Callmakers Earn Bragging Rights at NWTF Convention
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. Grand National Callmaking judges graded hundreds of game calls on appearance and sound quality before crowning the 2009 champions during the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show, held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center Feb. 19 to Feb. 22.

Each year, the NWTF’s convention is a gathering place for outdoors enthusiasts in search of the latest outdoor gear, hunting and game calling techniques, entertainment and fun. This year’s convention attracted thousands of sportsmen and women that appreciate and use game calls and understand how a call is supposed to look and sound.

“The NWTF’s Grand National Call Making Competitions are the premier call making competitions in North America,” said George Thornton, NWTF CEO. “They are best place for up-and-coming callmakers to contend with seasoned veterans as they strive to outdo their creations from years past and win bragging rights.”

The NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation organization that was founded in 1973 and has worked with wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations from 1.3 million wild turkeys in 1973 to nearly 7 million today. Now, NWTF volunteers raise funds and work daily to improve critical wildlife habitat, increase access to public hunting land and introduce new people to the outdoors and hunting.

A panel of experts in the fields of callmaking, calling and hunting evaluated calls within four divisions: the Grand National NWTF Hunting Turkey Call Contest; the Grand National Decorative Turkey Call Contest; the Grand National Decorative Duck and Goose Call Contest; and the Grand National Hunting Duck and Goose Call Contest.

Each division of this fierce competition was divided into a number of categories based on the various types of calls hunters use. In the Hunting Call Contest alone, call makers had the opportunity to enter their calls in up to 15 categories.

After the contest, the calls were auctioned at the convention, with some calls raising thousands of dollars for conservation.

Top winners of the 2009 Grand National Call Making contest were:

2009 Grand National Champion Decorative Turkey Call Maker of the Year & Earl Mickel Purchase Award Winner
John Parker, Trenton, Ohio

Earl Mick Mickel was a pioneer in developing and creating interest in turkey callmaking and collecting. He published three books on call makers and generously supported both call makers and the NWTF.

Each year, a panel of judges juries the entries in the Decorative Turkey Call Competition and selects a Best of Show call, whose maker is named the Earl Mickel Award winner. The call is then purchased by the NWTF and placed on permanent display in the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, S.C.

2009 Grand National Champion Hunting Turkey Call Maker of the Year
Niles Oesterle, Dardenne Prairie, Mo.

Champion of Champions – Neil Cost Award Winner
Scott Baseshore, Denver, Pa.

The Champion of Champions – Neil Cost Award attempts to call attention to and recognize those few select individuals who have mastered the art of callmaking. Cost was responsible for developing the long box or boat paddle style of call. He also was one of the first call makers to checker his box calls and write special inscriptions on them. Cost made all types of calls, scratch boxes, pot and peg calls, wing-bone yelpers and box calls. His integrity as a call maker is unsurpassed and he never let a call leave his shop that did not meet his high standards.

Gibson Award Winner, Box Calls
Niles Oesterle, Dardenne Prairie, Mo.

The Gibson award recognizes the best-sounding box turkey call and box call maker and is named in honor of Henry Gibson, who patented the first box call in 1897.

Jeremiah Stevens Award, Scratch Box Calls
Michael Lapp, Honey Brook, Pa.

The prestigious Jeremiah Stevens award is named in honor of an African American and former slave who was known for his turkey hunting skills and the making of gun stock or scratch box calls in Virginia. The award recognizes the best-sounding scratch box call and call maker.

D.D. Adams Award, Best-sounding Friction Call
Tim Clayton, Sumterville, Fla.

The coveted D. D. Adams award recognizes the best sounding friction call and striker combination and is named in honor of D. D. Adams, a pioneer friction call maker.

Tom Turpin Award, Best-sounding Air Operated Call
Dewey W. Johnson, Hazlehurst, Ga.

The Tom Turpin award recognizes the best-sounding turned trumpet call and is named in honor of Tom Turpin, a call maker and innovator known for, among other things, his turned trumpet calls.

Charles Jordan, Best-sounding Wingbone
Ralph Permar, Old Zionsville, Pa.

The Charles Jordan award recognizes the best-sounding wing bone/cane or other material call. The award is named in honor of outdoor and wildlife conservationist and call maker Charles L. Jordan.

