NWTF Introduces New Initiative to Combat Turkey Declines in Southeast

NWTF Introduces New Initiative to Combat Turkey Declines in Southeast

For more information, contact Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698 or

NWTF Introduces New Initiative to Combat Turkey Declines in Southeast

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — At its National Leadership Conference in Ridgedale, Missouri, the National Wild Turkey Federation revealed its new Habitat for the Hatch initiative, a southeastern landscape-scale effort that will directly combat the decline in wild turkey populations and improve overall ecosystem health.

Habitat for the Hatch will be laser focused on creating essential nesting habitat in close proximity to quality brood range. This new initiative seeks to create 1 million acres that fit these specific criteria in the next 10 years.

“We will continue our critical work addressing the complete annual cycle of wild turkey habitat needs,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “However, we must significantly increase the available acreage of quality nesting and brood-rearing habitat that is necessary for poult recruitment year after year. Habitat for the Hatch will do just that and on a scale that makes a quantifiable difference. This will result in more turkeys across the Southeast and ensure our beloved bird is conserved into perpetuity.”

(The initiative area consists of NWTFs Americas Mid-South Rebirth and Americas Southern Piney Woods Big 6 Regions. Those regions include all or portions of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.)

Work for Habitat for the Hatch will occur on both public and private lands across the initiative’s 18-state region. Where the NWTF has private-land staff in the initiative area, staff will work directly with private landowners to provide education, technical assistance and programs to help them increase nesting and brood-rearing habitat on their property while also reaching other goals for their property.

Habitat for the Hatch will also support and utilize research that is at the forefront of addressing the Southeast’s biggest conservation challenges. Working in unison with the NWTF Wild Turkey Technical Committee, the initiative will improve nesting and brood-rearing habitat supported by this key research in ways that result in favorable outcomes for wild turkey recruitment and overall landscape health.

Moreover, Habitat for the Hatch will bolster wild turkey populations while also underscoring how the NWTF’s work for the wild turkey amplifies the organization’s Four Shared Values and many other species. While Habitat for the Hatch is designed to ensure states across the Southeast are hatching more turkeys, many other species will ‘hatch’ from the efforts of the initiative, including insects, aquatic species, the imperiled gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpeckers, pollinators and more, all of which are indicators of healthy and resilient habitats.

“The all-encompassing approach to our landscape-scale initiatives allows us to remain engaged with our current partners and supporters while expanding opportunities to work with new and non-traditional partners — both in the conservation and corporate sector — to aggressively leverage resources, expertise and make the largest possible impact on wild turkeys and the places they inhabit,” NWTF co-CEO Jason Burckhalter said. “Whether funding wild turkey ecology research or creating essential nesting and brood-rearing habitat, the NWTF works through all available capacities to create more wild turkeys and healthier ecosystems.”

The NWTF estimates a need of $40 million — with partner collaboration — by 2033 to improve over 1 million acres of nesting and brood-rearing habitat on public and private lands. The NWTF anticipates leveraging funds for the initiative at a minimum of 5:1. To accomplish this, the federation has an estimated fundraising goal of $8 million over the next 10 years.

The announcement of Habitat for the Hatch comes just after the NWTF revealed a $582,374 investment in wild turkey ecology research for 2023.

Projects for Habitat for the Hatch will begin in the coming months and will be featured on

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.

2023 is the NWTF’s 50 th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50 th anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.

National Wild Turkey Federation
PO Box 530
Edgefield South Carolina 29824
United States