6 shotguns standing up

Choosing The “Best” Shotgun Setup For Hunting | Consider this before pulling the trigger on your choice

One of the most common questions many hunters ask is, “what shell do you recommend for (insert gun) with (insert choke)? Without hesitation, the most immediate follow-up question usually results in, “What do you define as best?”

turkey and shotgun on truck tire

You should ask the question what will my shotgun setup be used for?

To us, the perfect shotgun setup is a result of the ultimate satisfaction and confidence when you pull the trigger. The “Best” setup then, more often than not, is a result of personal preference.

Since there are so many factors in determining what shotgun setup to go with, we’ll dive into a couple that allow you to develop some thought and help guide your decision for your next hunting season or day in the field.

#1: What are you going to use this shotgun for?

While many customers call already owning the shotgun they intend to use, they often can also be in the market for a new one as well, possibly even in a different gauge.

The first question we might pose is, “what do you intend to use this gun for the most?”

Just as you would when choosing the right rifle caliber, it’s important when choosing a shotgun setup to know what exactly you are going to use it for.

For example, when hunting waterfowl, semi-automatics are the most commonly used. Occupying the most weight, these guns rely on either gas or recoil driven systems to cycle the shells, allowing the shooter to stay more focused on the target, thus reducing the need to cycle the next shell.

When it comes to turkey hunting, it could be argued that the most prominent shotgun is a true pump-action.  Given the reduction in weight, these guns also provide a level of reliability that semi-automatics cannot provide. This could prove crucial during a turkey hunt, especially as a beginner.

In upland hunting (i.e. pheasant hunting), over/under or semi-automatic shotguns are king and its no coincidence these are favorites, as hunters can switch barrels and utilize multiple chokes at once for selected ranges.

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#2: Choosing a gauge

After you have selected your style of gun, you’re undoubtedly going to want to settle in on a gauge.

With gauge selection comes a choice in payload, recoil, weight and lastly range. Most smaller gauges tend to have smaller frames.

For larger type people, a bigger gauge may feel more comfortable, as it has added size and length of pull. Smaller-framed individuals, or people looking for less recoil, may opt for a sub-gauge gun such as a 20, 28 or even a 410 bore. These gauges offer less weight, recoil and ease of maneuvering. A smaller gauge may also provide an additional level of challenge.

Whatever the situation, premium performance and effectiveness are available to all outdoor enthusiasts.

green apex ammunition shotgun shells in a stack

Tungsten Super Shot shells yield maximum pattern efficiency at various ranges.

#3: Choosing the right shell for your shotgun setup

With your next shotgun in hand, what shells do you intend to use?

With such advancements in technology and metallurgy, there are vast amounts of lengths, payloads and shot materials to choose. The most widely used shot materials are often steel for non-toxic and lead (where allowed) due to their mass availability and affordability.

Large pellets hit with a magnitude of force. However, they usually lose pattern counts at extended ranges.

To make up for this, smaller shot sizes are used. But, the setback here is that these smaller pellets lose vast amounts of energy, thus decreasing their range regardless of pattern count.

To combat decreasing range, increasing the density of the shot material increases the mass of the pellet. This results in saturated, hard-hitting and efficient killing patterns, resulting in more success and less cripples.

With the recent rise in tungsten based alloys, a new pinnacle in the shotshell community known as, “Tungsten Super Shot” yields the maximum in pattern efficiency at a multitude of ranges.

#4: Choosing the right choke

Referring back to our most commonly received question, many customers ask us what shell works best for their previous setup. A choke, aftermarket or not, is merely an additional forcing cone to optimize pattern efficiency.

In short, your choke should complement your gun and cartridge, not the other way around. The best aftermarket chokes cannot allow the shell to optimally perform if they are chosen incorrectly.

mallard ducks arranged in pinwheel

The type of game you are hunting impacts which choke you might consider using with your shotgun setup.

First and foremost, it is the utmost importance to consult the ammunition and choke manufacturer you are considering for both their recommendations and any safety warnings.

Chokes that are not designed to handle heavier-than-lead-type products, or over-constriction, could result in severe damage to the gun or even injury to the shooter.

Tighter constriction doesn’t always mean tighter patterns. In fact, it can result in an inconsistent blown core pattern that leaves it looking “splotchy.”

When selecting the right choke, consider the make and gauge of your gun.

The backbore of your shotgun, coupled with shot material, payload and shot size, will ultimately dictate which choke is right for your setup as it will ultimately culminate in your desired best pattern.