Outstanding Youth Decorative Turkey Call Maker of the Year
Justin Bald, Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Rookie Decorative Turkey Call Maker of the Year
Mark Wheeler, Kansas City, Kan.

2009 Grand National Champion Decorative Duck & Goose Call Maker of the Year
Best of Show: Mike Houlihan, Portland, Ore.
2nd Best of Show: Jim Dester, Sycamore, Ill.
3rd Best of Show: Joe Bucher, Louisburg, Kan.

2009 Grand National Champion Hunting Duck & Goose Call Maker of the Year
Best of Show: Mike Stelzner, Zumbrota, Minn.
2nd Best of Show: Mike Stelzner, Zumbrota, Minn.
3rd Best of Show: Herb Ohley, Alton, Ill.

2009 Box Call Sets Awards
Don Chancey Award: Scott Basehore, Denver, Pa.
Youth Callmaker of the Year: Josh Shoemaker, Lebanon, Va.
Rookie Callmaker of the Year: James Harrison, Hillsboro, Md.

2009 Convention Sponsors
Bank of America, Bass Pro Shops, Browning, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Crescent Cardboard Co., LLC, Federal Premium Ammunition, Foxy Huntress, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Knight Rifles, Leupold & Stevens, Longleaf Camo, Marlin Firearm/H&R 1871 LLC, Mathews Bows, Inc., MeadWestvaco, Motorola, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, National Band and Tag, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Connection, Inc., Remington Arms Company, Inc., S.C. State Chapter, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Tennessee State Chapter, The Sportsman Channel, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby, Inc., Weyerhaeuser, Wild Turkey Bourbon and Winchester Olin

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF’s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Receives Land Stewardship Award
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) presented the 2009 Land Stewardship Award to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) at the NWTF’s 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show held Feb. 19 to Feb. 22 in Nashville, Tenn.

The NWTF has presented the Land Stewardship Award each year since 1994 to forestry and utility companies and organizations for excellence in land management, partnerships and NWTF project support. The award recognizes those that have done an outstanding job to benefit natural resources through land stewardship and partnerships.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation earned the award for its effective partnerships with organizations and individuals dedicated to conservation. This partnership has allowed the NWTF to undertake large-scale projects that will protect and restore wild turkeys and wildlife across the United States.

”The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has been a great partner in helping the NWTF restore the wild turkey and protect wildlife species across the country,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF’s chief conservation officer. ”They have shown great leadership by using innovative practices to fund needed wildlife projects. Their support of our conservation efforts and programs has helped us achieve our goals.”

In 1984, Congress tasked NFWF with a mandate: direct public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and match those investments with private funds. Since that time, the organization has worked with a full complement of individuals, foundations, government agencies, nonprofits and corporations to identify and fund the nation’s most difficult conservation challenges. The NFWF has awarded more than 10,000 grants to more than 3,500 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged with its partners more than $600 million into more than $1.5 billion for conservation.

Since 2003, the NFWF has contributed more than $1.6 million to NWTF conservation projects. These funds, among other things, have helped the NWTF:

* Restore more than 250 acres of current pine plantation to longleaf pine habitat at Lake Allatoona, Ga.;
* Restore more than 1,200 acres of longleaf pine on Talladega National Forest in Alabama to improve wild turkey and bobwhite quail habitat;
* Provide riparian habitat assistance on thousands of acres for private landowners;
* Relocate Gould’s wild turkeys from Sonora, Mexico, to selected mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona;
* Enhance more than 3,000 acres of unoccupied red-cockaded woodpecker, longleaf pine and wiregrass habitats;
* Create additional eagle nesting habitat on the Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina; and
* Enhance more than 3,000 acres within the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia.

NWTF is currently partnering with NFWF to restore 7,000 acres of longleaf pine in its natural range on private and public lands in the Southeast.

The NWTF, with the assistance of its many dedicated volunteers, and corporate and government partners, have spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 14 million acres of wildlife habitat on rights-of-way, private, corporate and public lands.

