NWTF
VIRGINIA NEWS & EVENTS

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.



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.



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  

cmccurdy@nwtf.net

Or:

Richard Pauley   540-992-6193   

pauleyr@nationwide.com



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


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

 

Intermediate

1. Tyler Presley

2. Dakota Chamberlain

 

JAKES

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:
youngforest@shentel.net
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



NWTF's Humphries testifies before US House of Representatives

Testimony of Becky Humphries
Chief Conservation Officer
The National Wild Turkey Federation
on
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.



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).



VA NWTF License Plate! Get yours now!
 

 

 

The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation would like to introduce their new license plate! Applications are being accepted right now! Cost is $25 for a new plate, or $35 if you want to personalize or transfer your existing license plate.  Ask your local NWTF chapter how you can be reimbursed after you receive your plate from DMV!

Be one of the first 450 paid applications received and have a chance on a Henry Lever Action Silver Boy .22 caliber!

When 450 applications are received, the plate is then approved by the State Legislature.  The current plate is pre-approved by the VA DMV and the printing company, changes may occur but will be minor in detail.

After approval by the State Legislature, the plate is then available for public purchase through the DMV.  When 1000 plates have been purchased, the VA NWTF will begin to receive $15 for every $25 plate purchased thereafter!  This is a milestone and first of its kind for the VA NWTF.  This money will then be used in the state of Virginia for wildlife habitat projects, habitat improvements, land purchase, land access, and many more!

For more information, contact your local NWTF chapter, or visit www.vanwtf.com.  Download your APPLICATION, and mail with your payment, payable to VANWTF, to:

Kevin Walter
9411 Katelyn Ct
Manassas, VA 20111

DON’T DELAY! GET YOURS TODAY AND HELP THE VIRGINIA NWTF PROTECT OUR HUNTING HERITAGE! 
ALSO MAKES A GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENT!



4th Annual VA Turkey Call Makers Competition!
 

Attention Turkey Call Makers! The Virginia State Chapter NWTF will be holding the 4th Annual Turkey Call Makers Competition at their upcoming annual Awards Banquet. The banquet will take place on Saturday, January 20th 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 FORMIf you have any questions, or need help with the form, please contact Staci Longest.



Place your Spring Seed Subsidy order now!
 

 

The Virginia State Chapter Board of Directors is pleased to offer our members the opportunity to purchase Biologic Clover Plus, or Biologic Non-Typical Clover 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 at the subsidized price of $34 per bag.

Annual Members may purchase a total of One bag of seed at the subsidized price of $34.00 per bag.:

***As an additional benefit, each member can purchase additional bags for just $68.00 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.

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!

Sincerely,

Richard Pauley
Virginia State Chapter President
National Wild Turkey Federation



2018 VANWTF Super Fund Meeting
 

The NWTF Virginia Super Fund committee held its’ annual meeting on Saturday, March 3rd to budget the funds raised by our NWTF chapters throughout Virginia.

Here is a list of funds allocated to Outreach programs and miscellaneous expenditures. 

JAKES (Youth)                                    $11000

WITO (Women)                                    $2500

Wheelin’ Sportsmen                             $4500

Turkey Hunters Care                            $2000

Scholarship                                         $14000

 

Spring Seed Subsidy                           $3000

Fall Seed Subsidy                               $1000

Youth Essay Contest                           $1000

DGIF Turkey Study                            $1750

Gobbler Tracks Newsletter                   $800

Crimeline contribution                        $1000

Biologist Support                                $5000

 

Habitat projects approved:

$2,500 - Little Switzerland Strutters – Highland WMA – Seed, lime and fertilize existing habitat. $2500 match from DGIF.

$2,500 – Virginia Wheelin’ Sportsmen – Scottsville Lake – Create barrier-free trails to accessible dock provided by DGIF. This will be an ongoing project with partnerships with DCR, DGIF, NWTF and others. $1500 also contributed by VAWS Chapter.

$2,750 – Augusta Co. Chapter – Wallace Tract - Contractual disking to propagate NWSG seed growth.  USFS contributes $9000.

$3,000 – Virginia Highlands Chapter – Matthews State Forest - Herbicide, lime, fertilizer and seed application to existing openings.  VaDOF is contributing $4200.

$3,250 – Augusta Co. Chapter – Little North Mountain - Create 2 acres of new wildlife clearing on the Craigsville Reservoir Road. DGIF will contribute $1440, and Augusta Co. Chapter $250.

$5,000 – Alleghany Highlands Chapter – Daylighting, control of invasive plants, reseeding, fertilizing and liming of old wildlife openings in Thorny Branch, Pond Flats, McAllister Fields in Jerry’s Run, NFS Property in Alleghany Co. Partners include Covington-Alleghany Co. I.W.L.A $1000, and the Virginia Deer Hunters Asso. $3600.

$12,515 – High Mountain Longbeards – Big Survey WMA - Timber, excavate, lime, fertilize and seed 8 acres of wildlife openings/brood habitat.

$2,400 – Little Switzerland Strutters – Highland WMA

$10,000 – Southwest Virginia Local Chapter – South Gap Elk project - To create and enhance usable and accessible wildlife habitat utilizing restored/reclaimed mine land. DGIF contributing $25,000 and Noah Horn Well Drilling will contribute $18,000. 

$3,000 – High Bridge Chapter – Prince Edward State Forest – Enhance turkey brood habitat through conversion of fescue field to a mix of bugging habitat and clover. DGIF contributing $3,000, and VaDOF $3,000. 

$3,500 – High Bridge Chapter – Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest – Continue enhancement of turkey brood habitat through conversion of fescue field to a mix of bugging habitat and clover. DGIF contributing $4,500, and VaDOF $4,500.

$4,000 – High Bridge Chapter – Cumberland State Forest - Continue enhancement of turkey brood habitat through conversion of fescue field to a mix of bugging habitat and clover. Landowner Workshops are also planned for these areas. DGIF contributing $4,500, and VaDOF $4,500.

$5,400 – Lee-Davis Longbeards – Sandy Point WMA – Create new habitat for turkeys, food plots with chufa.

 

These are just a few of the approved projects for 2018. Thanks to each of our NWTF Chapters and members for making funding of these projects possible.