#5: The final touches

Your shotgun setup is almost complete. But, there are a few accessories and modifications you can add to increase your comfort and performance.

A reflex sight, (not to be confused with a rifle scope) which is most commonly referred to as a “Red Dot,” is a great addition that can improve your accuracy, and ensure that your point-of-impact/point-of-aim is true. It can also provide ergonomic relief to your neck and eyesight.

In short, if your sight is dialed in, the gun will hit what it points at.

apex ammunition shotgun shells

Shot shell selection is a critical part of the deciding what the “best” shotgun setup.

You can also improve your setup by lengthening the forcing cone of your shotgun. This results in a smoother transition as the pellets travel down the barrel, reducing stray pellets or, “fliers.”

Lastly, if you desire to provide the ultimate level of protection for your setup, there are options like Cerakote that virtually eliminate the wear and tear from the elements that allow you to prolong your investment.

In conclusion:

Choosing your best setup is the result of what you want to achieve. As it has been said before, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” In this case, perfection is just what you envision it to be.

As outdoorsmen and women, and conservationists, we all strive to achieve the most lethal and efficient method of take. After all the effort we put in to become successful, our equipment should be at the forefront of our mind and we should accept zero compromise in their performance.

Remember, with any setup, practice and patterning are critical to fine tuning your outcome. Maximum confidence in your abilities and equipment will ultimately lead to most memorable hunts you will ever experience.  

NIck Charney holding a turkey
Nick Charney, Founder of Apex Ammunition
outdoor brands arrows side by side

Empty Pockets | Are Outdoor Brands Worth The Extra Money?

So, what does price say about quality when it comes to arrows? Is a household name brand better than a lesser known one? Does a higher price tag equate to better arrow flight and more successful archery hunts? For that matter, does the name brand matter in any outdoor activity?

Well, in an attempt to answer that question, I’ll use a few examples. First, I’ll start with fishing (yes, fishing… just wait for it.)

The Price Of A Boat Doesn’t Catch Fish

I grew up camping and fishing in the High Uintas of Utah with my father. My father taught me how to love and enjoy the outdoors and how to clean out the fish you catch. There were also a few memories I will never forget.

My Pops had an old sun-dried yellow, aluminum boat with a 25 hp Evinrude motor that we putted around in. We would spend a week up there, doing nothing but fishing and filling the stringer.

outdoor brands fishing boat

Maybe moments like this are worth more than the boat you are in.

When I was 9 years old, a guy saw us back up our old Suburban and that ole yellow boat into the water. He yelled, “Damn, that is an expensive rig ya got there!” Of course, he was being extremely rude with his comment, laughing as he backed his expensive speed boat into the water.

My dad just said, “some people…”

We fished for about four hours or so that day and filled up the stringer with 22″ rainbows that we caught with our basic all-around fishing rods and reels and life was good.

When we went back to load the boat, my dad yelled across the water to the guy with the expensive boat, “You catch any?”

The man answered, “No, the bite has been slow.” My father replied, “I hope that boat was worth it” and then pulled out our stringer. The look on that man’s face was priceless!

We laughed and went to camp and enjoyed the rest of the evening cooking up the fish we caught (in our “expensive rig”) on the camp fire.

Your Ford Could Be A Chevy

outdoor brands chevy truck

Is more expensive really better?

Perhaps you’ve seen the test drive commercials where a truck’s identity is kept secret from the driver. The test driver takes it for a spin and says “it has to be a Ford.” But, then to the driver’s surprise… it’s a Chevy!

It’s the same with many of the products in the outdoors industry. There are many awesome products out there. Some are affordable and some not so much. And, of course, the more expensive item is always better quality. Or is it?

Higher Price = Better Quality… Sometimes

Many believe that better quality and performance live where the higher price tag is. In the gun industry, this argument holds up to some degree. But, at the end of the day, all guns travel the same whether you buy a $250 12-gauge pump shotgun by Browning, or a $900 12 gauge shotgun from Winchester. Both have the same pump action, same gauge, and same function. Both will serve the same purpose of taking wild game.

So why the cost difference? Could it be that it’s all just marketing?

20 Guns, 60 shells And One Duck

outdoor brands duck in flight

Money doesn’t kill ducks… but good shots do…

One Saturday morning in November, I went out waterfowl hunting  on a dyke beyond the city I lived in. When I got there, only one other guy had shown up. I thought to myself, “Hey, this may be a good morning!”

As soon as it was shooting light, a group of 20 guys (probably all from the same football team) showed up and parked right next to me. Most of the crew had 12 gauge semi-automatic Beretta shotguns and were ready to take some game. At the time, I had a model 1300 Winchester 12-gauge pump.

