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Your Superfund Dollars at work:

The North American Wild Turkey Management Plan

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallapavo), the largest gallinaceous bird in North America, exists in a variety of habitats thourghout its range. This now abundant bird was almost forced to extinction in the early 1900s through unregualted hunting and improper land management. Today, the wild turkey population is more than 7 million birds strong thanks to state, federal, and provincial agencies and hunters across North America who supported restoration efforts. Currently, wild turkeys can be found in 49 states, 7 Canadian provinces, and across Mexico.

As the need to trap and transfer wild turkeys becomes less necessary, it is critically important to look toward the future of North America's greatest game birds and work to make sure that the future is bright. The North American Wild Turkey Management Plan: An Integrated Approach to Wildlife Management, is designed to do just that.

Mission: To ensure that wild turkey populations and their habitats are managed and conserved to benefit all associated wildlife species through collaborative conservation.

The North American Wild Turkey Management Plan is a compilation of regional and state/provincial plans that will outline goals to help wildlife management agencies and the NWTF's dedicated volunteers target the most important factors in wild turkey conservation and protecting our hunting traditions.

In support of the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan and the continued efforts of wild turkey conservation and the preservation of the hunting tradition, the NWTF's Missouri State Chapter and its members have spent more than $2.8 million in Missouri since 1985. The money has been raised through Hunting Heritage Banquets abd administered jointly by the NWTF, its state chapters and state wildlife agencies. The Missouri State Chapter's priorities fall into four categories: Habitat Enhancement, Hunter Access, Wild Turkey Research, and Outreach.

Habitat Enhancement Goals:

  1. Expand and support prescribed fire efforts during the next five years throughout the state.
  2. Increase timber stand improvement on private forests to thin overstocked forests creating open woodland habitats preferred by turkeys and other wildlife species
  3. Restore savanna and woodland habitat
  4. Assist in the restoration and expansion of native warm season grass habitats

Hunter Access Goals:

  1. Advocate the concept of no net loss of public hunting lands
  2. Promote public land access and hunting in state, federal, and local land management plans
  3. Support legislation and programs that preserve hunting and/or reduce the threat of urbanization of private lands
  4. Continue to work with corporate partners and other industrial landowners to provide more hunting opportunities
  5. Reduce landowner concerns about hunting and access issues through targeted educational programs
  6. Work to influence legislation and funding fro programs that provide critical long-term land access opportunities for hunters
  7. Strengthen grassroots involvement in public land management planning.

Wild Turkey Research Goals:  Partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation, other agencies, and local universities to address issues of concern to the turkey resource as they arise. Continue to support existing gobbling chronology study to address concern of season structure and investigate declining turkey populations in southwest and northeast Missouri.

Outreach: Continue offering support to local chapters to help fund JAKES (annually about 60 events), Women in the Outdoors (annually about 24 events), Wheelin' Sportsmen (annually about 12 events), local scholarships (annually about 85), and education boxes (annually about 70 schools).

For more information on the National Wild Turkey Federation or to attend an NWTF banquet in your area, please call 1-800-THE-NWTF or visit the Web site at www.nwtf.org