4th Annual DGIF Trapping Workshop

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries



Join Virginia Trapper’s Association certified instructors to learn basic trapping skills including:
Types of traps, trap selection for various species, and hands on demonstrations of different sets and techniques; including several demos on coyote trapping. We will also go over fur handling!

SAT., OCTOBER 21, 2017
Location: Meherrin Volunteer Fire Department 64 Moores Ordinary Rd, Meherrin, VA 23954
Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm
MUST REGISTER!!! CALL 434-392-9645 BY OCT. 15, 2017 NO WALK-INS

Meherrin Fire Department will be cooking lunch, menu will vary and proceeds will benefit the fire department!
Special thanks to the Meherrin Fire Department!!!

Sponsored by:

VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries

Virginia Trappers Association

2017 Virginia Turkey Calling Championship

Place your Spring Seed Subsidy order now!

The Virginia State Chapter Board of Directors is pleased to offer our members the opportunity to purchase Turkey Gold® Chufa, or Sorghum Cuisine, or S&R Triple Threat Clover Mix at a subsidized price.  The Virginia State Hunting Heritage Super Fund will help pay for the seed and shipping charges.

ALL orders must be placed on the NWTF website here.

Sponsor and Life Members may purchase a total of Two bags of seed:
•    50-pound bags of Turkey Gold® Chufa for just $38.50 each, shipping included
•    15-pound bags of Sorghum Cuisine for just $25.50 each, shipping included.
•    12-pound bags of S&R Triple Threat Clover Mix for just $32.50 each, shipping included

Annual Members may purchase a total of One:
•    50-pound bag of Turkey Gold® chufa for just $38.50 each, shipping included
•    15-pound bag of Sorghum Cuisine for just $25.50 each, shipping included.
•    12-pound bag of  S&R Triple Threat Clover Mix for just $32.50 each, shipping included

***As an additional benefit, each member can purchase additional bags of Turkey Gold® Chufa for just $77.00, or Sorghum Cuisine for just $51.00, or S&R Triple Threat Clover Mix for just $65.00 unsubsidized but at a reduced price, in unlimited quantities.  However, to take advantage of these savings, you must submit the order with this seed subsidy offer.

All orders are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Quantities are limited on subsidized seed due to the dollars allocated to the program.  Chufa may start shipping as early as January and will continue through June.  Perennial Concentrate will ship approximately two weeks from date of order.

Turkey Goldâ Chufa produces small nut-like tubers that turkeys scratch out of the ground.  Once birds find the tubers in the fall, they keep coming back.  A 50-pound box of seed will cover approximately 1 acre.  Select an open area that receives full sunlight.  Sandy or loamy soils are preferred. Prepare the seedbed by plowing and disking.  Have soil tested to determine exact amounts of lime and fertilizer to add.  If you cannot get the soil tested, use 400 pounds of 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 fertilizer and 1,000 pounds of lime per acre.  Soil pH should be between 6.4 – 7.2.  Broadcast, May through mid July, at a rate of 40-50 pounds per acre and plant at a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

Sorghum Cuisine should be planted into well-tilled soil just as you would plant corn or wheat crop.  A wheat drill would be helpful to ensure the seed is drilled about 1 ½ inches into the ground or at least into the moisture.  If drilled, the 15 lbs. will cover two acres.  If you have access to a wheat drill, plug every other hole with duct tape and set the rate at 15 lbs. per acre.  This would effectively get you the rate needed for drilling sorghum.  A wheat drill with packing wheels is better than one with chains but either will work.  If you must broadcast, the bag should cover one acre.  Very lightly disk the field after broadcasting or use a cultipacker if a disk is not available.  Sorghum eats up a lot of fertilizer.  If “average corn crop” is an option to check off on the soil test form, use that option and the recommendations you receive from the test results should be ideal for sorghum.  The mix is a diverse assortment of sorghums and millet designed specifically to provide a high energy food supply through an extended period and resist damage by deer.  This blend is normally planted a couple weeks later than corn and adapted to a variety of soil types.

Triple Threat Clover Mix is a concentrated, pre-inoculated clover mix including Crimson, Patriot and Durana clovers.  This mix will provide high quality food and cover for wild turkeys, deer and other wildlife.  This mix is adapted to most sites and will stay established for several years with proper maintenance.  Prepare the seedbed by disking or harrowing the ground.  Create a smooth seedbed.  Follow the recommendations on amounts of lime and fertilizer.  Broadcast seed over one acre.  Cover seed ¼” deep using a drag or cultipacker to insure good seed to soil contact.  Soil pH should be 6.0 to 7.0.  Normally can be planted early fall or early spring depending on location.

Every bag purchased results in an acre of quality wild turkey brood habitat being established.  This helps the VA State Chapter address a key issue identified in our state strategy of the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan.  Your membership and financial support at our banquets helps make this program possible and allows the chapter to address high priority habitat needs in our state.  THANK YOU!


Richard Pauley
Virginia State Chapter President
National Wild Turkey Federation

JAKES Youth Spring Gobbler Facebook Photo Contest

The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is hosting our 2nd annual JAKES Youth Spring Gobbler Weekend photo contest for youngsters hunting in Virginia during the two-day Youth Weekend on April 1-2.


















There will be two winning categories, 12 and under, and 13-15 year old hunters. TWO winners will receive a new 20 ga pump shotgun. You do not have to harvest a turkey to enter the contest, BUT you must post a picture of you in the filed during the hunt, AND holding a sign or piece of paper, with the hashtag #VA-JAKES. The shotgun will need to be registered to your parent or guardian, and both winners must meet all FFL requirements. Here are the contest rules:

1-    This contest is open to any youngster hunting during the Youth Spring Gobbler Weekend. Hunt MUST take place in Virginia.
2-    There will be TWO winners, 12 and under, 13-15.
3-    LIKE our NWTF Virginia Facebook page.
5-    Post a picture IN THIS THREAD of your youth day hunt holding a sign, or piece of paper, with the hashtag #VA-JAKES.
6-    In your post, you must include your First & Last Name, Age and City, state where you live.
7-    Submit your picture by midnight on Wednesday, April 5th.
8-    Winners will be selected at random and posted no later than Wednesday, April 12th.
9-    Winners’ information will be confirmed before the prizes are awarded so Name, and Age must be accurate.

VA WITO "Take a Woman Hunting Week"

The Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s “Take a Woman Hunting Week”

April 15-22, during the 2017 Virginia Spring Gobbler Season, The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is promoting our 2nd annual statewide “Take a Woman Hunting Week” with the purpose of encouraging hunters and mentors to introduce women to hunting and share our hunting heritage. 

By registering for this event, both the mentor and the woman hunting will be entered into a drawing for a shotgun. In addition, the woman will receive a custom turkey box call to commemorate the hunt.

The mentor must be a Virginia Licensed hunter. The woman hunting must have a Virginia Hunting License or Virginia Apprentice License and all applicable game tags. The Apprentice License can be purchased by a new hunter before completing the hunter education course, as long as they are hunting with a Virginia Licensed hunter over the age of 18. The Apprentice License is good for two years and is a great way to introduce new hunters to the sport. 

Registration is limited to Virginia residents and while there is no cost for registration, all mentors and hunters are required to be, or become, NWTF members, Women in the Outdoors members, or Wheelin’ Sportsmen members. 

To join the NWTF – contact your local chapter, join online, or return a check for $35 for each new or renewing membership with your registration. Your membership dollars help secure the future of wildlife, wild places and the hunt for future generations.

