future management of this bird we love.”

Projects for 2023 funding include:

  • Florida: Integration of data sources to quantify abundance of wild turkeys now and in the future.
  • Florida: Osceola Wild Turkey Breeding and Gulping Timeline.
  • Iowa: Identification of Mammalian Nest Predators and Female Wild Turkeys Using Genetic Techniques.
  • Kansas: Wild turkey foraging ecology and nutrient availability.
  • Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas: An Assessment of the Ranged Health of Rio Grande Wild Turkeys.
  • Mississippi: Novel Approaches to Estimate Wild Turkey Population Parameters (Year 2).
  • Nebraska: Assessing the spatial distribution of potential nest predators of wild turkeys in western Nebraska.
  • Oklahoma: Wild turkey population ecology and disease monitoring.
  • Tennessee: Investigation of fertility rates and causes of early embryonic death in wild turkey eggs in the US.
  • Wisconsin: Metrics of eastern wild turkey recruitment, poult survival, and population trends from tracking cameras and tagged bird movement data (pending agency budget approval).

“NWTF’s investment in these critical projects is made possible by generous contributions from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund; mossy oak; and NWTF state chapters in South Carolina, Tennessee and Nebraska,” said NWTF Co-Executive Director Jason Burckhalter. “Our partners and volunteers understand the critical role research plays in ensuring that wild turkeys thrive in the landscape, and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment to our mission.”

Projects were ranked and scored by NWTF conservation staff and the NWTF Wild Turkey Technical Committee on project applicability, scientific rigor, partner participation, and matching funds.

“We’ve always been a research-driven organization,” said Mark Hatfield, NWTF’s national director of conservation services. “However, the unstable and declining population of wild turkeys across the country is reason for aggressive investment to ensure that wild turkeys remain a staple in the landscape for all who revere birds. That’s why we’re now funding 16 unique research projects nationwide, which is complementary to the projects our state chapters fund. In addition, the combined commitment of Super Fund contributions from our state chapters and the NWTF’s national investment in wild turkey research over the past 12 months amounts to more than $1.2 million. This shows that when there is a challenge, the NWTF and its volunteers come together to solve it.”

The announcement of the NWTF’s 2023 investment in wild turkey research comes on the heels of a remarkable year (2022) for wild turkey research, including the conclusion of the 12he National Wild Turkey Symposium, the announcement of the 13he National Wild Turkey Symposium in 2025, $360,000 investment from NWTF and notable contributions to wild turkey research efforts by NWTF state chapters across the country.

Significant funding for NWTF’s 2023 research investment was made possible through Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, a non-profit organization driven by athletes who round up their purchases made at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores throughout the country.

“Conservation is at the heart of who we are at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s,” said Bob Ziehmer, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s senior director of conservation. “We recognize the importance that wildlife research continues to play in the long-term sustainability of our natural resources, including wild turkey populations. We are proud to invest half a million dollars this year with the National Wild Turkey Federation. This investment not only addresses priority research and conservation strategies, but enhances a bright future for wild turkey in North America.”

As new projects begin, the NWTF will provide background information, updates, and illustrate how these projects will have a lasting impact on the wild turkey population.

For more information on the NWTF’s investment in wild turkey research or its RFP program, contact Hatfield at mhatfield@nwtf.net.

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 NWTFhe 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.