It didn’t help matters that none of them would get in the reeds to hide (and it didn’t matter cause there was so many of them!)

One kid yelled “DUCK!”

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All 2o of them, including myself, faced north, and sure enough, one duck was coming in slow like he was about to land. I then got to experience 20 men unload all three shells from each gun. It was like being on the line at the Alamo!

Not one person peppered that duck! I pulled up to shoot after all that ammo spent from the others, shot once, and sacked it.

They all looked at me like I had committed a crime.

Needless to say, I was getting more value out of my $250 gun then all twenty of them who had a $1,500 gun (and I didn’t use near as many shells:)

Outdoor Brands Shouldn’t Make Or Break Your Fun

Whether it’s guns, bow hunting arrows and broadheads or outdoor apparel, I think we all could say that we are guilty at some point or another of being caught up in the allure of brand name gear.

For example, some bow hunters are willing to spend $185 for a set of six arrows, when there are arrows on the market for only $55 for a set of six. And, if compared to each other, just like in that Ford and Chevy test, you might not even be able to tell the difference.

Others are extremely particular about what brand of broadheads they shoot.

Enjoy the outdoors. At the end of the day you should not be afraid of shooting your bow at longer distances, just because you’re afraid to lose a $25 arrow. You should feel comfortable shooting at various yardages ranging from 10 yards up to 85 yards, as long as you are taking an ethical shot that will give you a good chance of a clean kill.

Some bow hunters won’t shoot past 70 yards while practicing, while some ethical hunters will shoot further, just in case that dream buck walks out and you may not have another chance of getting any closer.

The Outdoors Should Be About The Moments

As we make unforgettable memories outdoors, hopefully we can focus on getting more people engaged and enjoying themselves more than we do on what brand of equipment we have.

So, don’t get caught up in the brand name of your camping and outdoor gear. After all, the outdoors should be fun, affordable and enjoyable.

austin hurst pic
NWTF turkey

NWTF | National Wild Turkey Federation… Much More Than Turkeys

What is the NWTF? It stands for National Wild Turkey Federation and it is an international non-profit organization whose mission is working towards the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

NWTF… an overview

The National Wild Turkey Federation as a national, non-profit conservation organization is dedicated to the conservation, protection, safety and continued existence of wild turkeys.

Having more than 200,000 active, reliable members and dedicated volunteers, the National Wild Turkey Federation spreads across every state in the region with local chapters of the organization existing in each state.

Learn about exactly what the NWTF does and the programs that help preserve the future of the American Wild Turkey…

NWTF headquarters

The National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, with its headquarters in Edgefield, South Carolina, an attractive town listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Edgefield offers experiences in history, art, and small town living.

Edgefield is home of the NWTF’s headquarters, called The Wild Turkey Center, which serves a staff of regional directors and biologists.

It currently has more than 250,000 members all over the United States, Mexico, Canada and 14 other countries. These members include volunteers, along with wildlife agency and corporate partners.

smoke phase turkey and tom with 3 whitetail bucks

The NWTF is a collaborative conservation effort that extends beyond the boundaries of turkey hunting enthusiasts.

What does the NWTF do?

The National Wild Turkey Federation has several local chapters in every state. They have restored and managed North America’s current population of more than 7 million wild turkeys.

The National Wild Turkey Federation, along with its partners and members, has assisted in acquiring and improving hunts on more than 17,000,000 acres of both private and public lands, as well as corporate lands.

Additionally, The National Wild Turkey Federation is the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation in North America. It has spent more than $372 million sustaining habitat and ensuring the continuation of our hunting heritage.

The NWTF is leading a collaborative effort to solve the problem with the Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt. This initiative to conserve and enhance wildlife habitat is dynamically volunteer-based.

The National Wild Turkey Federation’s team of highly trained wildlife foresters and biologists operate in a variety of environments. These groups deliver projects which are of great benefit to many wildlife species alongside wild turkeys.

Many people associate the National Wild Turkey Federation only with turkey hunting enthusiasts, yet the federation has grown in the areas of conservation planning and habitat management for other species as well.

Over the past few decades, the NWTF team has grown, and this has also brought about growth in its conservation delivery footprint.

Wild turkeys are generalists and this has made the National Wild Turkey Federation’s habitat work a significant benefit to many game and non-game species alike, which also includes threatened and endangered species.

nwtf wild turkey head

With the help of the NWTF, the American wild turkey population has more than doubled sinced 1990.