For more information about the WITO program, contact the Virginia Women in the Outdoors Coordinator, Julie Abel at: 540-379-1965 or by email. You can download the Registration Form in either PDF or WORD formats. Download the Registration Form in PDF or Registration form in WORD.

Participants are encouraged to share pictures and stories about their hunting experiences on our NWTF Virginia Women in the Outdoors Facebook page.

Events such as this are part of the NWTF’s “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” mission.  Hunters contribute approximately 80% of wildlife conservation through excise taxes on guns, ammunition and more. Be part of the solution to create a new hunter!

**For this event, the NWTF will not be recommending/providing a mentor or property to hunt.

3rd Annual VA Turkey Call Makers Competition!

Attention Turkey Call Makers! The Virginia State Chapter NWTF will be holding the 3rd Annual Turkey Call Makers Competition at their upcoming annual Awards Banquet. The banquet will take place on Saturday, January 21st at the Holiday Inn Valley View in Roanoke.

The Call Makers Competition was the brainchild of NWTF Regional Director Billy Hall in an effort to allow some of the best call makers from Virginia and surrounding states to showcase their abilities.  Hall commented, “Virginia is fortunate to have some very talented call makers and we wanted to provide them with a platform to display their craftsmanship to the largest group of turkey hunting enthusiasts in the state.”

The basis for this competition is to determine each call’s stand-alone merit of how well it performs in the hands of a hunter.  The judges of this competition will be a qualified panel of experienced hunters who will grade each call on the prescribed criteria.  Please note that this is not a contest to determine who the best caller is, rather it is a contest to determine the best call in each specific category.

While it is expected that call makers can run their own calls with great precision, the question with hunters is, how simple or easy the call is to use and how much does it sound like the game they pursue.  In determining and selecting the best hunting calls each year, the Virginia State Chapter of the NWTF strives to ensure fairness and impartiality without prejudice towards commercial or custom call makers or with the design of any call entered in the hunting call competition.  Criteria for determining and selecting the best call places equal emphasis on sound quality and tone, ease of use, versatility and its ability in attaining what is commonly referred to as a break over. Please be sure to condition your call upon entry.

The contest is now directed by our volunteer, Staci Longest. For detailed contest rules and info on where to send your call(s), please download the CALL MAKERS COMPETITION AND ENTRY FORM.  If you have any questions, or need help with the form, please contact Staci Longest.

VaDGIF needs your input!

VaDGIF has set the Scoping Period in motion where the public is invited to be a part of the regulations review process.  Anyone with a recommendation is requested to submit their idea through the DGIF site, here.
The Scoping Period ends on November 30, 2016.  The Turkey Committee (and other species committees) will meet to review the public recommendations sometime in December.  The Turkey Committee will also review important turkey population harvest and trend data as well as other regulations that may be affecting the turkey resource or hunter satisfactions.  They will meet with the DGIF Board in late February to review recommendations and create proposals.  There will be another 60-day public comment period on proposals sometime during March and April. DGIF staff will present final recommendations for final Board approval in late May. 

Sportsmen, please submit your ideas/recommendations in this very important scoping process. 

2017 52 Gun Raffle tickets available now!

It's time to buy your tickets for our 24th Annual Va. State Chapter NWTF 52-Gun Raffle. We will have a winner every Wednesday during 2017, with 52 winners! The weekly winner is determined by the Wednesday night drawing of the Virginia Lottery Pick-3, of which there are only 1000 combinations. All tickets are sold, so there is a guaranteed winner every week! Your number is good for the whole year, so you can win more than once. For a complete list of the weekly prizes, click here.

For only 75 cents each week ($40 donation per ticket), you'll get a chance to win a fine, new firearm, or the cash option, for all 52 drawings of 2017! Firearms will be shipped directly to a local FFL dealer near you, and you must meet all FFL requirements.





Tickets are available through your local NWTF Chapter leaders, or you can contact the following people to purchase a ticket.

Robin Clark            email          434-249-6154
Rick Layser            email          540-490-0350
Jeff Tomlin              email          434-277-8747

Here's more info on the raffle:

  • These are new, factory made, firearms.
  • By purchasing a ticket you attest that you are a law abiding citizen of good moral character, may legally possess the firearms (s) won, have the intention of using the firearms (s) only in legal and safe manner, and will or have already obtained instruction on the safe use and operation of the firearms (s) won.
  • Winning ticket holders will be contacted by Jeff Tomlin by phone as well as be posted on our Virginia NWTF website, www.vanwtf.com.
  • Proceeds of the “52 Gun Raffle” benefit the Virginia State Chapter of the N.W.T.F. Outreach and Habitat programs. These funds are used exclusively in Virginia.
  • You must be 18 years old and a legal resident of the United States to purchase a ticket.
  • Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) rules apply. 


VANWTF Youth Deer Weekend Facebook Contest!























The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is hosting their second annual Youth Deer Weekend Facebook photo contest for Virginia resident youth hunters only. There will two winning categories, 12 and under, and 13-15 year old hunters. Each of the two winners will receive a new Remington 870 20 ga pump shotgun. You do not have to harvest a deer to enter the contest, BUT you must post a picture of you in the field, during the hunt, AND holding a sign or piece of paper, with the hashtag #SAVETHEHUNT. The shotgun will need to be registered to your parent or guardian, and both winners must meet all FFL requirements. Please see the CONTEST RULES below.

Here are the contest rules:

1-    This contest is open to ANY youth hunting in Virginia during the Virginia Youth Deer Weekend, Sept. 24-25th.
2-    There will be TWO winners, 12 and under, 13-15.
3-    LIKE our NWTF Virginia page. (Parent may enter for their child if they do not have a Facebook page.)
4-    Go to the OFFICIAL YOUTH WEEKEND CONTEST THREAD on the NWTF Facebook page.
5-    Post a picture IN THE OFFICIAL THREAD of your youth day hunt holding a sign, or piece of paper, with the hashtag #SAVETHEHUNT.
6-    In your post, you must include your First & Last Name, Age, City and State.
7-    Submit your picture by midnight on Wednesday, Wed. Sept. 28th.
8-    Winners will be selected at random and posted no later than Thursday, October 6th. All decisions are final.
9-    Winners’ information will be confirmed before the prizes are awarded so Name, and Age must be accurate.

It's time to place your Fall Seed Subsidy order!

The Virginia State Chapter Board of Directors is pleased to offer its members the opportunity to purchase several mixes at subsidized prices through our 2016 Fall Seed Subsidy offer.

  • Annual members allowed 1 bag
  • Sponsor members allowed 2 bags
  • Life members allowed 3 bags

Each member may purchase additional bags of these mixes in unlimited quantities at the NON-SUBSIDIZED prices listed on the order form.

This year, the Seed Subsidy offer is ONLY availabe online. To place your order, go to the Online Order Form. All orders filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Quantities are limited; allow two weeks for delivery before calling to check on your order.

All mixes will plant approximately 1 acre.  Conduct soil test and add recommended soil amendments prior to planting.  As a general rule for legumes:  Soil pH should be 6.0 – 7.0, fertilize with 5-10-15 at a rate of 250 pounds per acre and a minimum of 2,000 pounds of lime per acre.  Prepare the seedbed by disking or harrowing the ground to create a smooth seedbed.  Broadcast seed over one acre from April into late May and in fall through September. (Fall seeding of legumes are best in the South).  Then cover seed ¼” deep using a drag or cultipacker to insure good seed to soil contact.  Always store seed in a cool, dry place prior to planting.  Check with your Extension Office for appropriate planting times, methods and rates in your local area.

