Chris Ellis: Creation of a New Wild Turkey Conservation Group | Sports



As turkey harvest numbers are released across the country, there are some interesting findings and even concerns from hunters watching the numbers.

As many of you know, there is concern about the emergence of a decline in wild turkey numbers in the eastern United States, especially the southeast. As I wrote previously, I am not a trained and professional wildlife biologist or wildlife manager.

I’m just someone who has been hunting wild turkeys for over 30 years in many states across the country and have been watching harvest numbers for many years.

We all know that there are many factors that influence game populations and the point is that they are always increasing or declining.

There are also many factors that factor into harvest numbers, including hunter participation, weather, access, habitat, human interference, and many more.

Many factors can affect turkey populations, especially turkey production due to weather conditions, carrying capacity, predation, nesting and brooding habitat.

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

I read the story of a new group of hunters, most of whom I consider friends and colleagues in the industry, who formed a nonprofit to do just that – improve populations of turkeys.

There is a new conservation group on the premises, dedicated to improving turkey populations for future generations.

Turkeys For Tomorrow (TFT) was born out of a reunion of seasoned turkey hunters who gathered last June in central Alabama for a weekend of togetherness and great food.

“During this first meeting, we agreed that something was hurting turkey populations in many areas, especially in the southeast,” said Ron Jolly, co-chair of the board of TFT.

Jim Ronquest, the co-chair, added, “Conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation have worked for decades on behalf of the wild turkey, and we are not trying to replace any of these groups.

But we believe they can benefit from the involvement of a more local group, to work alongside them on identifying and funding small individual home improvement projects.

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

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

Several levels of donors have been established.

“For now, TFT will focus on the southeastern states, where the problem appears to be more serious,” Jolly said. “When our base of support expands to the point where we can do so, we will begin to look beyond this region for useful projects to support. “

If wild turkeys are your thing, maybe you can read Turkeys for Tomorrow or at least check in with them occasionally to see what they’re up to. As hunters and athletes, we should always be looking for ways to give back to the sport and wildlife that we cherish so deeply and hold so precious in our lives.

Chris Ellis is an outdoor industry veteran. His book “Hunting, Fishing and Family from The Hills of West Virginia” is available at Contact him at

Chris Ellis is an outdoor industry veteran. His book “Hunting, Fishing and Family from The Hills of West Virginia” is available at Contact him at



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