Many thanks to each of you who showed you care about the plight of wild turkeys by partnering with us in TFT. This organization is only seven months old, and your contributions are already making a difference. Because turkeys are important to you and you’ve proved it, TFT has gained enough revenue to partner with the Alabama Wildlife Federation to fund three research studies at Auburn University. All three will begin in early 2022, under the supervision of well-known Ph.D. turkey research biologist Will Gulsby.
One is a spring gobbling activity survey, using “song meters” placed in strategic locations on both public and private land, on hunted and unhunted land, to record timing and frequency of gobbling activity between these different locations.
Another study will follow 30 transmitter-fitted hens throughout the breeding, nesting and poult-rearing seasons to learn more about poult survival and the various factors associated with nest and poult loss. By tracking these hens from a distance with GPS, researchers will be able to get the information they need without disturbing the hens.
The third study will measure harvested gobbler’s sperm counts to determine how various factors affect the fertility rates of adult and juvenile gobblers. Blood will also be collected from all the gobblers tested, for additional research on disease and general turkey health.
All the information collected in the three studies will give public and private resource managers clues about how turkey breeding and nesting success is affected by hunters, predators and other disturbance in the spring woods. Most experienced turkey hunters already have pretty firm ideas about these things, but this research will be a big step toward providing rock-hard proof.
“Every experienced turkey hunter wants to know why he doesn’t hear and see as many turkeys as he used to,” said Jim Ronquest, co-chairman of TFT’s Board of Directors. “These studies are a big first step to provide vital information that can benefit everyone who cares about wild turkeys. Not just hunters. Almost every person who’s heard a wild turkey gobble, or seen a hen with poults chasing bugs in a farm field, has been touched by it. I want my grandchildren to have the same turkey hunting and turkey watching opportunities I had as a kid. These projects are a big first step to make that happen.”
Turkeys For Tomorrow shares Ronquest’s opinion. A small group of old hunters – and a few not quite so old – founded TFT to help find ways to stop the slide of turkey populations across most of the Southeast and other states. Our partnerships with individuals and companies are growing every day. If you’re not already a partner, please consider joining us. As co-chairman of the TFT Board of Directors Ron Jolly said when we were just getting started with this effort: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
Exactly. Please consider joining our effort, and encourage your hunting buddies to check out Turkeys for Tomorrow.