Available seed mixes include:

Clover Fab Five
This legume mixture provides almost equal proportions of five varieties of clovers: Crimson, Ladino, White Dutch, Arrowleaf and Berseem.  This is the widest variety of clovers offered including annuals (even though most will reseed if conditions allow) and perennials.   Plot should be an insect magnet and as a result attract turkey hens and poults foraging for insects in the summer.

Fall Combo
An excellent fall mix for deer and turkeys. Twenty pounds of Austrian winter peas and a ten pound mixture of crimson clover and brassicas in separate bags within the shipping box.  Need to add a bushel of your own wheat or oats to complete the smorgasboard. Peas and grain should be disked into well prepared seedbed and with proper soil amendments and then cultipacked.

Triple Threat Clover
Mix is a concentrated, pre-inoculated clover mix including Crimson, Patriot and Durana clovers.  This mix will provide high quality food and cover for wild turkeys, deer and other wildlife.  This mix is adapted to most sites and will stay established for several years with proper maintenance.

Pro Plus
Consists of Alfalfa, Medium Red Clover, White Dutch Clover and Berseem Clover.  It provides areas of food and cover through the winter and provides excellent nesting and brood-rearing cover during spring and early summer.  It is heavily utilized by wild turkeys, deer and other wildlife.

Each purchase results in the establishment of quality wild turkey brood habitat.  Your efforts support the Virginia State Chapter efforts to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.  Your membership and financial support at NWTF Hunting Heritage Banquets helps make this program possible and allows the NWTF to address high priority habitat needs in your state.  Thank you!


Rick Layser
Virginia State Chapter President
National Wild Turkey Federation

Lee Co. Strutters JAKES Event!

National Wild Turkey Federation
Lee County Strutters

Saturday, September 17, 2016
Location: The Lee County Coon Club
485 Big Woods Trail Jonesville, VA
Check in at 8:30 am

Events include the following:
Air Rifle
Hunter’s Trail
Special guests
and more!

Free Lunch to all participants!
Adults are welcome to eat but donations are greatly appreciated.

This event is open to youth age 5-17

You can download the Registration Form, or if you'd like to help support this great event, download the Donation Form.

You can also prickup a registration packet, or get more information, at the following locations: Daniel Boone Soil and Water Conservation Office or Liberty Sport & Pawn
Or contact Melissa Harber for more information: 276-346-2153 or  Email.

 Like us on Facebook for more info and updates: Lee County Strutters

Registration and money must be received by Tuesday August 30, 2016 to guarantee an event t-shirt!

2016 Lucky 13 Gun Bash tickets available!

The Virginia State Chapter NWTF is hosting the 6th annual Wheelin’ Sportsmen Lucky 13 Gun Bash to benefit our Wheelin’ Sportsmen and Outreach programs. Tickets are available for $10 each from NWTF Chapters throughout Virginia. Last year we had forty prizes, and this year we've increased our prizes again. FIFTY winners will be selected in the following order, and the 13th winner will receive $1,313.13. We will draw out each winner, record their information and put their ticket back into the drawing, so your ticket will be in for all 50 drawings! Last year there were approximately 5000 tickets sold.

The drawing will be held at 3:30PM on Sunday, September 18th in Richmond at the Bass Pro Shop after the VA State Board meeting. All winners will be notified by phone, and all winners will be posted on the VaNWTF website. Your gun will be shipped to an FFL licensed dealer near you, and you will need to meet all Federal firearm purchase requirements.

***If your ball team, hunt club or civic organization is interested in using this raffle as a fundraiser, please contact us. For every $10 ticket your club sells, you keep $2.50! No investment, no worries, just sell tickets and put $2.50 in your pocket!

Please help support our program! Tickets can be purchased from your local NWTF Chapter, or contact:

Billy Hall - 540-784-0046 or email                  Robin Clark - 434-249-6154 or email

Rick Layser – 540-490-0350 or email
             Jeff Tomlin – 434-941-6939 or email

VaNWTF Conservation License Plate!

The Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation Invites You to be one of the First to Display the NWTF Virginia License Plate on Your Vehicle!

Order your plate today and be entered into a drawing for a gun!

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles requires us to collect 450 completed applications - with payment - before the plate can be produced. To ensure we reach this number quickly, we are giving away a chance at the 2016 NWTF Exclusive Henry Silver Boy – Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. .22 Rifle for each application we receive until we reach our goal!

Why Support This Project?

  • $15 from every NWTF plate goes toward the mission in Virginia—The Conservation of the Wild Turkey and Preserving our Hunting Heritage.
  • The charitable portion of your contribution is tax deductible.
  • Show your commitment to the Wild Turkey everywhere you go!

Two easy steps to get started!

  1. Download and fill out the official DMV application. One application per vehicle. There is no limit to how many chances you have to win the rifle!
  2. Print out and enclose the completed application with a check payable to the NWTF and return to : Kevin Walter—9411 Katelyn Ct. Manassas, VA 20111. The DMV has not yet released this plate—Please do not return your check or application to the DMV.

Forward this to your friends, family and hunting buddies!

**NWTF Plates cost $25 for Non-personalized and $35 for personalized. **

The State Chapter will submit all applications and payments at one time. The DMV will mail your new plates to you after production and/or when it is time to renew your current registration.
You will automatically be entered into the gun drawing!
Please email questions about the Virginia NWTF Plate or check us out on Facebook.
Thank you for your continued support of the National Wild Turkey Federation!

For questions about the Virginia NWTF plate, please contact your local NWTF Representative or email Kevin Walter.


Get the Plate! Show your Support!

VAWS Gun Raffle Winner!

Thanks to everyone who came out supported our Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen program at the Western Va. Sports Show at Expoland this weekend. We actually sold out on all of tickets on Saturday evening, and lucky winner is Rodney Lilley of Charlottesville. Thanks again for your continued support!

29th Annual Western Va. Sport Show

Mark your calenders for the 29th Annual Western Virginia Sports Show on Fri-Sat-Sun, Feb. 26-27-28 at Expoland in Fishersville. The Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Chapter will be hosting the Dennis Campbell Classic Turkey Calling Contest. For more info on the show, please visit their Show Website. Please see info on the Calling Contest and the Show Flyer below.

Central Va Chapter WITO Spring Turkey Hunt


















On Saturday, April 16th, the Central Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will host their 2nd Annual WITO (Women in the Outdoors) Spring Turkey Hunt.  Applications will be accepted until March 30th, and six lucky ladies will be drawn to attend the hunt.   We will have a “meet and greet dinner” on Friday, April 15th. Activities will begin at 4:00pm where we will enjoy a catered dinner, and the huntresses will meet their guides and helpers, pattern their guns, share some laughs, and then hopefully roost some birds. The excitement will definitely be in the air!  After dinner, the ladies will head for their lodging accommodations, closer to their hunting destination.  All accommodations will be provided.

Early Saturday morning, six teams will head out to their hunting destinations in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Orange, and Louisa counties. After the hunt, teams will return to the hunt headquarters to share their hunting stories, takes some pics and enjoy a catered lunch. We will finish up the hunt with custom gifts and a drawing for a Shotgun.

This event will kick off  “Take a Woman Hunting Week” on April 16-23. For more information on this statewide event, click here.

To register for this hunt, please complete the APPLICATION FORM and email to Emily Beasley, or mail to: 

Emily Beasley - Turkey Hunt
6855 Jefferson Mill Rd
Scottsville, VA 24590

For more information on this hunt or our "Take a Woman Hunting Week", please contact Sherwood Londeree at 434-589-2416, or by email. You can also LIKE us on facebook: Women in the Outdoors WITO-Central VA Chapter.

For more information on hunting opportunities for youth, women and sportsmen with disabilities, our habitat conservation programs, or participating in any of 50+ local  NWTF Chapters please visit our Virginia NWTF website.