Because several National Wild Turkey Federation’s positions are developed cooperatively with partners, the NWTF has been able to bring its partners along on this journey by leveraging its support and knowledge to address mutual conservation priorities and challenges.

This has given the NWTF the credibility and platform to expand its reach beyond the turkey-centric components of its mission.

The National Wild Turkey Federation recently gave more attention and efforts to educating its partners, membership and the general public, concerning the multi-species benefits of its “Save the Habitat” program.

Active forest management is at the foundation of much of the NWTF’s habitat work, and this is not just because of the “Save the Habitat” program.

As of today, the focus of the National Wild Turkey Federation is on more than just turkeys. The NWTF is a trusted and valued partner within the conservation and hunting heritage arenas.

Beginning at a very tender age, wild turkeys roost in trees overnight. Therefore, without healthy forests, these young turkeys won’t survive adolescence. People generally do not make this connection. So, the NWTF has advanced in its endeavor to enlighten them about the link between healthy forests and quality wild turkey habitat.

The National Wild Turkey Federation has been honored as one of the leading members in the Forest In the Farm Bill (FIFB) coalition, the American Forest Foundation, and the National Association of State Foresters, and The Nature Conservancy.

Also, one other important goal of the NWTF is to bridge the gap between forestry and wildlife communities. And, to find consensus, wherever possible, to arrive at mutually agreeable recommendations.

It is the belief of the National Wild Turkey Federation that when such recommendations are communicated with a common and unified voice by the forestry and wildlife communities, the cases will be stronger and more convincing to decision makers.

NWTF Outreach Programs

The NWTF has several outreach programs, many of which have assisted thousands of North American women, children and individuals with special needs in learning various outdoor skills. Some of these programs include the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors, JAKES and Wheelin’s Sportsmen programs, which have assisted people in learning to more deeply enjoy the outdoors and to understand the significance of wildlife management. The appreciation of hunting as an honorable and worthwhile pursuit is promoted as well.

nwtf 2 turkeys in the snow

The NWTF has put considerable effort and dollars into not only preserving the American wild turkey, but helping children, as well as adults, learn more about the outdoors.

JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics, and Sportsmanship)/Xtreme JAKES

This is a program organized by the National Wild Turkey Federation dedicated to teaching the principles of wildlife management. It aims to pass along the tradition of safe, responsible and ethical hunting, as well as other activities ranging from fishing to hiking for beginners. The program was developed in 1981 and is designed for children up to age 12.

A more advanced version of the Jakes is the Xtreme Jakes, developed by the National Wild Turkey Federation in 2002. This program is developed for teens between the age 13 and 17. The program is meant to advance outdoor opportunities and challenge more in line with teen’s abilities and experiences.

Wheelin’ Sportsmen National Wild Turkey Federation:

This program, developed by NWTF, is meant to provide opportunities to people with disabilities and special needs. The program is meant to help them enjoy the outdoors through local chapter events nationwide. These events feature outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and shooting. Through this program, chapters host Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF events across North America involving individuals with disabilities in the outdoors.

turkey flapping wings

Hunters pay for 80% of wildlife conservation via ammunition and gun taxes, etc.

Save the Habit, Save the Hunt

This is the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 10-year initiative to enhance or preserve 4 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. It aims to do this by bringing focus to conservation delivery, through identifying areas of habitat that provide the most significant impact for wildlife. It’s an aggressive charge that mobilizes science, fundraising, and volunteers to not only keep the NWTF alive, but also to expand its purpose.

The National Wild Turkey Federation has made tremendous progress in its Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt program. It has recruited 1.5 million hunters since its inception. It’s securing the future of the North American model of wildlife preservation by increasing the number of hunters, who pay for 80% of wildlife conservation through excise taxes on ammunition, guns and more.

This initiative also grants open access to 500,000 additional acres for hunting. The lack of access to hunting lands is the main reason people stop hunting. So, the National Wild Turkey Federation is driving the effort to solve this problem, by ensuring that there is an opportunity for everyone to find a place to go hunting.

State NWTF chapters will continue to be key actors in attaining this national goal of opening access to 500,000 new acres. So, the NWTF is actively working with all of National Wild Turkey Federation’s partners, most significantly state agencies.

Agencies can always use more dedicated funding to lease properties, purchase signage, and delineate borders and support staff and several other aspects of public hunting programs.

Cost sharing goes a long way, and locally generated funds can be matched from other sources to create funds that benefit all.

The objectives of the NWTF in doing this access work are extremely significant, not only for access but the entire initiative.

