What better way to kick off the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 26th Annual Convention and Sport Show than to release wild turkeys into the North Carolina woods.
The NWTF and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission celebrated their partnership Wednesday, February 13 when they released 20 wild turkeys in the Moss Lake Park area in Cleveland County. The birds were trapped in various locations throughout N.C.
The wild turkeys will not be hunted for three years to allow the flock enough time to repopulate the area.
Nearly 100 people were on hand to take part in the celebration. Many of the children, volunteers and media representatives who attended were given the opportunity to hold and release a wild turkey themselves.
“This release was not only a celebration of the wild turkey and the importance of conserving our wildlife resources, but it was also an educational experience for our children — the future conservationists,” said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, NWTF Senior Vice President of Conservation Programs.
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys throughout North America. Today, there are nearly 5.6 million birds, thanks to the hard work of the NWTF and its members, partners and state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been actively working to bring back the wild turkey. In 1970, there were only 2,000 wild turkeys throughout the state. With the combined efforts of the NWTF and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, today, the North Carolina wild turkey population stands at nearly 130,000 birds.
The NWTF’s 26th Annual Convention and Sport Show will be held February 22-24, at the Charlotte Convention Center. The convention will feature over 400 booths, the Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Contest and hunting and outdoor seminars by the professionals and experts in the field.