Sherwood Londeree
Central Virginia Chapter - President

2016 Virginia State Turkey Calling Championship announced!

Attention NWTF Members and Turkey Callers,

We would like to cordially invite you to participate in the NWTF Virginia State Championship Turkey Calling Contest to be held on Saturday, January 30th 2016. This NWTF sanctioned contest will begin at 12:00 noon at the National Capital Sportsman Show located at the Fredericksburg Expo Center, Fredericksburg, VA.  Pre-registration is suggested for all divisions:  VA State, Senior Open, Intermediate, Friction or JAKES (Youth) calling contests!  The top Virginia resident senior caller will be named the 2016 NWTF Virginia State Champion, the top Virginia resident Friction caller will be named the 2016 NWTF Virginia State Friction Champion.

The National Capital Area Chapter will host this year’s State Championship contest, with registration and check-in beginning at 10:00AM. All callers must be current NWTF members (memberships available at registration).  Through our Chapter, the National Capital Sportsman Show, and Sponsors, we will be offering GREAT prize packages in every division.

All contestants paid & pre-registered will receive a free show pass in their registration packet.

•    Please see the website for show info and directions - www.nationalsportsshow.com. The REGISTRATION FORM cal be downloaded below.
•    For more information, contact Kevin Walter (484) 951-1275 or by email.
•    You may also download this application at www.vanwtf.com

Registration Fee is only $40.00 per division entry.
The JUNIOR or “JAKES - Youth” Division is free, but we would like all contestants to join the NWTF’s “JAKES” Program!

TO REGISTER:  Please download and complete the REGISTRATION FORM in WORD DOC or PDF Format, and return with registration fees to:

VA State Championship Calling Contest
Kevin Walter
9411 Katelyn Ct
Manassas, VA 20111

Or you can send your Registration Form by email (payment made at time of contest).

NWTF's Humphries testifies before US House of Representatives

Testimony of Becky Humphries
Chief Conservation Officer
The National Wild Turkey Federation
Legislation to Address Forest Policy Reform and Encourage Active Forest Management
Before the
Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Federal Lands
United States House of Representatives
June 3, 2015

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, I am Becky Humphries, Chief Conservation Officer of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and I appreciate the opportunity to testify on the issue of active forest management. Founded in 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation is a national non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of our hunting heritage. The National Wild Turkey Federation is 230,000 members strong and maintains local chapters in every state. With the successful restoration of the wild turkey complete, the National Wild Turkey Federation has focused its efforts on our “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” initiative, which connects both parts of our mission by recognizing the importance of quality habitat for wildlife conservation and our hunting tradition. Through this initiative, our “Save the Habitat” efforts are largely focused on creating and maintaining healthy forests through active management.

Professionally trained wildlife biologists know that forest diversity at the landscape level is the key to proper management to achieve species diversity and robustness. There are four fundamental criteria each forest species needs for survival: food, water, shelter, and space. Depending on how a forest is managed, various amounts of these criteria become available to the animals living there. Wildlife managers consider active management the best solution to meet the habitat requirements of the largest variety of species. Active management creates young forest habitat, which provides adequate food sources, nesting habitat, and hiding places for forest wildlife. Throughout the United States we are losing this diversity on a landscape-level scale, in many cases because our forests are becoming more homogenized and over-mature. The U.S. Forest Service has recognized the need for young forest habitat and they allocate funding and guidance to provide such habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the golden-winged warbler, New England cottontail, gopher tortoise, and red-cockaded woodpecker. These benefits extend to numerous other species of wildlife, and result in a greater diversity of plants and animals.

The National Wild Turkey Federation’s work on the Oconee National Forest and the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia provide an example of these benefits. From 2007 through 2012 the National Wild Turkey Federation worked with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to actively manage over 21,000 acres of loblolly pine habitat on federal lands. The primary objective of the work was to increase pine savannah and young forest habitat to improve habitat for, and reduce wildfire risk to, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. This was achieved through timber harvest, the removal of invasive, exotic plant species, and an increase in the use of prescribed fire. As a result of the extensive sustainable forest management practices employed during this project, the number of potential breeding pairs of red-cockaded woodpeckers in the project area increased by nearly 27%. In addition, habitat improvement and population increases were noted for other species including the southern flying squirrel, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and a variety of migratory songbirds. Long-term maintenance costs and threat of wildfire, forest pests, and disease were also reduced through these efforts.

The management of healthy forests is made economically viable through the harvest and sale of forest products and timber, which help offset the costs associated with other forest and wildlife management activities such as reforestation, invasive species control, prescribed fire, timber stand improvements, etc. Without the funding that sustainable forest management provides the landowner (including the federal government), we are likely to see less forest management, which, in turn, will exacerbate the problems of wildfire, decreased forest health, endangered species, and water quality. Additionally, without the revenue that active forest management provides, we are likely to see increased land conversion to non-forested uses and the loss of the basic operational capacity (i.e., loggers and mills) to accomplish on-the-ground, sustainable forest management that results in heathy, resilient forests important for a wide variety of ecological benefits.

We can’t rely solely on state and private lands to continue to supply the timber industry with the fiber necessary to meet our forest product needs. Our nation’s federal lands also play a vital role in maintaining healthy forests that are resilient to threats at a landscape level. In many areas of the country, federal forestland has the potential to provide a consistent and reliable source of forest products to keep the mills open. The sustainability of this industry is critical for us to economically maximize the benefits of a healthy forest and fight the threats of wildfire, insects, and disease. Furthermore, if the health and vitality of our federal forests are not addressed, devastating wildfires and insect and disease epidemics will spread to adjacent state and private forestlands, thereby undermining other efforts to maintain healthy forests. Without the forest products provided by our federal lands, the ability to manage for healthy forests across a landscape, regardless of ownership (i.e. federal, state, or private), is severely threatened. We believe the draft legislation this committee is considering will help to ensure that timber harvest, and the creation of young forest habitat for wildlife, remains viable on both federal and non-federal lands.

Our current funding model for fighting catastrophic wildfires helps illustrate this point. Over the last 30 years the length of the fire season has increased by more than 2 months. In addition, the intensity of many fires has increased largely due to an increased fuel load that is a result of less timber harvested and reduced active forest management. During the same time period, the cost of wildfire suppression has increased an average of more than 22% annually and now accounts for half of the U.S. Forest Service’s annual budget. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually to fight forest fires. Unfortunately, these fires often result in scorched earth that all agree is not good for wildlife, water quality, recreation, or local economies and jobs. Alternatively, we could and should increase the pace of sustainable forest management. Active forest management to prevent wildfires costs less than suppression and is proven to be extremely effective at preventing wildfire, as well as helping with fire containment and suppression efforts. By reducing the obstacles to sustainable forest management on our federal lands not only can we reduce the likelihood of wildfires and the costs of fighting them, but we can also realize additional benefits of improved public safety, the protection of private and public property, quality wildlife habitat, improved water quality, fewer invasive species, enhanced recreational opportunities, and more robust local economies.

