Though it’s taken 25 years, the bulk of the funds have come in the more recent past. For all those that have attended the annual banquets as individual, corporate or business guests and sponsors, give yourself a pat on the back. This one’s for you.
With fully 80 percent of the net funds generated in-state going right back to that state, therein lays a secret to the success. Of course having and bolstering the restocking, research, law enforcement, land acquisition, safety training and just about anything else you can come up with for turkeys helps a bit too.
It should come as no surprise that the national membership has grant from a scant few to a half million since 1973. The turkey flocks have likewise grown by massive leaps and bounds from several hundred thousand to 4 million. What’s more, most folks saw the flocks come back before their very eyes in their very own lifetimes.
If you hadn’t guessed, the other 20 percent of the net proceeds went to the trap and transplanting of seed stock birds between the states. Poor turkey states got birds from the richer ones with the NWTF banking and brokering the deals. No small potatoes when considering state bureaucracies and provincialities.
West Virginia was better to give than receive in the interstate turkey transfer business and mostly took care of its own trapping and transplanting from within. The Mountain State has and continues to be a strong NWTF partner since its inception.
WVDNR’s late great Wayne Bailey, the country’s earliest proponent of the trap and transplant of wild blood birds (as opposed to game farm or “tame” birds), is deemed a wild turkey superstar because his simple concept worked wonders. It also ended many decades of wasted money and failed plantings of game farm stock.
Both of Bailey’s Mountain State successors have been awarded the NWTF’s highest professional honor, the “Mosby Award.” They are the now retired Jim Pack and its current Chief of Wildlife, Curtis Taylor. The Mosby comes from the late Virginia Tech Professor of Wildlife and turkey researcher, Henry Mosby.
Glenn “Tink” Smith is yet another famous West Virginian known for his spectacular pit-blind (eye to eye level) photography of the wild turkey, which he graciously donated to the NWTF and any who asked. That in mind, his photos have appeared in the Logan Banner on many occasions.
Just before he retired, Jim Pack told that he believed there was no one alive that had handled more eastern wild turkeys than he had in his working lifetime. He also stated with great pride that the NWTF above all, “puts their money where their mouth is.”
We should say so.