Federal public lands throughout much of the nation provide opportunities for most sportsmen and women to hunt and shoot targets. These public lands can be made more accessible by securing conservation easements, fee-title purchases of private lands from willing sellers, or other rights of way.

wild turkey gobbler strutting

The NWTF has recruited more than 1.5 million hunters since its inception.

Women in the Outdoors

This program was developed specifically for women and is dedicated to providing hands-on outdoor education. Events allow women to try out activities such as hiking, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. This program is conducted throughout the United States and Canada.

Making Tracks

Making Tracks is a cooperative program between the National Wild Turkey Federation and provincial, federal and state wildlife agencies. It aims to restore wild turkeys to all suitable habitat in North America. Also, the NWTF works with wildlife agencies to coordinate the trapping and transfer of wild turkeys.

In areas where they are abundant, wild turkeys are trapped with nets that are propelled or dropped over flocks that are feeding. The populations of Wild Turkey have more than doubled since 1990. The NWTF regularly provides trapping equipment for trapping these birds, as well as transfer boxes in which individual birds are placed. It also assists in coordinating wild turkey transfers between states, provinces and nations with suitable habitats that have few or no wild turkeys.

Since its establishment, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and its wildlife agency partners, have been able to accelerate the movement of over 192,000 wild turkeys into various suitable habitats.

Hunting Heritage Super Fund

The NWTF, along with partners from federal, state and provincial wildlife agencies, has also conducted Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects. The Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects establish walk-in hunting areas, develop water resources, plant wildlife openings, conduct prescribed burns, as well as co-host outdoor learning events for women, children and individuals with disabilities through its 2,350 chapters across the country.

The Hunting Heritage Super Fund Banquet is a primary fundraiser for the National Wild Turkey Federation, in which members and volunteers come together to have fun, while purchasing firearms and merchandise that are exclusive to NWTF banquets.

This  Banquet program was established in 1983 as an exciting way for each member to support the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), while introducing new people to conservation and the outdoors. Funds raised during the super fund program is used Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects, comprising conservation and outreach projects in the states raising the funds.

As a result of this Super fund, National Wild Turkey Federation partners and volunteers have spent more than $372 million in upholding traditions and preserving more than 17,000,000 acres of wildlife habitat.

North American Wild Turkey Management Plan

The National Wild Turkey Federation also has in place the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan. This plan is designed to discover wild turkey habitat and prospective habitat projects throughout North America.

This is to be achieved using the geographic information system (GIS) technology. Since its inception, this plan has assisted in establishing 2,000,000 acres of wild turkey habitat in North America.

It is worth noting that this plan has received both international and national endorsement from the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Management and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Regional Habitat Programs

The National Wild Turkey Federation also coordinates regional habitat programs which provides tree seedlings, seeds and other habitat improvement products to its various chapters, as well as private landowners, across North America.

This program includes Operation Oak (Southeast), Guzzlers for Gobblers (West), Northern Plains Riparian Restoration Initiative, Operation Heartland (Mideast), Operation Appleseed (Northeast), Southern Great Plains Riparian Initiative, Operation SOS (Upper Midwest and Ontario, Canada), and Operation Big Sky (Great Plains).

Since 1997, over 1.5 million seedlings have been planted by the NTWF. The NWTF has also provided 300 tons of oat hay and left 2,500 acres of standing grain to help landowners with large wintering populations of wild turkeys. The NWTF has also conducted 856 water development projects. The National Wild Turkey Federation and its partners, through the Guzzlers program alone, have put more than $3.5 million into improving projects in the west.

wild turkey gobbler

The National Wild Turkey Federation coordinates regional habitat programs that provide tree seedlings, seeds and other habitat improvement products to its various chapters, as well as private landowners.

Project Help (Habitat Enhancement Land Program)

The National Wild Turkey Federation also has this program in place to assist landowners with enhancing and maintaining their land by providing guidance, and offering seedlings and seed at competitive prices. There have been sales of over 3 million pounds of seeds and 2.5 million seedlings, making a total of 161,000 acres that have been planted for wild turkeys and other wildlife.

America’s Big Six

The National Wild Turkey Federation has taken a more strategic approach to conservation of the Big Six. National Wild Turkey Federation conservation experts identified regions across the country with similar ecosystems and conservation issues. Six areas of concern were established to help identify the most urgent needs and to better monitor conservation objectives.

This initiative will allow the NWTF and its partners to focus more limited funding and staff on the top priority conservation needs within each region.