The National Wild Turkey Federation has been a leader in the Stewardship Contracting realm. We have partnered with the U.S Forest Service on 81 successful Stewardship End-Result Contracting projects in the last decade. All of these projects demonstrate the benefits of partnership and have resulted in sustainable forest management. For example, in New Mexico, the National Wild Turkey Federation is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service in the eastern Zuni Mountains of the Cibola National Forest on the Bluewater stewardship agreement. Since 2010, 5,000 acres have been treated to create a healthy, resilient forest by reducing the timber density of the stand, and in turn improving the future ability to proactively manage the forest with fire. This both decreases future fire risk in the area and creates quality habitat for the wild turkey and other wildlife. The National Wild Turkey Federation and our partners, including the sawmill Mount Taylor Machine, have provided matching funds to the project which has expanded the number of treated acres by 20 percent. Mount Taylor Machine almost exclusively receives its product from the national forest and without this project likely would have been forced to close, putting their 35 employees in the small community of Milan, New Mexico out of work. The project is so important to both the forest and the community that the Mount Taylor Machine has donated a portion of its hauling expenses to ensure the project can continue. The U.S. Forest Service acknowledges that without the National Wild Turkey Federation’s capacity to administratively handle this project the work would not have been possible. The National Wild Turkey Federation has also participated in the Puerco Cooperative Forest Restoration Project that has collected necessary data for a landscape scale National Environmental Protection Act analysis that will allow for the expansion of similar forest management work in the western Zuni Mountains of the Cibola National Forest.

The partnership opportunities provided by Stewardship End-Result Contracting allow the U.S. Forest Service to respond more quickly to natural disasters. In 2009, a catastrophic ice storm devastated much of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. Through a stewardship agreement, The National Wild Turkey Federation helped restore access to the 170,000-acre recreation area by facilitating multiple logging crews to open roads and clean up debris. Since that time, our partnership efforts have continued, focusing on forest health and wildlife habitat by reducing forest density, removing invasive plant species, restoring native grasses and trees, and improving and maintaining access for visitors. Through the stewardship agreement, the local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter provides approximately $20,000 worth of in-kind services and nearly 600 hours of volunteer time annually, expanding the scope of work that could otherwise be accomplished using only federal money. Together we accomplish nearly 6,000 acres of treatments annually.

Despite these examples of progress, the National Wild Turkey Federation believes that many administrative policies and processes continue to slow the rate of implementation to an unacceptable pace, greatly increasing the cost of implementation. We are thankful to this subcommittee for tackling the job of updating forest policy to address the long understood concerns of the forestry and conservation community. I’d like to highlight a few thoughts that the National Wild Turkey Federation has concerning the draft bill.

1. Categorical Exclusion Expansion - The National Wild Turkey Federation supports any actions that will help streamline the process and speed up the pace of work. We believe that there are certain actions that clearly deserve categorical exclusions in order to deal with issues like pests and disease; hazardous fuels; critical habitats for threatened or endangered species; salvage facilitation; protection of municipal water sources; increased water yield; and for activities that improve, enhance, or create early successional forests for wildlife habitat and other purposes specified within the forest plan. Collectively, the U.S. Forest Service and its resource managers have a long history and considerable experience managing our forest resources. The treatments mentioned above are routine, reoccurring activities with known, minor impacts and therefore fall under the purpose of categorical exclusions and should not require the typical extensive environmental assessments. We believe these categorical exclusions are necessary and will help increase the pace and scale of management and restoration of our nation’s forests. The acreage size limits in the bill should allay any concerns about the potential for overtreatment. We are especially pleased with the categorical exclusion for meeting forest plan goals relative to early successional forests. Such forests provide habitats that are critical for many wildlife species, including the wild turkey.

2. Title II: Large Scale Wildfire Reforestation - The National Wild Turkey Federation supports the requirements that the U.S. Forest Service: 1) Complete NEPA for all planned reforestation activities; and 2) Implement and complete said reforestation activities on at least 50 percent of the fire-impacted lands in a timely manner following the conclusion of the wildfire. The draft bill specifies a three month window to complete NEPA and two years to complete the reforestation treatments. We support the premise of both requirements, so long as both timelines are reasonable given budgets and capacity. In addition to the deadlines, the National Wild Turkey Federation supports the prohibition on restraining orders and preliminary injunctions with respect to decisions to prepare or conduct reforestation activities following a large-scale wildfire. While public input and review is an essential and necessary element of public lands management, it is imperative that we work to restore wildfire-impacted lands for the ecological health of the immediate area and surrounding landscape, protection of the watershed, economic vitality of the local communities, and the social and aesthetic values that our federal lands provide. Delaying action can result in an inability to accomplish these objectives.

3. County Payments for Stewardship Contracting - The National Wild Turkey Federation generally supports changing the way timber revenues are handled through Stewardship Contracting Projects, specifically Integrated Resource Timber Contracts, so as to provide payments to counties. We understand the budget concerns facing counties and certainly don’t have all the answers for how to replace lost timber revenue to counties due to lack of management. That said, we recognize that not treating timber revenues generated from Integrated Resource Timber Contracts the same as regular timber sales has led to unintended consequences on county budgets. As one of the larger users of Stewardship Contracting, we believe this change will remove one impediment to using Stewardship Contracting and help garner and/or maintain support for the program.
The National Wild Turkey Federation is concerned that paying a portion of the stewardship project revenues to counties could, however, negatively impact the outcomes and/or willingness of partners to enter into Stewardship Agreements with the U.S. Forest Service. Stewardship Agreements, a specific type of project authorized under the Stewardship Contracting Authorities, are uniquely different from Integrated Resource Timber Contracts. Stewardship Agreements, unlike Stewardship Contracts, are awarded via a non-competitive process, can only be entered into with a non-profit partner organization, and the partner is required to contribute a minimum of 20% match in order to expand the scope and scale of the project. Stewardship Agreements are often applied in situations with limited timber value, in places where there aren’t viable markets or where the U.S. Forest Service lacks capacity to administer/implement the project. As a result, the partner’s match is required to make the project feasible and to enable the timber harvest and related wildlife/habitat service work to be completed. As a result of the 81 Stewardship Agreements that the National Wild Turkey Federation has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service on, we have seen many cases where our match was used to expand the scope/scale of the project beyond what would have been possible via a regular timber sale or Stewardship Contract. For these reasons, the National Wild Turkey Federation feels it would be inappropriate to divert a portion of the timber revenues to the counties, in that doing so would decrease the dollars available for on-the-ground work. We suggest that payments to counties be incorporated into the Integrated Resource Timber Contracts but not into the Stewardship Agreements.

4. Two alternatives approach - The National Wild Turkey Federation supports the approach of only allowing two alternatives for collaborative, Resource Advisory Committee, and CWPP projects. Limiting the number of alternatives will speed up the development of environmental assessments and allow work to get done on the ground more quickly. We also support the requirement to look at the consequences of a no-action alternative. A decision to not actively manage is a management decision, and therefore still has an impact on the resource.

5. Allowing use of Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration and Stewardship Revenues for planning - The National Wild Turkey Federation certainly recognizes the need for more funds to be devoted to planning activities. These planning activities are necessary to develop and implement projects, and often resources are limited to get the work and clearances completed in a timely manner. We are not sure if the need reaches the 25% threshold, but we think the provision of allowing some of the stewardship project revenues (i.e., “retained receipts”) to cover the costs of planning additional stewardship contracting projects could be beneficial. This provision could provide an incentive for the continued or increased use of Stewardship Contracting and may be especially helpful for National Forests that are able to generate significant stewardship project revenues, for those that have limited “shelf ready” projects, and for those that lack capacity to complete the required planning efforts. That said, the National Wild Turkey Federation is concerned that this provision, if not closely monitored, could provide justification for U.S. Forest Service staff to refrain from fully utilizing product value (i.e., timber receipts) and partner match dollars for on-the-ground service work. In Stewardship Agreements, we believe all the receipts and match dollars generated during the life of the project should be used for actual service work, rather than being used to plan future projects in which the partner may or may not be involved.