2009 Convention Sponsors
Bank of America, Bass Pro Shops, Browning, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Crescent Cardboard Co., LLC, Federal Premium Ammunition, Foxy Huntress, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Knight Rifles, Leupold & Stevens, Longleaf Camo, Marlin Firearm/H&R 1871 LLC, Mathews Bows, Inc., MeadWestvaco, Motorola, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, National Band and Tag, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Connection, Inc., Remington Arms Company, Inc., S.C. State Chapter, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Tennessee State Chapter, The Sportsman Channel, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby, Inc., Weyerhaeuser, Wild Turkey Bourbon and Winchester Olin

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF’s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

Hafer Receives NWTF Educator of the Year Award
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. Nicole Hafer from Zanesville, Ohio, received the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 2008 Conservation Educator of the Year Award during a special ceremony at the NWTF’s 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show in Nashville.


Nicole Hafer received the 2008 Conservation Educator
of the Year Award at the NWTF’s Convention and Sport Show.

Hafer is an education specialist with the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District. She teaches outdoor education classes to local youth from grades K-12, in addition to courses at Zane State College.

Hafer makes learning about the outdoors fun for her students by helping them build wild turkey calls, plant trees and butterfly gardens and construct bluebird trails. She also incorporates games into her lesson plans to keep her students’ interest.

“It’s really thrilling to see my students get excited about nature,” Hafer said. “I teach a diverse range of students, but it is especially rewarding for me to see children from urban areas become amazed at seeing something in nature for the first time that many of us might take for granted.”

As Conservation Educator of the Year, Hafer was awarded a $500 grant, which she says will be used to purchase materials for her Wild Turkey Education classroom program. The remainder of the grant will be used to purchase seed mix for wildlife food plots, which her students will plant in Ohio’s Blue Rock State Park as part of the Kids Conservation Campers program.

“All of us at the NWTF are proud to present this award to Nicole,” said Christine Rolka, NWTF education specialist. “She is truly dedicated to what she does and holds her classes outside as often as possible so her students can better appreciate why conservation is so important.”

Upon accepting the award, Hafer credited NWTF chapters for donating education boxes, which enable teachers to teach their students about conservation.

“Many of the students I teach are hunters, but some have only seen frozen turkeys in a grocery store,” Hafer said. “The education boxes are a very, very valuable resource to help reach students from both rural and urban areas and teach topics they wouldn’t learn about otherwise.”

2009 Convention Sponsors
Bank of America, Bass Pro Shops, Browning, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Crescent Cardboard Co., LLC, Federal Premium Ammunition, Foxy Huntress, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Knight Rifles, Leupold & Stevens, Longleaf Camo, Marlin Firearm/H&R 1871 LLC, Mathews Bows, Inc., MeadWestvaco, Motorola, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, National Band and Tag, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Connection, Inc., Remington Arms Company, Inc., S.C. State Chapter, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Tennessee State Chapter, The Sportsman Channel, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby, Inc., Weyerhaeuser, Wild Turkey Bourbon and Winchester Olin

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF’s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

Michigan DNR Biologist Awarded High Honor
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. Bath, Mich., resident Al Stewart, the upland game bird specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), was honored with the prestigious Henry S. Mosby Award at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show held Feb. 19 to Feb. 22 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Mosby Award is named for Dr. Henry Mosby, whose research with wild turkeys in the mid 1900s set the standard for their management. He also helped found The Wildlife Society and was the winner of its highest honor the Aldo Leopold Medal.

For more than 30 years Stewart dedicated his career to conservation. Stewart was instrumental in enhancing the Michigan’s popular wild turkey cooperator patch program. The wild turkey cooperator patch program was initiated in 1988 as a voluntary incentive for hunters in exchange for cooperator patch by mailing feathers to wildlife biologists. Michigan students in grades K-12 created each year’s patch design through a contest. Stewart also championed the causes of the disabled and made it easier for everyone to access the great outdoors.

In 1992, President George H. Bush and Congressman Dave Camp gave Stewart the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Award for his work on a barrier-free viewing and hunting platform at the Maple River State Game Area. In 1998, the NWTF Michigan State chapter awarded him the Outstanding Conservationist Award. In 2000, the Arizona Fish and Game Department selected Stewart to assist with the Gould’s wild turkey restoration in Arizona. In 2005, he served as coordinator of the 9th Annual NWTF Wild Turkey Symposium.

“Al Stewart has shown unequaled dedication to conservation and wild turkeys throughout his career,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF’s chief conservation officer. “His work through the wild turkey cooperator patch program has brought the great story of wild turkey conservation to the children and hunters of Michigan.”

