WELCOME TO TURKEYS FOR TOMORROW
What is Turkeys For Tomorrow? How did TFT get started?
TFT is a 501c3 non-profit conservation organization that was formed by a group of 14 veteran turkey hunters who were concerned about the decline of wild turkeys in areas they hunted. (June 2020) During that meeting the original 14 founders of Turkeys For Tomorrow came to the conclusion that to get the right answers we needed to identify and ask the right questions.
TFT is dedicated to improving turkey populations for future generations. Turkeys For Tomorrow (TFT), was born of a reunion of veteran turkey hunters who got together last June (2020) in central Alabama for a weekend of fellowship and good food. TFT received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in February (2021) and launched the website, www.turkeysfortomorrow.org. TFT just officially had a one year birthday!
“During that initial meeting, we agreed something was hurting turkey populations in many areas, especially the Southeast,” said Ron Jolly, TFT’s co-Board Chairman.
What is TFT aiming to accomplish? (How are we going to directly help turkeys?)
TFT’s Mission Statement:
We promote America’s hunting traditions, conservation, and education through the timeless collaboration of hunters and wildlife professionals to ensure we all have TURKEYS FOR TOMORROW.
The single goal of TFT is to help reverse the downward trend in wild turkey populations across the United States by asking the right questions, finding the right answers through sound research and funding professionals willing and able to answer those questions and implement practices that could reverse the downward trends seen in the wild turkey population.
Why is TFT’s mission important?
The TFT mission is important because turkeys need help and our mission is solely focused on wild turkeys. It is our intention to shine a bright light on the decline of wild turkeys and unite hunters to help with that cause.
What makes us different from other nonprofit wildlife conservation organizations?
TFT is different from other conservation organizations because we are focused solely on wild turkeys. Whether it be turkey research, turkey habitat, turkey advocacy or political issues and concerns, TFT focuses on wild turkeys and the reversal of the downward trend in populations.
Jim Ronquest, the co-Chair, added: “Conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation have been working for decades on behalf of the wild turkey, and we’re not trying to replace any of those groups. But we feel they can benefit from the involvement of a more grass-roots group, to work alongside them on identifying and funding habitat improvement projects and acting as an advocacy group for wild turkeys.”
In September of 2021, TFT in partnership with the Alabama Wildlife Federation, Auburn University led by Dr. Will Gulsby, University of Georgia led by Dr. Mike Chamberlain, and Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division announced a comprehensive effort to answer some of those questions. Those questions are:
How do habitat and hunting pressure affect gobbling and turkey abundance on public and private land?
Why is poult survival declining across the US?
What proportion of gobblers are fertile, and how should that factor into spring harvest of turkeys?
How do feral hogs impact wild turkeys?
Why are the projects important? (Why did we start in alabama?) (Why Auburn?)
TFT believes the answers to the questions concerning wild turkey decline can be found with sound research by competent wildlife professionals. Alabama is considered the cradle of modern spring turkey hunting. Auburn University is considered a pillar in the conservation research world. The first projects TFT is funding are taking place in Alabama because of solid funding partnerships and important questions that need to be answered.
“For the present, TFT will concentrate on the southeastern states, where the problem seems to be more serious,” Jolly said. “When our support base expands to the point that we can do it, we’ll start looking beyond this region for worthwhile projects to support.”
Altogether, the comprehensive study could provide a number of valuable insights into the problems facing wild turkeys in the southeastern United States.
Gulsby says that he hopes to start publishing results from the study within the next three or four years. And for turkey hunters in Alabama and neighboring Georgia, this information can’t come soon enough, as wildlife agencies in these states have already restructured their hunting regulations for 2022 in response to declining bird populations.
“Having more information on aspects of turkey reproduction allows us to better structure hunting regulations to match the species’ biology, ensuring sustainable populations in the future,” Gulsby said in a news release from Auburn University.
Why Join Turkeys for Tomorrow?
Today, one year later we are proud to say we believe we are asking the right questions. We believe we have the right people trying to find answers to those questions.
TFT wouldn’t be where are today without the help of many partners. The Alabama Wildlife Federation, Auburn University led by Dr. Will Gulsby, University of Georgia led by Dr. Michael Chamberlain, The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, The Alabama Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Realtree, Pistol Creek, The Pinhoti Project, Backwoods Grind, Natural Gear, the Porch Creek Indian nation, The Hunting Public, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alabama Farmers Federation, private landowners, and many other generous donors. These companies, organizations, universities, and individuals are vital to our success and have helped us get to this point. Now it’s time to tap the biggest asset the wild turkey has, and that’s turkey hunters. Go to the “Join Today” tab on turkeysfortomorrow.org and find a membership level that is meaningful to you. It will take all of us to turn this around. Join Turkeys for Tomorrow and help us help wild turkeys.