6. Wildfire still needs addressing - The National Wild Turkey Federation appreciates that the Subcommittee wants to move a balanced bill that can pass both Houses and get signed by the President. We have concerns that this effort does not address the wildfire issue. Until federal agencies are freed from the burden of fighting catastrophic wildfire through their annual budgets and the resulting “fire-borrowing,” we will be unable to make meaningful progress towards proactive forest management, which is our most effective and cost efficient way to reduce the number, size and intensity of wildfires. For us this is not a “deal-breaker,” but we urge the Committee to address fire borrowing as they move the legislation forward.

7. Collaboration - The National Wild Turkey Federation appreciates the emphasis on collaboration within this bill. In our experience, projects with strong collaboration are often larger, get implemented more quickly, include more financial partners, and are less likely to be challenged through litigation.

8. Litigation - We support the efforts to limit litigation on projects by requiring those challenging the U.S. Forest Service in court to post bond to cover the government’s legal expenses. We believe this will dissuade groups from litigating only for the sake of delaying action. Earlier this month in this Committee, former U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth stated in written testimony, “While many environmental laws were originally passed for good reason at a time when more checks and balances were needed, the situation has dramatically changed. Now communities are coming together at unprecedented levels to find common ground and to address the increasing threats of insects, disease, invasive species and wildfire. Unfortunately, the sheer multitude of laws, and their expansion by the courts have led to processes almost unintelligible to reasonable people. All of us understand that significantly more restoration needs to occur through aggressive active management.” The National Wild Turkey Federation agrees with former Chief Bosworth that reform is needed and we applaud this Subcommittee for tackling this complex and sensitive issue.

Beyond the scope of the forestry reform bill, the National Wild Turkey Federation urges the U.S. Forest Service to fully utilize the existing authorities that Congress has provided in order to increase the scope and scale of forest management and restoration. We have a few examples:

 There are examples of cases where the U.S. Forest Service is not implementing projects (e.g., thinnings, timber harvests, prescribed burns, etc.) to the full extent approved/allowed under the completed NEPA documents and forest plans. This means there was time and resources devoted to the various planning stages that isn't being captured/realized during implementation. Furthermore, implementing projects to the fullest extent allowed under NEPA and forest plans is much more cost effective than partially implementing additional treatments elsewhere from a forest health, fire prevention, wildlife habitat, and economic standpoint because the contractors are already working in those stands.

 The U.S. Forest Service’s internal policy, outlined by the Chief, does not allow National Forests to utilize Knutson-Vanderberg (KV) receipts for service work outside the original sale boundary. It is our understanding that many National Forests have KV receipts in excess of what is needed for work within the sale boundary. The 2014 Farm Bill, passed by Congress, grants the U.S. Forest Service the authority to use these receipts anywhere within the region where the receipts were generated. The Pinchot Institute’s 2014 Annual Report on Stewardship Contracting states that 43 percent of the National Forest System (82 million acres) is in need of restoration. Currently, less than five percent (about four million acres) is accomplished annually. Clearly more needs to be done if we are going to turn the tide and restore the health of our national forests. Therefore, we urge the U.S. Forest Service to alter its policy in order to allow these funds to be used for the management and restoration treatments that our federal forests so desperately need.

To close, the National Wild Turkey Federation has shown through its continued partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and restoration efforts through our “Save the
Habitat. Save the Hunt.” initiative, that we are a strong proponent of active, sustainable forest management. The benefits to numerous wildlife species, their habitats, and forest health are matched with economic benefits that contribute to local economies and social benefits that contribute to strong communities and public recreational opportunities. Additionally, increased active forest management on federal lands will help prevent wildfires and make it easier and less costly to fight fires when they do occur. For all of these reasons, the National Wild Turkey Federation thanks the Subcommittee for this legislation and urges passage of a bipartisan forestry reform bill. Members of this Subcommittee have much to be proud of by beginning the process. Thank you for your time and consideration and your desire to address these critical issues.

2015 VA State Turkey Calling Championship Winners!

The NWTF Virginia State Championship Turkey Calling Contest was held on Saturday, January 31st 2015, at the National Capital Sportsman Show located at the Fredericksburg Expo Center, Fredericksburg, VA. We want to thank our show hosts, judges, and all of the callers for taking part in this competition. Congratulations to all of our winners!

Virginia State Championship

1. Todd Perkins (Pictured at right)

2. Bobby Woods

3. William Brizendine


Senior Open

1. Mitchell Johnston

2. Danny Whitt

3. Jon Miller


Friction Open

1. Ben Chamberlain

2. Bobby Woods

3. Mitchell Johnston


Friction - Virginia State

1. Bobby Woods

2. Johnny Salyers

3. Carl LaRue



1. Tyler Presley

2. Dakota Chamberlain



1. Matthew Presley

2. Thomas Phifer

3. Noah Long


Bland Co Chapter JAKES Fishing Day

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 3:45 pm. Kids lined the banks of Laurel Fork Creek behind Rocky Gap High School on Saturday, April 26, for the Bland County Many Beards National Wild Turkey Federation Chapter's JAKES Annual Kids Free Fishing Day.

Check out the entire article from SWVAToday.com.

"We had a great day" said Chapter President Randy Kiser. "The weather was perfect, the food was great and the turnout was awesome."

The Free Fishing Day was hosted in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Conservation Police Officer Wes Billings and his dog Josie spent the day talking with the 105 kids who registered for the event.

"I enjoyed talking with the kids and their families today and explaining Josie's role in enforcement," Billings said.

The kids really liked hearing about how Josie helped Billings find fish the evening before that a fisherman had hidden because he had caught more than his limit.

Thanks to the generosity of more than 50 individuals and three businesses, more than 100 fishing poles were given away as door prizes.

Austin Horn of Tazewell won the Biggest Fish Contest by reeling in a 20 1/4 inch trout.

Setting Up Your Fishing Pole Clinics were held throughout the event headed up by volunteers Lawrence Scott and Dusty Kiser.

At another station, kids were invited to dig their own worms from see-through plastic bins. Volunteers Destiny Hagy and Mike DeWilde from the Bland County Senior Citizens answered questions about the worms, their composting abilities and why worms are good for the soil.

JAKES is for the youth members of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The Bland NWTF Chapter hosts two events each year so kids can experience the outdoors in a variety of ways including fishing.

Lee Co. Strutters holds Youth Hunt!

On April 5, 2014, the Lee County Strutters chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) held its second annual youth turkey hunt.  The event was co-sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF).  Other sponsors for the event included: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR), Judgment Game Calls, PRIMOS Hunting, Daniel Boone Soil and Water Conservation District and Liberty Sport and Pawn.   















The eight youngsters selected to participate ranged in age from eleven to fifteen, had an interest in hunting and normally did not have an opportunity to go hunting.   Each participant was provide a gift bag that contained turkey calls, hunting DVDs, camouflage gloves and face mask and various other hunting related equipment donated by the sponsors.  Each youth hunter was accompanied by adult mentors on the hunt to provide direction and monitor safety on the various public and private properties utilized throughout the county for the event.  The youth hunters and participants gathered on the afternoon of March 29, 2014 for a pre-hunt meeting where they were able to review firearm safety rules, pattern their shotguns and receive information on how to hunt wild turkeys. 

The hunt began at 5:00AM on Youth Spring Turkey Hunting Day where all eight youth hunters were able to be in the woods early in the morning to hear birds gobbling on the roost. Several of the youth observed turkeys during the hunt but were not able to harvest a bird.  Two of the youth hunters were successful and bagged a gobbler.   To conclude the event, all participants and volunteers were treated to a lunch from Subway restaurant.  All the youth hunters expressed excitement and are looking forward to their next hunt. The Lee County Strutters would like to thank everyone who made this event a success.

