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Photo: New Wild Turkey Conservation Group Formed

As turkey harvest numbers are published across the country, there are some interesting results and even some concerns from hunters that watch the numbers.

As many of you are aware, there are concerns about the appearance of declining wild turkey numbers in the eastern United States — especially the southeast. As written before, I am not a wildlife biologist or a trained, professional wildlife manager.

I am simply someone who has hunted the wild turkey for over 30 years in many states across this land and I have been paying attention to harvest numbers for many years doing so.

We all know that there are many factors that influence game populations and the hard fact is, they are always in a state of increasing or declining.

Many factors play into the harvest numbers as well including hunter participation, weather, access, habitat, human interference, and many more.

Many factors can affect turkey populations especially poult production from weather, carrying capacity, predation, nesting, and brooding habitat.

With wild turkeys always on my mind, I scour the news for information about them as well as what humans are doing to improve the awareness, education and to ensure that we all have a huntable population of wild turkeys for generations to come.

I read about a new group of hunters, most of whom I consider friends and industry colleagues, who have formed a non-profit to do just that — improving turkey populations.

There’s a new conservation group on the scene, 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 in central Alabama for a weekend of fellowship and good food.

“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.

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 smaller, individual habitat improvement projects.”

Already, TFT is on the radar of many potential sponsors and partners.

The group is also actively seeking individual, tax-deductible contributions from individuals, outdoor-related companies, and other conservation organizations.

Several donor levels have been established.

“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.”

If wild turkeys are your passion, maybe give Turkeys for Tomorrow a read or at least check in with them on occasion to see what they are up to. As hunters and sportsmen and women, we should always be looking for ways to give back to the sport and the wildlife that we so deeply cherish and hold so valuable in our lives.

TFT received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in February and launched its new website, www.turkeysfortomorrow.org.

Chris Ellis is a veteran of the outdoors industry. His book “Hunting, Fishing and Family from The Hills of West Virginia” is available at www.wvbookco.com. Contact him at chris@elliscom.net.

Chris Ellis is a veteran of the outdoors industry. His book “Hunting, Fishing and Family from The Hills of West Virginia” is available at www.wvbookco.com. Contact him at chris@elliscom.net.

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