Stewart and his wife, Patricia, who serves as the MDNR’s chief communications officer, are the parents of two sons, Chris and Tom.

Since 1985 NWTF’s volunteers in cooperation with the MDNR have spent nearly $2.9 million on habitat enhancements, wild turkey research, law enforcement and outreach programs. NWTF’s efforts include spending more than $1.5 million on habitat improvement projects for maintaining and developing brood habitat and wildlife openings, conducting prescribed fires, planting trees, restoring riparian area, completing water development projects, controlling invasive plant species and supporting seed subsidy and conservation seed programs — improving habitat for more than 57,886 acres within the state.

2009 Convention Sponsors
Bank of America, Bass Pro Shops, Browning, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Crescent Cardboard Co., LLC, Federal Premium Ammunition, Foxy Huntress, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Knight Rifles, Leupold & Stevens, Longleaf Camo, Marlin Firearm/H&R 1871 LLC, Mathews Bows, Inc., MeadWestvaco, Motorola, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, National Band and Tag, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Connection, Inc., Remington Arms Company, Inc., S.C. State Chapter, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Tennessee State Chapter, The Sportsman Channel, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby, Inc., Weyerhaeuser, Wild Turkey Bourbon and Winchester Olin

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF’s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

Garris Honored for Conserving the Wild Turkey
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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. Joseph Garris, a senior wildlife technician with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW), was honored with the prestigious Joe Kurz Excellence in Wildlife Management Award at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show held Feb. 19 to Feb. 22 in Nashville, Tenn.

Joseph Garris was honored with the prestigious
Joe Kurz Excellence in Wildlife Management Award
at the NWTF’s Convention and Sport Show.

The award is named after Joe Kurz, a former Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife chief, for his leadership and the vital role he played in improving wildlife management. Kurz was also a principal figure in the wild turkey trap and transfer program across North America.

The Joe Kurz Excellence in Wildlife Management Award recognizes wildlife managers who have worked untiringly for the wild turkey and its habitat. Wildlife managers, such as Garris, are the unsung heroes who do the on-the-ground work for wild turkeys and other wildlife.

Garris has worked for more than 30 years on a variety of projects to help NJDFW manage and improve habitat for the wild turkey and countless other species of wildlife. He has helped trap and relocate more than 1,500 wild turkeys in his career, providing birds for more than 40 release sites in New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois and Ontario, Canada.

“I’ve been doing my job for 32 years, but it doesn’t seem like that long because I enjoy the work so much,” Garris said. “My expectation wasn’t to win an award for doing what I’ve felt I should be doing over the years, but I’m honored and feel privileged to be recognized for doing the job I love.”

According to former co-worker, NWTF Biologist Bob Eriksen, Garris is skilled in all aspects of wildlife management from banding waterfowl to trapping furbearing mammals and from planting food plots to rebuilding tractors and trucks. In his spare time, Garris is an avid archer and excellent turkey hunter. One of his notable talents is his ability to recognize, by genus and species, the name of virtually every tree, shrub, vine and wildflower that one can encounter in New Jersey.

“Joseph Garris is a prime example of going beyond the call of duty,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF’s chief conservation officer. ”Garris is not only a talented wildlife technician, but also a great NWTF volunteer and a dedicated family man. New Jersey’s turkey hunters are lucky to have him working on their behalf.”

Garris lives in Stillwater, N.J. He and his wife, Diana, are raising nine children, and all of them, boys and girls, are turkey hunters.

Since 1985,the NWTF’s New Jersey chapters have raise more than $420,000 for in-state projects. This includes more than $128,000 on habitat projects and improving more than 5,262 acres.

For more information about the Joe Kurz Award or the NWTF’s annual Convention and Sport Show, call (803) 637-3106, visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.

2009 Convention Sponsors
Bank of America, Bass Pro Shops, Browning, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Crescent Cardboard Co., LLC, Federal Premium Ammunition, Foxy Huntress, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Knight Rifles, Leupold & Stevens, Longleaf Camo, Marlin Firearm/H&R 1871 LLC, Mathews Bows, Inc., MeadWestvaco, Motorola, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, National Band and Tag, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Connection, Inc., Remington Arms Company, Inc., S.C. State Chapter, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Tennessee State Chapter, The Sportsman Channel, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby, Inc., Weyerhaeuser, Wild Turkey Bourbon, Winchester Olin

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF’s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at
www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

The 33rd annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show starts today at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee
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Today starts the 33rd annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, TN.

