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Our Mission & Plan

Though the restoration of the wild turkey is one of America's greatest success stories, the NWTF's work is far from over.

NWTF staffer with a hen turkey that has been affixed with a tracking device for research purposes
Photo Credit: David Gladkowski

The National Wild Turkey Federation is dedicated to the

conservation of the wild turkey

and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

Cornerstone of Conservation

Since its inception in 1973, the NWTF has provided the foundation for wild turkey conservation throughout North America. From the first research project funded in the 1970s, to the multimillion-acre restoration initiatives going on today and everywhere in between, conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage has always been — and always will be — the backbone of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

In 2012, we embarked on our 10-year Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt initiative, which has conserved or enhanced over 4 million acres, recruited over 1.5 million new hunters and has opened public access to hunting on over 600,000 acres. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, partners and staff, all of these Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative goals were met and exceeded two years ahead of schedule.

As we finalize and celebrate our tremendous Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt initiative, we have to keep our foot on the gas and continue to deliver the right conservation at the right place, at the right scale and with the right partners. With over a decade of conservation success through our Big Six Regions of Wildlife Conservation, we are in a unique position with our partners, volunteers and the public at large to greatly amplify our past successes. However, this will take continued collaboration, innovation and dedication.

Our Volunteers

Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the NWTF and often wear many hats.

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America's Big Six

Conservation experts identified regions across the country with similar conservation needs.

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Government Affairs

Advocating for conservation and hunting heritage from the local to federal levels.

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one youth and two adults evaluating a timber stand that had been treated with a prescribed burn
Photo Credit: Slate and Glass

Moving Forward

Just like the wild turkey in today’s age, we are facing new conservation challenges in a dynamic landscape. As we approach our 50-year anniversary, we are expanding our efforts by honing in on four shared values that will remain at the core of delivering conservation to scale into the future.

From the smallest conservation project, to our multimillion-acre landscape-scale initiatives, our Four Shared Values are evident in all we do and have allowed the NWTF, our partners and volunteers to increase the breadth of our mission and ultimately make an impact on a landscape scale, empowering our organization to conserve the wild turkey and our hunting heritage into perpetuity.

Stemming from and pointing back to the wild turkey, our Four Shared Values are all interconnected:

  • Clean Water: Water is the lifeblood for all living things on planet earth, and as many turkey hunters know, if there is water nearby, so are turkeys. While water availability is crucial for wild turkeys, it is valuable for all wildlife and nearby human communities. Wildfires, disrupted floodplains, unmanaged forests, a changing climate —  there are numerous reasons why we are seeing water quality and availability diminish. Luckily, much of the conservation work the NWTF and its partners delivers not only benefits wild turkeys, but it creates healthier forests, which, in turn, create healthier watersheds, creating cleaner and more available water throughout the country.
  • Healthy Forests and Wildlife Habitat: When we manage a forest for wild turkey habitat, we are also increasing the overall viable habitat for all wildlife. Scientifically backed forest management is more crucial now than ever. Decades of unmanaged forests have resulted in overly dense conditions, which provides poor habitat and comes with severe ramifications, such as catastrophic wildfires and fragmented habitat. A managed forest, on the other hand, increases the overall habitat for wild turkeys and the overall biodiversity while making the managed area more resilient to catastrophic wildfires and other disturbances.
  • Resilient Communities: Americans who want to live amidst nature should be able to do so without the worry of catastrophic wildfire, flash flooding or debris flow events. Increasingly, catastrophic wildfires are spreading from uninhabited forests to nearby human communities. This, too, is the result of unmanaged forests, particularly in the wildland-urban interface [areas where forests meet human communities]. The NWTF has joined forces with many traditional and non-traditional partners and agencies to protect these communities while also increasing viable wildlife habitat.
  • Robust Recreational Opportunities: At the NWTF, we know the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation to be the preeminent mode to conserve our natural resources, and we understand the important interplay between hunters and conservation. A deep sense of reverence for conservation is awake in the soul of the American hunter, and the more we can provide access and opportunities, the more we can deliver and amplify our conservation and hunting heritage mission. However, there are many other groups — such as mountain bikers, whitewater rafters, anglers, bird watchers and so many more — that cherish our natural resources as we do. By creating robust recreational opportunities for hunters and all outdoors enthusiasts, we provide more opportunities for collaboration, shared investment and ultimately a farther-reaching conservation impact and ability to share our outdoors lifestyle.

Mission Delivery at a Landscape Level

Accomplishing conservation delivery on a scale necessary to turn the tide of diminishing wild turkey populations, growing dangers of catastrophic wildfire, flood events and other threats to our nation’s vital watersheds, forests, grasslands and communities is accomplished through partnerships and honing in on our Four Shared Values.  The NWTF created or joined national and regional initiatives and landscape-scale projects to slow the loss of habitat and improve habitat diversity, forest health, pine management, water quality, winter wildlife survival, healthy hardwood forests and riparian areas and to restore oak woodlands, savannas and prairies.

These initiatives and projects are comprised of diverse stakeholders and channel efforts to increase pace, scale and efficacy of our combined conservation efforts across public and private lands. In the spirit of the USDA’s Shared Stewardship Strategy, calling all hands and all lands into the effort, these large-scale, multi-stakeholder, cross-boundary initiatives are the future of conservation delivery, and the NWTF is at the forefront in forging innovative partnerships and contributing where other partners are leading the way to better serve our nation’s vital water resources, forests, wildlife habitat, communities and recreational opportunities.

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