Today we had representatives from the NWRF in our studio. Not only does this organization hunt wild turkeys they ensure the species has the habitat necessary to continue to prosper, restocking efforts are organized thus saving the hunt.
In the past decade, the NWTF and TPWD have accomplished more than $5 million in work on public and private lands, impacting at least 150,000 acres for habitat restoration and management.
In 2020, the goal is to release 160 birds in two targeted areas. Titus County fell into that area and the Bowie county Chapter was invited and participated in one of the three releases there, of 21 turkeys, on the second release effort. These birds came from North Carolina, where the USDA’s animal and plant health inspection service personnel, trapped them from airport properties in which they posed a safety hazard. Another batch of birds were trapped in West Virginia.
The piney woods of East Texas is the outer western boundary of the Easter Turkey. With the piney woods stretching from the Red River, down to the Gulf Coast. Within this area comes the very important habitat management tool of prescribed/controlled burns. These burns control the growth of underbrush and opens the woodlands up more, in which the wild turkey need to survive and flourish.
The Easter turkey once occupied 60 million acres of East Texas. Texas hunters, through their purchase of hunting licenses, foot the bill for the restocking efforts. To date, the vast majority of funds tied to restocking of turkey, have come from the TPWD’s $7 Upland Game Bird stamp, with the NWTF contributing from the Super Fund.
Wild turkey hunting currently provides close to $64 million annually to rural Texas communities. Expanding hunting opportunities in East Texas will benefit hunters, landowners, and businesses. This, in turn, will improve habitat for many game and non-game species that share the range with the North American wild turkey.
Since 1985, Texas NWTF has spent $7,873,865 on the NWTF’s mission, Save the habitat, Save the Hunt, and restocking efforts.
The Texas State Chapter actively supported in Nov 2019, a public awareness campaign, through a donation to the Texas Coalition for State Parks, for the passage of a state ballot initiative, called Proposition 5. This initiative permanently dedicates all State sporting good sales tax revenue to the TPWD for maintenance and development of State Park lands and historic sites, including many that are hunted in the Public Hunting Program. It also prohibits the legislation from decreasing the allocated amount for this agency, by more than 50%. Proposition 5 passed with 88% of voter approval.