I had a chance to speak to some of the exhibitors while they were setting up Thursday and everyone agreed that there should be a fantastic turn out.
bone-collector

 

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Shelah Zmigrosky, founder & designer of Foxy Huntress who had my good friend & Five Time World Archery Champion, Joella Bates-DeWitt lending her a helping hand

foxy-huntress

The guys from Hunter Specialties had their work cut out for them. They have one of the biggest booths at the show this year.

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More photos and coverage to come from the 33rd annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, TN.

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mossbergleupold

CONVENTION AGENDA

Friday, Feb. 20th:

* Federal Breakfast* – 7:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Highlighting great achievements in wildlife conservation and recognizing NWTF Wheelin’Sportsmen, Women in the Outdoors and JAKES volunteers and their outstanding events. Awards will be presented.
* Registration – 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
* Let’s Talk Turkey – Educators’ Workshop – 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
* Wild Turkey Bourbon NWTF Calling Preliminaries (Senior Division) – 9:00 a.m. – Noon
* Exhibit Hall and JAKES Junction Activities – 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
* Seminars – 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
* Technical Committee Meeting – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
* Hunt Luncheon/Auction – 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
* Technical Committee Awards Lunch – Noon – 2:00 p.m.
* Calling Contest – Intermediate Division – 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
* JAKES, Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin’ Sportsmen Joint Leadership Meeting – 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
* Wild Turkey Bourbon Bash – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
* NWTF Grand National Auction and Dinner – 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 21st:

* Winchester Breakfast * – 7:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
A time to honor veterans and active military, who through great sacrifice, maintain the freedom we all enjoy.
* Registration – 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
* Exhibit Hall and JAKES Junction Activities – 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
* Calling Contest – Junior Division and Poults (age 10 & under) – 9:00 a.m. – Noon
* 6th Annual Custom Call Reception & Auction – 9:00 a.m. – Noon
* Seminars – 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
* Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer’s Meeting and Lunch – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
* Ladies Luncheon/Auction – 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
* The Open Auction-General Admission Required – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
* Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Sr. Finals & Rare Breed Champion of Champions – 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
* Awards Banquet – 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Dinner, entertainment by comedian Paul Harris; music by Daryle Singletary, Rhett Akins and Andy Griggs
Awards presented: Kansas Gov. Hunt Essay Winner, Corporate Achievement, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Henry Mosby Award, C.B. McLeod, Lynn Boykin Hunting Heritage Award
LA Dixon awards will be presented at the Leadership Meeting on Thursday.

Sunday, Feb. 22nd:

* Registration – 7:15 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
* Remington Arms Breakfast* – 7:10 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
A time to gather for worship, honor our creator and encourage our spirits.
Music led by Gary Morris.
* Exhibit Hall and JAKES Junction Activities – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
* Seminars – 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
* Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Gobbling, Owl Hooting, and Team Challenge Calling Championships – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
* Show Ends – 4:00 p.m.

Click Here to view the Convention and Sport Show’s seminar schedule.

*All breakfast tickets are $20 per person. Everyone welcome!

For more information about the NWTF’s Convention and Sport Show, visit http://www.nwtf.org/special_events/convention.html.

For more information about the NWTF visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF’s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

NWTF Convention Offers Dozens of New Gun Raffles
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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

nwtf-press2

NASHVILLE, TN. Dozens of limited edition firearms will be raffled during the Gun Blast in the Exhibit Hall of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Convention and Sport Show, held Feb. 20 to Feb. 22 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.


Hunters and serious collectors will have a chance to win
many special firearms during the new Gun Blast at the
NWTF’s Convention and Sport Show.

The Gun Blast will feature opportunities to win special turkey-hunting shotguns, past NWTF Guns of the Year, tactical firearms and more. Raffles, fun games and a few surprises will take place at the Gun Blast booth from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

“Guns you thought you couldn’t get anymore, you might just find at the Gun Blast,” said Rhett Simmons, NWTF director of special events. “We’re reaching deep into our vault and bringing out some great items, so whether you’re a serious firearms collector or a hunter looking for a new sporting arm, you’ll definitely want to stop by and enter for a chance to win big at our brand new Gun Blast.”