Get Involved in NFS Forest Management!

Learn how to become an active participant in Virginia's National Forest Management decisions to improve habitat for game and non-game species.

SAVE THE DATE:  15 March 2014
FREE Training Session
PLACE:  Raphine Fire Company, Raphine, VA I-81 Exit 205, west on VA 606 1.3 mi
TIME: 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Bring your own lunch or enjoy Ladies Auxiliary BBQ chicken dinner
Dutch treat $10.00 CASH ONLY payable at door, proceeds to the Fire Company

WHY- The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests (GWJEFF) have a very small acreage in young forests (early successional habitat) in the 0 to 20 years old.  This has resulted in dramatic declines in wildlife species that require thick, young vegetation to survive.  There are at least 65 species in the group that depend on young forests including ruffed grouse, woodcock, golden-winged warbler, woods turtle, whippoorwill, bobcat, and many others.  Much of the problem is lack of active forest management, mainly even aged harvesting on a regular basis across the GWJEFF.  Even though the Forest Plans call for a level of timber harvest annually, this goal is seldom achieved.  Part of this is lack of funding, but even when funded, the proposed projects are not completed due to appeals and lawsuits by citizen groups that object to manipulating forest vegetation.      

Aging forests dominate the GWJEFF) leaving an imbalance in young forests (0-20 years old).  In fact, the same concern exists along the entire Central and Southern Appalachians in USFS Region 8.  The stands of young forest (early successional forest) have a very high stem density (a thicket we’d rather not walk through on a leisurely stroll) and offers quality cover for breeding, nesting, rearing young and protection from predators.  Also, the variety of young forest plants adds to the food supply.  Hunters of game species and other non-game wildlife enthusiasts that use the GWJEFF have reported a decline of game and non-game species since the Forest Service drastically reduced active forest management.

John Coleman, Consulting Forester and Contractor to the Appalachian Mountain Young Forest Initiative, wants you and your organization to participate in an ongoing effort to be sure that the U.S. Forest Service hears your voice.  John will lead the training event and cover the new regulations that guide Forest Service management activities.  You will leave the training prepared to help others in your organization take an active part in the National Forest management process. The training will include a review of Forest Plans, the National Environmental Protection Act, the new requirements and procedures for forest management activities, and exactly how to become involved as an individual and organization.  Participants will also review sample Forest Service decision documents and learn when and how to offer comments and to be involved in project planning.  Representatives of GWJEFF will also take part in this training to be sure we are up to date in the fast and ever changing planning regulations.

The Virginia Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation State Leadership Team (Wayne Thacker, RMEF Eastern Virginia District Chair and State Leadership Team member) lends its support.  Members of the Ruffed Grouse Society, National Wild Turkey Federation and other outdoor organizations will attend.   Both John and Wayne encourage you and your organizations to support, participate in and apply training that will impact Forest Service decisions.

Without increased and continuing input from individuals and organizations in support of young forests, it is likely that the GWJEFF will continue to age and offer fewer and fewer acres of young forest habitat. 

Attend and participate in the 15 March training session, learn how to let the Forest Service know your thoughts about managing your GWJEFF, and learn how to teach others the same.  The 15 March session is our trial run; therefore, you will also be able to help us refine the training as we reach out to others.

Please let us know you will be attending by responding to:
Please indicate in your response that you wish to purchase a Ladies Auxiliary Chicken Dinner at the Fire Company or bring you own

See www.youngforest.org for information on this effort to create and restore young forest in the eastern North America

Wheelin' Sportsmen Spring Event applications!

Our 2014 Spring Gobbler Hunt and our Spring Fishing Applications are out and we're ready to get you outdoors with us this spring. We have six spring gobbler hunts planned and three great opportunities to catch some big rainbow and brown trout. If you have a mobility impairment disability and would like to participate in our events, please return the applications to us by the noted deadlines. You can download the applications here:

Spring Gobbler Hunt Application in WORD Document, and in PDF Format. Hunt application deadline - March 22nd 

Fishing Application in WORD Document, and in PDF Format. Fish aplication deadline - April 15th


Virginia Call Makers Contest!

ROANOKE, VA — Volunteers from National Wild Turkey Federation Chapters throughout Virginia converged on the Holiday Inn Valley View in Roanoke on Saturday, January 25th for the inaugural Turkey Call Makers Competition held during their annual Awards Banquet.

The Call Makers Competition was the brainchild of NWTF Regional Director Billy Hall in an effort to allow some of the best call makers from Virginia and surrounding states to showcase their abilities.  Hall commented, “Virginia is fortunate to have some very talented call makers and we wanted to provide them with a platform to display their craftsmanship to the largest group of turkey hunting enthusiasts in the state.  For a first-time event, we had a great response from the call makers, receiving 29 calls, and we hope to expand the competition at our future Awards Banquets.”

The competition includes two prestigious awards; The People’s Choice Award, and the Top Grossing Call Award.  All calls are displayed on a silent auction for the banquet attendees, and the winners are decided based on the highest bid of all calls and the total number of individual votes for the most popular call.

The winner of both awards this year was Cliff Presley of Front Royal, VA.  This long-box box call was made of butternut and cherry, and sported a custom cedar lid.  Presley is an active member of the Skyline Strutters NWTF Chapter, an avid turkey hunter, and has two sons who are well known on the turkey calling circuit.  Presley’s call making expertise has won him awards at past NWTF National Conventions and we were honored to reward him with these esteemed awards.  When notified of the awards, Presley stated, “I’m honored and humbled to receive this recognition.  To be recognized by my turkey hunting peers is gratifying, and I truly thank them for this honor.”  Cliff Presley can be reached at:  (540)635-2769 or email:   gobblerhuntinfool@gmail.com.  

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 to nearly 7 million today.  Now, NWTF’s 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.  Together, the NWTF's partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $372 million preserving hunting heritage and conserving nearly 17 million acres of essential wildlife habitat.

For more information about this event, contact Linda Layser at 540-490-0353 or visit:  www.vanwtf.com or https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaNWTF



Dennis Campbell

Dennis Morgan Campbell, 72, of Waynesboro passed away Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at the University of Virginia Medical Center surrounded by his family.

Born November 5, 1941 in Augusta County, he was the son of the late Manley Howard and Pearl (Taylor) Campbell. On June 7, 1963 he married the love of his life Betty (Sanger) Campbell. The two shared a blessed union of 50 years together.

Dennis was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist and had joined the Virginia Deer Hunters Association as Director of Field Operations within the last year. After serving in the U.S. Army, Dennis returned to Virginia where he held jobs as a cost accountant, purchasing agent, and then as Administrative Manager for local companies. Dennis's love for wildlife and the outdoors led him to volunteering for numerous conservation organizations, as well as the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. In recent years, he had been employed by the National Wild Turkey Federation as a Senior Regional Director. Nominated by his peers, he was inducted into the Virginia Conservationist's Hall of Fame. In 2001, he became Executive Director for NASCAR driver Ward Burton's Wildlife Foundation. Dennis is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors for "Return to Nature", an educational outreach program, Chairman of the Board for Sportsmen of Virginia, and served for many years on the Virginia State NWTF Executive Board. He had remained active with conservation groups for children and had the nickname "Grandfather of Youth Whitetail Day". Dennis was a member of White Hill Church of the Brethren, Stuarts Draft. He will be remembered by those who knew him as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many.