The improved system no longer focuses on individual areas, but will impact the sustainability of species and habitats across large landscapes.

The areas of distinction within the Big Six include 738 million areas of identified focal landscapes are:

  1. America’s Western Wildlands
  2. America’s Great Open Spaces
  3. America’s Crossroads
  4. America’s Mid-South Rebirth
  5. America’s Southern Piney Woods
  6. America’s Colonial Forests

The basic conservation objectives of the Big Six are to:

  • Improve the diversity of the habitat
  • Improve the forest health
  • Improve the quality of water available in the region
  • Enhance pine management
  • Increase wildlife survival during winter
  • Maintain healthy hardwood forests
  • Restore oak woodlands
  • Restore prairies
  • Stop habitat loss

Education Programs and Field Trips

The National Wild Turkey Federation organizes this program in which the halls of the Wild Turkey Center come alive with squawks, squeaks and imaginative attempts at turkey calls. It’s a program that gives opportunities to visitors who have been preparing for turkey season to learn all about wild turkey.

The NWTF field trip programs are for the young and the young at heart. Visitors of all ages leave the National Wild Turkey Federation facility with a better understanding of the conservation success story that surrounds the wild turkey, and the role hunting has played in that success. Visitors can sign up to take a guided museum tour.

For those who are feeling more adventurous, they can decide to go on a habitat hike, play a game of camouflage hide and seek, learn about native forests and habitats, and find out how to reduce, reuse and recycle to save the environment.

Finally, National Wild Turkey Federation produces two television shows that can be seen on the pursuit channel. They include the “Turkey Call,” a fast–paced, magazine-style program with America’s most popular game bird as the star of the show, and “Get in the Game,” which provides viewers with land management tips and secrets for attracting wildlife to their property.

two wild turkeys

The NWTF Banquet hosts around 100,000 people each year, including individuals with disabilities and special needs.

NWTF Banquet

The National Wild Turkey Federation Banquet hosts approximately 100,000 individuals each year, including those with disabilities and special needs.

NWTF Academic Scholarship Program

The National Wild Turkey Federation presents a $10,000 national scholarship every year to students that are entering college. It also sponsors several $1,000 state academic scholarships, as well as $250 local scholarships.

The National Wild Turkey Federation also partners with the FFA (Future Farmers of America) in providing a $5,000 scholarship to students pursuing a wildlife management course or an agriculture degree course. The program has recorded a stunning $2.2 million as award payment for their scholarship program.

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The National Wild Turkey Federation Academic Scholarship Program is available to applicants who are seniors and have a GPA of 3.0 and above, and who plan to attend a higher institution of learning. Applicants must be members of the National Wild Turkey Federation and actively engaged in hunting activities.

Families Afield

The NWTF also hosts the Families Afield Initiative that promotes hunting opportunities for youths that might be beginners when it comes to turkey hunting. Some of the opportunities are the U. S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association.

All these bodies work in cooperation with the NWTF to reduce hunting barriers and subsequently remove barriers for new and young hunters throughout the country. So far, more than 87,000 new hunters have been introduced into the field through Families Afield legislation and regulation changes.

More Places to Hunt

This is a program designed by the National Wild Turkey Federation to assist in providing more lands for hunters, either on public or private lands. Since 1987, the amount already spend in this endeavor is about $9 million, on more than 400,000 acres of land for hunters.

This intervention is as a result of widespread urban expansion, tightened state agency, changes in land ownership and tightened federal budgets which have reduced hunters’ private and public access to quality wildlife hunting zones.

Regional Habitat Programs:

The NWTF has also designed the regional Habitat Programs to aid in the provision of seeds, tree seedlings and other products that will help improve the habitat, to landowners of private and public land property across North America.

There are eight (8) programs included under the Regional Habitat Programs.

  1. Operation Appleseed basically for North East America
  2. Operation Oak basically for South East America
  3. Operation Heartland basically for Midwest America
  4. Operation SOS basically for Upper Midwest and for Ontario in Canada.
  5. Operation Big Sky basically for the Great Plains.
  6. Guzzlers for Gobblers basically for the Western part of America.
  7. Southern Great Plains Riparian Initiative
  8. Northern Plains Riparian Restoration Initiative.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has a good record of 1.5 million seedlings planted, 856 water development projects carried out, 300 tons of oat hay provided for individuals concerned, and 2,500 acres of grains assigned to assist owners of lands with large wintering population of wild turkeys.

Project HELP

HELP which is acronym for Habitat Enhancement Land Program, is a National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) program developed so as to help owners of landed property in the region in managing and enhancing their lands by providing information, guidance and also giving out seeds and seedlings at comparable prices.