In addition, the NWTF’s Open Auction will begin immediately after the Gun Blast booth closes on Saturday. The auction will feature incredible hunting adventures across the United States and international hunts in South Africa, Argentina and Canada.

The Gun Blast and Open Auction represent a hint of what’s available inside the Exhibit Hall during an action-packed weekend at the NWTF’s Convention and Sport Show. More than 545 exhibit booths will be full of the outdoor industry’s latest gear in an area encompassing more than four acres.

For just $10, attendees receive a daily pass to the convention, or they can purchase a three-day pass for $25. As always, children 12 and under get in free.

Paid entrance into the convention includes access to fun outdoor seminars for the whole family, along with admission to the Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Wild Turkey Calling Championships and taxidermy and callmaking championships.

In addition, attendees can purchase tickets for meal functions and speaking engagements and see first-class shows by country music artists and entertainers.

“There will be non-stop action at the Convention and Sport Show,” Simmons said. “We’ve got something fun for every outdoor lover in the family, and we’re back in our members’ favorite location Music City, U.S.A.”

For more information about the NWTF’s Convention and Sport Show, visit http://www.nwtf.org/special_events/convention.html.

For more information about the NWTF visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF’s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

NWTF Announces JAKES Essay Contest Winner
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The National Wild Turkey Federation has named 13-year-old Atlanta Blair of Lenoir, N.C., its 2009 JAKES program essay contest winner.

Blair has won a trip with her dad to El Dorado, Kan.,
this April to participate in the Kansas Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt.

The NWTF‘s JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) program is dedicated to helping youth discover a new world of fun waiting for them in the outdoors. Hundreds of youth-only events are held across North America each year to help youth up to age 12 learn about hunting, fishing, camping, archery and more. The NWTF‘s Xtreme JAKES program provides advanced outdoor opportunities and challenges for teens between the ages of 13 and 17.

Blair’s essay, titled “How Would My Life Be Different If Hunting Was Not A Part Of It?” was selected from many other well-written essays submitted by youth from across the United States and Canada. Blair, an A-honor roll student at Gamewell Middle School in Lenoir, will receive a Kansas hunting license and an all-expenses-paid trip to El Dorado, Kansas, for the 23rd annual Kansas Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt this April.

Blair’s license will be awarded during a special ceremony at the NWTF‘s 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show, held Feb. 19 to Feb. 22 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

“Choosing a winner from so many great essays was tough, but we felt that Atlanta’s essay perfectly captured the responsibility, maturity and discipline that youth gain from hunting,” said Mandy Harling, NWTF JAKES program coordinator. “We’re looking forward to rewarding her with a hunt she’ll always remember.”

Blair immediately picked her father, Wesley, as her chaperone for the hunt. Wesley has been deployed to Iraq four times, and Blair has looked forward to hunting with him each time he’s returned.

“My dad and I love to hunt together,” Blair said. “Having him along is going to make this trip even more fun.”

Former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden developed the hunt to bring key people from various professions to Kansas to experience the natural beauty and business opportunities available in the Sunflower State.

More than 650 volunteers donate their time during the event, including guides, landowners, sponsors and the many people who do the hands-on work. The Kansas Governor’s Annual One-Shot Turkey Hunt has become a nationally recognized event.

To read Atlanta’s essay, visit http://www.nwtf.org/jakes/contests/09_winner_Atlanta_Blair.doc.

The NWTF is accepting entries for the 2010 Kansas Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt Essay Contest. To enter, visit http://www.nwtf.org/jakes/hunt_contest_rules.html.

For more information about the NWTF visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.

About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it’s still headquartered today.

At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF‘s partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

WVDNR Staff Receive Awards from West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation
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Three staff members of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) were honored at the annual banquet of the West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), held Jan. 10 in Flatwoods.

Robert Cutright, who is stationed at the Otter Creek and Beaver Dam Wildlife Management areas on the Monongahela National Forest, was named “Outstanding Wildlife Manager of the Year” for his work with the management of wild turkeys in the state.

Recently-retired Wildlife Biologist James Evans of Fairmont was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of his 38 years of service and for his efforts with the research and reintroduction of wild turkeys.

