How the NWTF Works

History of the National Wild Turkey Federation

­The year was 1971, and tur­key hunter Tom Rodgers, who worked as an insurance salesman and journalist, was concerned about the dwindling numbers of wild turkeys, his "favorite game animal" [source: Pavey]. The wild turkey population had been hunted down to just more than 1 million nationwide, and Rodgers, who had recently graduated from Tennessee Tech, talked with members of an Alabama fishing conservation society because he wanted to do something similar for the wild turkey.

The Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society, or BASS, headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., started in 1968, when founder Ray Scott wanted to restore bass fishing, improve the environment and leave a legacy of bass fishing for the future [source: ESPN]. By working with local officials, volunteers and other anglers interested in the same thing, Scott developed a one-of-a-kind organization. This was the foundation for the organization Tom Rodgers would establish as the National Wild Turkey Foundation in Fredericksburg, Va., before moving it to Edgefield, S.C., where it remains today. Now, almost 40 years after "talking turkey" with conservationists of a different feather, this club still works to revitalize the habitat and numbers of wild turkeys by working with hunters and landowners to share its mission and resources with all outdoors enthusiasts. To learn more about that mission, make tracks to the next section.