Go for the Gould’s

This program incorporates the Arizona Game and Fish Department, along with the NWTF, and aims to transfer and equally restore the Gould’s wild turkey from Mexico and Arizona to their rightful residences (the Chiricahua, Huachuca and Pinalenos mountains and the Santa Ritas and Santa Catalinas mountains of southern Arizona.)

The Gould’s wild turkey once existed in these areas until they were eradicated. The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has spent more than $428,000 in the restoration of the Gould’s wild turkey.

Save the habitat. Save the Hunt:

The Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt program is the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 10-year initiative, with multiple objectives of preserving the habitat of wild turkeys. The objectives of this initiative are:

1. To conserve or to enhance 4 million acres of land that are termed as critical wildlife habitat. This is to identify areas of habitat that has the most positive impact on wildlife.
2. To enable recruitment of 1.5 million hunters. This is to secure the future of North American example of Wildlife conservation through cutting down the taxes on guns and ammos.
3. To open access to 500,000 additional acres of land for hunting. So as to improve on the lack of access to hunting lands which has made people quit hunting. This will ensure that everyone has a place to go for hunting to carry on the hunting tradition.

Be Part of the Solution

The National Wild Turkey Federation emphasizes the importance of tackling the above stated challenges cooperatively. The NWTF helps in leading the struggle to bring about a solution to this problem.

It is left to us as individuals, as an entire industry and as a community, to become part of the solution. How can you help? By joining the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) now and begin to do your own part by giving your contribution in terms of money, volunteer hours, and also your energy to save the wild turkey habitat and thereby save the hunt.


The National Wild Turkey Federation also states that their most valuable resource is people and volunteers that are not afraid or ashamed to get a little stained or dirty when it comes to saving something of great importance. “The Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” initiative is paramount in ensuring the future of wildlife and hunting is preserved.

The National Wild Turkey Federation also hosts a number of televisions programs that can be seen on The Pursuit Channel. These programs include “Turkey Call,” and “Get In The Game.”

NWTF Publications

The National Wild Turkey Federation also publishes Magazines.

Turkey Country:

This is the flagship publication of the NWTF and it is dedicated to field research, updates on the latest products that are centered on turkey hunting, visionaries and conservationists.


JAKES is dedicated to news and information that will interest and also benefit the young people, primarily kids.

Xtreme JAKES

Xtreme JAKES is a magazine basically for teenagers whose interest is in hunting and outdoor activities.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Convention and Sport Show

The National Wild Turkey Federation hosts conventions and sport shows every year and is one of the biggest consumer shows in the United States where the most devoted supporters and enthusiasts of the NWTF come together for a whole weekend.

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The get-together enables participants to relax and spend a weekend of learning, communication, interaction, networking and having fun.

The convention and sport show was put together to celebrate more than 40 years of consistent conservation victories and accomplishments by NWTF volunteers and its partners. It is also said to be a kind of rally for great anticipation of exploits still to come.

The show is usually so exciting and fun filled that people return each year, some even bringing their friends, associates, family members, loved ones and co-workers for the celebration.

NWTF Branches

The National Wild Turkey Federation has branches in most states in the United States of America. The New York branch of the National Wild Turkey Federation is one of the branches with a record of critical habitat work.

The NWTF New York works in association with land owners and their partners to restore the state of New York’s turkey population through serious and extreme habitat work.

The volunteers of the NWTF also help in providing more opportunities for educating hunters on how to effectively hunt for wild turkey and also hunting opportunities for people, whether old or young, disabled or competent.

The National Wild Turkey Federation New York also determinatively seeks opportunities to open or provide access to more land for hunting.

What makes the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) stand out?

The National Wild Turkey Federation is exceptional among other conservation organizations because of its dedication and sincerity in carrying out the services promised.
A hands-on job is carried out, consisting of forestry work and engagement in conservation on federal public lands.

Another reason the NWTF stands out is the fact that it has more than 50 employed professional conservation staff situated in different parts of the country. They work alongside private, state and federal agencies and also landowners, to ensure the implementation of forest management and other wildlife habitat projects.

Also, the National Wild Turkey Federation engages in professional and business agreements or partnerships with organizations and agencies with similar interests, such as the USFS (United States Forest Service). The National Wild Turkey Federation, together with the USFS have worked together to deliver lots of projects that have benefitted wildlife and wildlife-based recreation.