Conservation Officer Kevin Bingaman, who is stationed in Braxton County, received the NWTF “Sharp Spur Award” in recognition of his work to improve hunter safety, especially among area youth, and for his law enforcement efforts to prevent turkey poaching.

The West Virginia State Chapter of the NWTF is one of the state’s largest and most active sportsmen’s organizations. Its primary goal is to support and promote the sound management and use of the state’s wild turkey resource. The NWTF is also committed to delivering conservation education and outdoor skills training to women and children throughout the country.

Robert (Bobby) E. Cutright, DNR Wildlife Manager, received the prestigious Outstanding Wildlife Manager of the Year Award from the West Virginia State Chapter of NWTF. This award is presented annually by the NWTF to recognize and honor a wildlife manager in West Virginia who has demonstrated outstanding efforts in the management and conservation of the wild turkey and other wildlife resources of the state.

In presenting this year’s award, NWTF Regional Director Bob Farkasovsky congratulated Cutright for his many years of service to the sportsmen and women of West Virginia. “The National Wild Turkey Federation is proud of the work accomplished by Wildlife Managers throughout the country,” said Farkasovsky. “Here in West Virginia, our hunters are most appreciative of the dedication and hard work that Bobby and many other wildlife managers demonstrate every day.”

Serving as a Wildlife Manager on the Monongahela National Forest’s Otter Creek and Beaver Dam Wildlife Management areas, Bobby Cutright has been active in the management of the wild turkey while serving the citizens of West Virginia. These efforts include major contributions to the state’s Wild Turkey Restoration Program, Wild Turkey Population Dynamics Study and Wildlife Management Area Program. Throughout his career, Cutright has trapped numerous turkeys for both restocking efforts and wildlife research purposes. These research and management efforts, which have been funded in large part by the NWTF, have allowed the DNR to establish and maintain one of the strongest wild turkey programs in the mid-Appalachian region of the United States.

In addition to his work with wild turkeys, Bobby has been very involved with the recently completed Appalachian Cooperative Grouse Research Project and the ongoing Black Bear Research and Monitoring Program.

“Bobby Cutright has made notable contributions to the state’s wildlife management program and the sportsmen and women that enjoy these abundant wildlife resources,” said Curtis Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of DNR. “In addition to his numerous professional accomplishments, Bobby has been extremely active in a wide range of conservation education activities such as providing wildlife programs to local schools, Glenville State College and West Virginia University. Bobby has also been actively involved in the Outdoor Youth Challenge associated with the National Hunting and Fishing Days Celebration.”

James Evans of Fairmont was honored by the West Virginia State Chapter of NWTF with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Chapter President Charlie Nichols and NWTF Senior Regional Director Bob Farkasovsky recognized Evans for his 38 years of distinguished service to the sportsmen and women of West Virginia and for his 26 years of service on West Virginia’s Wild Turkey Technical Committee. This is only the fourth time in the history of the organization that the prestigious award has been presented by the West Virginia State Chapter of the NWTF. Previous recipients of this award include retired DNR Wild Turkey Biologist Wayne Bailey, retired DNR Wild Turkey Biologist Jim Pack, and renowned wildlife photographer and motivational speaker Glenn “Tink” Smith.

Evans retired from the DNR Wildlife Resources Section on October 31, 2008. He received the first Masters Degree in Wildlife Management awarded from West Virginia University in 1968. He began his professional career as District Game Biologist in Fairmont and led that District’s game management efforts for 30 years. In 2000, Evans was promoted to the position of Supervisor of Game Management Services, where he led the DNR’s wildlife research efforts for the remainder of his long and productive career.

Curtis Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section, lauded Jim’s career and accomplishments. “Jim’s knowledge, dedication and commitment to West Virginia’s wildlife programs will certainly be missed by our agency and the citizens of West Virginia,” said Taylor. “His professionalism, sound judgment and effective leadership will serve as an excellent role model for those biologists who follow in his footsteps.”

Senior Conservation Officer Kevin Bingaman, who is stationed in Braxton County, was presented with the “Silver Spur Award” by the West Virginia Chapter of NWTF for his wildlife law enforcement activities during the year.

“Officer Bingaman has worked Braxton County for several years and, through his efforts, the citizens and other law enforcement agencies have come to know and trust him, “ said Lt. James Vance of the DNR Law Enforcement Section. “He is very level headed and uses patience and tact when dealing with any situation.

