AUBURN, Ala. — Enthusiasm for securing a strong future for wild turkeys is more powerful today than ever, a fact demonstrated by one conservation group’s continued growth. Not yet three years old, Turkeys For Tomorrow now has 14 chapters in eight states. The group’s reach spans the map from the Great Plains to the Appalachians. It is most strongly represented in the Deep South, but it boasts members from nearly every state in the union.
Turkeys For Tomorrow was founded to address the nationwide decline in wild turkey numbers. Its work supports academic research to precisely define the problem, and it helps hunters and land managers learn how they can be a key part of the solution. This two-pronged approach is giving land managers and policymakers the tools they need for the future, while applying common-sense tactics to help populations right away.
“Hunters everywhere have already seen the problem for themselves,” Pete Daugherty, TFT’s Director of Outreach, said. “They led the restoration of the wild turkey decades ago, and they’re ready to do it again. They know if they don’t do it, it won’t happen.”
“Research and direct action are both needed,” said Dan Braman, co-chairman of the board for TFT. “While research takes time, there are common sense actions we can take today. If we do our part to improve turkey habitat and create a more balanced population of predators, turkeys’ survival numbers will go up.”
Dedicated involvement, grass roots understanding and donations large and small support academic research underway in five states. Educational outreach opportunities that connect researchers with land managers help put practical knowledge into action, and the chapter events introduce hunters to the opportunities TFT presents.
TFT is a small organization, but it’s already making a large difference. It’s already helped its members address turkey nest predators through access to affordable dog-proof traps. It’s helped hunters access turkey-friendly tree plantings, cellular trail camera discounts and handheld mapping solutions. A newly-created partnership with the National Trappers Association will expand TFT members’ opportunity to grow their trapping knowledge and find trappers for hire.
“The plight of the wild turkey needs attention brought to it and money raised to reverse it,” said Ron Jolly, co-chairman of the board of TFT. “We’re working every day to do both.”