EDGEFIELD, SC -- The National Wild Turkey Federation's Oklahoma State Chapter has budgeted $156,693 from the state Hunting Heritage Super Fund to invest in outreach, education, conservation and more within Oklahoma in 2011.
The NWTF Super Fund is administered jointly by the NWTF, its state and provincial chapters and wildlife agencies, and supports conservation and education programs.
Since 1985, National Wild Turkey Federation chapters in Oklahoma have raised and spent more than $1,062,403 on wildlife habitat enhancements, land purchases, education, outreach and more within the state. NWTF chapters and cooperating partners across North America have raised and spent more than $331 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 15.9 million acres of wildlife habitat.
"The Oklahoma State Chapter is dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving our hunting heritage, and is backing up their commitment with the funds to make needed changes," said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., the NWTF's chief conservation officer. "By directing dollars to wildlife habitat improvements, and strengthening outreach and education programs, the Oklahoma State Chapter is helping enhance habitat for all kinds of wildlife while making a better outdoor experience, not just for hunters - but for everyone."
Hunters are important to the state's economy, too. The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation reports that Oklahoma hunters spend $492 million and 5.3 million days afield pursuing their sport each year.
The targeted projects approved by the Oklahoma State Chapter Super Fund Committee include $62,300 to uphold outdoor traditions through the NWTF's JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship), Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin' Sportsmen NWTF outreach programs, educational programs, scholarship programs, the 4-H Shooting Sports Program, the National Archery in the Schools Program, the Oklahoma Youth Forestry Camp, assisting the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) with habitat acquisition, and more.
The NWTF's Oklahoma State Board of Directors dedicated an additional $31,780 to accomplish the following Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects in 2011, which will benefit Oklahoma's resident and non-resident sportsmen:
* $6,400 to help purchase a new, 12-foot offset disc that will be used to maintain wildlife openings and fireguards needed during prescribed fires on the Wister Wildlife Management Area in LeFlore County
Project partner: ODWC * $5,750 to help enable the use of prescribed burning by aerial ignition for maintaining early successional habitat on the Glover Block, a prime wild turkey and deer hunting area on the Ouachita National Forest in McCurtain County Project partner: USDA Forest Service
* $4,940 to promote natural wildlife openings in closed-canopy forest areas and provide native grasses, food, and brood-rearing habitat for wild turkeys on this area on the McCurtain County Wilderness Area on Ouachita National Forest Project partner: ODWC and USDA Forest Service
* $4,500 to help maintain fireguards needed during prescribed fires along 30 miles of line and 20 miles of roads on the Lexington Wildlife Management Area in Cleveland County
Project partner: ODWC * $4,000 to help purchase a new, 7-foot offset disc for maintenance of wildlife openings and fireguards for prescribed burning to increase native plant diversity for the benefit of wildlife on the Okmulgee, Deep Fork, and Heyburn wildlife management areas in Okmulgee County
Project partner: ODWC * $4,000 to continue using prescribed burns as a habitat management tool by aerial ignition on the Pushmataha Wildlife Management Area. This will promote natural wildlife openings in closed-canopy forest areas to provide native grasses, food, and brood-rearing habitat for wild turkeys on this area in Pushmataha County
Project partner: ODWC and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation * $2,190 to create wildlife openings that will provide food and brood-rearing habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife in closed-canopy forest areas on this prime area on the Well Hollow Walk-In Turkey Hunting Area in the Ouachita National Forest
Project partner: USDA Forest Service NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter allocated an additional $62,613 to other NWTF projects. Founded in 1973, the NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation organization that works to further its twofold mission of conserving wild turkeys and preserving our hunting heritage.
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