Bingaman is especially active with young people in the Hunter Education Program, teaching about safe and ethical turkey hunting. He also participates in youth fishing events, 4-H Camps teaching boating safety, and JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) Day.

Officer Bingaman also is very active scouting for pre-season turkey hunters, locating illegal bait sites, collecting information on illegal hunters, and making arrests. His efforts helped in the apprehension of two adults who thought they would take advantage of the one-day youth turkey hunting season without taking any youth with them, and also illegally killing a hen turkey.

**DNR**

Hoy Murphy
Public Information Officer
(304) 558-2003 ext. 365
[email protected]

Contact: Curtis Taylor
Wildlife Resources Section
(304) 558-2771
[email protected]

Contact: Lt. Col. Jerry Jenkins
Law Enforcement Section
(304) 558-2784
[email protected]

The Pennsylvania Game Commission Awards NWTF With Pennsylvania's First-Ever Elk Tag For Auction
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Harrisburg, PA – Under a new law, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe announces that he has selected the National Wild Turkey Federation to auction off a special antlered elk license at its upcoming national convention February 19-22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Since its creation, the National Wild Turkey Federation, as well as its Pennsylvania and local chapters, have been important wildlife conservation and management partners with the Game Commission,” Roe said. “The members of this organization have invested millions of dollars in Pennsylvania for wildlife habitat improvements, acquisitions of State Game Lands and input into wild turkey management and research. Additionally, NWTF live auctions are proven money raisers when it comes to auctioning off such hunts.”

Noting that Pennsylvania’s modern-day elk hunt, which began in 2001, has produced several Boone & Crockett book entries, George Thornton, NWTF CEO, said this tag represents an incredible opportunity to harvest a trophy elk while doing great things for wildlife conservation.

“The NWTF has had a great relationship with Game Commission throughout the years,” Thornton said. “We’ve worked together to help restore wild turkey populations, improve wildlife habitat and strengthen the state’s hunting heritage. When this tag goes up on the auction block, bidders can expect a lot of action and know that the winner is doing great things for conservation.”

Pennsylvania Chapter NWTF and its 88 local chapters expect to join the nearly 40,000 attendees from all 50 states, as well as Canada and Mexico, at the NWTF’s national convention, said Jon Pries, Pennsylvania Chapter NWTF president.

“It is an honor for NWTF to be selected to receive this first-ever elk tag,” Pries said. “We look forward to raising important dollars for the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the elk management program, as well as habitat improvement for all wildlife on the elk range of northcentral Pennsylvania.”

On Feb. 20, as part of is live auction, NWTF will put up for bid the antlered elk license, which would be good for use in any management zone open for Pennsylvania’s upcoming elk hunt, Nov. 2-7. The winning bidder will be awarded the license once he or she purchases the required resident or nonresident general hunting license. The winning bidder also will be provided all of the information normally given to those who receive an elk license through the agency’s annual public drawing, including a listing of permitted guides available should they choose to use a guide.

In September, the agency will conduct its annual public drawing to award 59 elk licenses to those who submit an application, along with a $10 nonrefundable fee. The exact breakdown of antlered and antlerless elk licenses, as well as the elk management zones each license will be assigned to, will be announced later. The application period will open in May.

In 2001, a recommendation to provide one special elk license for wildlife conservation organizations to auction was originally included in the Game Commission Elk Hunt Advisory Committee Report as one of the concepts for promoting elk hunting. However, the recommendation was set aside at that time because it was determined that legislative authority was necessary to do so.

Rep. Marc J. Gergely (D-Allegheny) introduced House Bill 747 to grant the Game Commission authority to provide one antlered elk license to a wildlife conservation organization to auction. Of the auction proceeds, up to 20 percent may be retained by the wildlife conservation organization and the rest turned over to the Game Commission for elk management. Signed into law on Oct. 9, Act 101 of 2008 (previously House Bill 747) was unanimously approved by the House and Senate.

The new law sunsets on July 1, 2013, and would require the General Assembly to re-authorize the authority to allow for the auction of one antlered elk license per license year.

Media Contact:
Jerry Feaser
(717) 705-6541
[email protected]

Infolinks 2013