Turkey Nuisance and Damage Management

The increase in the population of wild turkey over the last 2-3 decades has seen the species become established in virtually all areas of the country. While turkey complaints have not been uniformly recorded, reports from field staff show that there has also been a rise in turkey destruction and nuisance complaints.

Most of these complaints still concern agricultural damage, but there are now cases of turkeys causing problems in non-agricultural situations.

As we progress from an era of population restoration to long-term stewardship of an established and secure turkey resource, it is important to address wild turkey nuisance complaints and damage.

Damage occurs when wild turkeys become a nuisance, destructive to public or private property (including agriculture), or threaten public health or welfare.

Types of Damage caused by wild turkeys

Department staff has received complaints about turkey damage or nuisance involving:

• grapes in vineyards
• stored silage – pecking holes in agricultural silage storage bags (“ag-bags”) or entering bunker silos and eating silage, or both
• strawberries
• harvested ear corn stored in outside cribs
• seed, seedling, and mature standing corn
• seedlings and seeds of other grains such as rye, wheat, and oats
• clover and alfalfa, especially digging up roots
• tearing up turf on golf greens and newly-established lawns
• digging up residential gardens and consuming vegetables and flower bulbs
• acting aggressively toward people
• damaging cars by scratching and pecking
• posing a hazard to aircraft on runways

Based on the National Wild Turkey Federation’s observations and complaints received, damage to grapes and stored silage appear to be the most vital concerns. In most cases, the level of concern and severity of the cost is in direct proportion to the number of turkeys involved. However, in some situations, even a small number of birds can cause significant damage (e.g., golf greens, high-value crops, or turkeys on runways).

How the National Wild Turkey Federation Deals with wild turkey problems

The National Wild Turkey Federation will use all available measures to provide solutions to farmers, homeowners, businesses, or other individuals or entities that are experiencing difficulty or damage due to wild turkeys.

While not every department in the various arm of the NWTF will be unable to make field inspections in all cases, they are committed to maintaining current knowledge of the nature of turkey complaints, trends in reports of turkey damage, and how to alleviate problems in the most cost-efficient and timely manner possible. These Departments will provide the following forms of assistance:

Damage Verification

Research has shown that turkeys may not necessarily be responsible for all the damage they are thought to cause. This is a vital determination, if staff and landowner effort are to be channeled appropriately to solve the problem.

This decision may be made with or without a site visit, based on factors such as the type of crop or resource affected, experience, available evidence, landowner interest, and knowledge. Staff familiarity with the damage patterns of various species is vital, and creative or non-traditional verification methods may be necessary. Under certain circumstances, motion-triggered cameras may be used. In other cases, a limited kill permit and subsequent analysis of crop contents may be used.

Staff will assist landowners in resolving their wildlife damage problems, regardless of what species is responsible.

Information and Education

Once a complaint has been properly evaluated, the Disaster Emergency Committee will make information and advice available to the landowner who is affected. This advice will vary depending on the severity of the damage and the species that are responsible.

In situations where a species other than wild turkey is found to be the cause, the department will proceed as appropriate for that species. In instances where turkeys are found to be causing nuisance or damage, they will provide assistance and information to reduce or prevent this nuisance or disturbance.

Technical Assistance

In situations where information and education alone will not mitigate concerns about turkey damage, site-specific technical assistance will be offered to the landowner. This technical assistance may include lethal or non-lethal methods and, in either case, National Wild Turkey Federation will consist of planning and action to prevent future problems.

Lethal Control

In appropriate situations, permits will be issued authorizing the destruction of turkeys causing damage.

Non-Lethal Control

This may include attempts to modify the behavior of the turkeys causing damage, removing the attractant, habitat modification, or installing barriers to reduce the cost. Non-lethal control techniques may be used at any time without a Disaster Emergency Committee Permit.

NWTF online media

There are a number of online media that have been set up by the National Wild Turkey Federation to promote the interest of individuals enthusiastic about wildlife management. 


The NWTF website is www.nwtf.org. This site contains all the information and resources of National Wild Turkey Federation, centered on everything about wild turkey. It contains features such as NWTF regional and national news, tips and tricks on turkey calling and hunting, banquet, turkey calling contest and information on shooting events.

It also contains audios on turkey sounds and information about wild turkey. There you can get the links to sites handling NWTF outreach programs, message boards and also the Turkey Shoppe, an online store constituting of hunting gear, literature on conservation and NWTF products and clothing.


There is also MyoutdoorTV.com that features requested videos of quality NWTF TV shows 24 hours a day.

For more information on the NWTF, please visit www.nwtf.org.

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