In addition to his loving wife, survivors include his daughter, Jennifer Lynne (Campbell) Floyd and husband, Jerry David Floyd, Jr.; grandchildren, Amanda (Floyd) Lent and husband, Raymond, Tabitha Noel Floyd and Autumn Paige Floyd; siblings, Judy (Campbell) Adams and husband, Robert, Roger Campbell and wife, Barbara Jean, Jesse Campbell and wife, Carolyn, Benny Campbell and Randy Campbell and wife, Martha; sister-in-law, Nancy (Sanger) Ratcliffe and husband, James; brothers-in-law, Carl Daniel Sanger and wife, Vickie and Tom Sanger; as well as a number of nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at White Hill Church of the Brethren, Stuarts Draft, with Rev. James Chappell officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a children's charity of choice.

Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family online by visiting www.reynoldshamrickfuneralhomes.com

Va NWTF donates over $15K to Support NASP

On March 16th, over 530 student archers and coaches representing 34 schools from across the Commonwealth gathered at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, VA for the 5th annual National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Tournament. The National Archery in the Schools Program promotes student education and participation in archery. The program's focus is designed to teach International style target archery in 4th through 12th grades as part of the in-school curriculum. Before presenting archery instruction to their students at school, teachers must successfully complete an 8-hour instructor certification training program referred to as BAI, Basic Archery Instructor. Certification is conducted by VDGIF Outdoor Education staff and VDGIF-certified volunteers. Currently over 550 schools, and 1270 teachers have been trained.

Sponsors for this year's State Tournament included Green Top Sporting Goods, Hanover; Bass Pro Shops, Hanover; Hunt N Shak, Richmond; Wilcox Bait and Tackle, Newport News; Parker Bows, Augusta County; Morrell Targets, AR; the Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF); Hoffman Archery, Fauquier County and Matthews Bows. Rick Layser, President of the Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) presented a check for $10,000 towards the purchase of loaner equipment sets for new schools that want to participate in NASP for 2014. Linda Layser VA NWTF NASP Committee Chairperson in addition donated a total of $5,100 divided between the three top schools in each class, Elementary, Middle and High School. These cash awards are for the winning teams to represent Virginia at the Nationals scheduled for May in Louisville, KY. Each of the three First place teams received a check for $1700. Both Rick and Linda Layser also participate in NASP as instructors. For more detailed information, visit the Department's website. For more information and to get your school and teachers involved in NASP, contact VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia State NASP Coordinator Karen Holson at (804) 367-6355 or Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov. Also, be sure to check out the NASP video and Virginia Wildlife feature article!




















Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation have initiated a process to develop a statewide Wild Turkey Management Plan.

This plan, which will incorporate all wild turkey stakeholders' values, will be similar in scope and purpose to the Virginia Black Bear (under revision) and White-tailed Deer Management Plans. The Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan will be designed to provide guidance on how to address the complex management challenges and issues related to desirable population levels, recreation (including hunting), human-turkey conflicts, and habitat conservation.

Update as of January 2013

Since the last update, 13 individuals were extended an invitation, and subsequently all have accepted, to participate on the Wild Turkey Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC). These individuals represent the spectrum of users and stakes in turkey management, including turkey hunters, other nature enthusiasts, agricultural and/or commodity producers, and representatives of organizations and agencies deemed important to turkey management. This group will work together to develop policy-level draft goals for inclusion in a new statewide management plan for wild turkeys in Virginia. Issues raised during a series of focus group meetings held in April and May 2012 will provide a starting point for discussion. The draft management plan will be available for general public review and comment later this year. Below a link is provided where a summary of issues raised during the focus groups can be viewed. Preparation of an educational document that reviews the history, biology, and management of the wild turkey in Virginia currently is nearing completion and will be used to enhance knowledge and understanding of turkeys and turkey management among the public; when completed, this document will be available via the VDGIF website. In the coming months, the SAC and the VDGIF Wild Turkey Technical Committee will be very busy working to develop a draft plan. Please monitor the VDGIF web site for future updates.

Cully McCurdy, our NWTF Regional Biologist,· our State Chapter representatives on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee.· If you have any issues or concerns that you would like him to carry forward, you can contact·Cully and Richard at:

Patrick "Cully" McCurdy

Regional Biologist -·VA/WV

National Wild Turkey Federation

HC 82 Box 217B

Marlinton WV· 24954

Office: 304-799-4792   Cell: 304-642-4762  



Richard Pauley   540-992-6193   



Golden-Winged Warbler/Longleaf Pine Initiative

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The NWTF, the leading conservation organization dedicated to improving upland wildlife habitat, and the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service are partnering on two initiatives to enhance critical ecosystems on private land across 16 states, including Virginia. Read More

The golden-winged warbler and longleaf pine initiatives will improve habitat on private land for targeted species and countless other wildlife and plant species that flourish in the same habitat.

"These are landscape scale habitat initiatives that will have far reaching impacts," said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., the NWTF's chief conservation officer. "The NWTF and our expert wildlife biologists are uniquely positioned to be the driving force behind these critical, on-the-ground habitat improvements. These initiatives will make significant impacts on golden-winged warblers, longleaf pines and the countless other species that depend on these shared habitats."

Daily, 6,000 acres of prime upland habitat are lost to development. Improving existing habitat will make a significant, long-term impact on upland wildlife and help counter these ongoing losses.

The golden-winged warbler songbird is listed as a Federal Species of Special Concern and has experienced dramatic declines, particularly throughout the greater Appalachian region, due to the loss of critical breeding habitat. Golden-winged warblers require patchy shrubland and forest edges, which also is critical for a wide range of species, including wild turkey, ruffed grouse and migratory birds.

Longleaf pine forests once covered an estimated 90 million acres across the Southeast; today only 3 percent remains. Longleaf forests are home to hundreds of wildlife species, including 29 species that are listed as threatened or endangered, and are important to the continuation of these species. This habitat is extremely important for wild turkeys.

Through these free public-private initiatives, the NWTF will work with 725 private landowners to help them improve habitat on their land by providing technical assistance and preparing habitat management plans. These efforts will provide expert guidance and help landowners participate in existing federal cost share programs to help fund these critical improvements. The NWTF also will conduct 38 wildlife habitat management field days to provide landowners with the tools to help wildlife on their lands.

"NRCS is proud to work with the NWTF to further the management of longleaf pine forests and habitat for the golden-winged warbler," said NRCS Chief Dave White. "This partnership provides another opportunity for farmers, ranchers and forestland owners to voluntarily protect this critical wildlife habitat."

The NWTF and its partners will be contributing $1.75 million to these initiatives to compliment NRCS's investment.

The golden-winged warbler initiative will include Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The initiative supporting longleaf pine will include the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

On January 22nd, Brian Chandler will begin work as the Regional Biologist in charge of this initiative in Virginia and West Virginia. Brian is a graduate of the Univ. of Tennessee Knoxville, and received his Masters at Texas Tech. For information on participating in either initiative, contact Brian at bchandler@nwtf.net or 865-414-8524. Please join us in welcoming Brian to our VaNWTF family.

VaDOF Donates Seedling Packages

Our partners at the Virginia Department of Forestry are graciously donating a seedling package to each Virginia NWTF Chapter Banquet between now and May 1st. Read More This seedling package is specifically targeted to the enhancement of wild turkey habitat. The package will be auctioned off at our local banquets so look for them in your banquet programs. This seedling package includes 5 Chickasaw plum, 10 Chinese chestnut, 25 common apple, 25 bi-color lespedeza, 25 sawtooth oak and 10 persimmon. These species are excellent for wild turkey, as well as numerous other wildlife species.

To learn more about Virginia Department of Forestry and to view our seedling catalog, please visit www.buyvirginiatrees.com.