With the number of hunters across the U.S. and Kansas in decline, The NWTF (National Wildlife Turkey Federation) is turning to America’s proven successful business owners for help; the American farmer and rancher. As the stewards of the land and providers of what is served across our kitchen tables every day, farmers and ranchers have earned their position as the champions of agriculture, and of the outdoors, and its bounties.
The decline of hunters stems from several sources; lack of access to hunting land, a decline in wildlife habitat, and most importantly, few organizations to effectively teach and promote safe and ethical hunting to our youth. Only six percent of Kansan’s own a hunting license. With the population increasing, hunter numbers are declining. Obesity and social problems plague our youth, with many kids spending more time of the couch playing video games than in school. Hunting and outdoor pursuits are great character building alternatives for everyone, especially our youth. Few organizations have the resources, proven volunteers and staff, and management efficiencies to lead efforts to improve our hunting heritage. The National Wildlife Turkey Federation has an impressive history and devotion to their projects like Jakes for Youth, disabled hunter programs, Women in the Outdoors, Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt, improving public hunting access, and a large and effective group of programs to benefit land and wildlife conservation. And they manage their contributions well. Of the $488,000,000 contributed since 1985, over 91% is visible on the front-line of their projects.
In the fall of 2012 the NWTF launched a program in both Nebraska and Kansas called Bushels of Conservation. This is a program where Kansas and Nebraska farmers can donate crops, such as, corn, wheat, milo, and soybeans to the NWTF to help fund and manage programs. The initial results were awesome as farmers stepped up and answered the call. This has now expanded with ranchers donating cattle. This program has a wide variety of benefits for the contributor, and many additional opportunities are available to contribute to, or become involved with the NWTF, to promote and preserve our hunting heritage. Their match rate for every dollar raised in Kansas is seven to one, meaning that for every dollar contributed, they are able to turn it into seven dollars of benefits seen in their programs.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, “It is easier to take away our hunting rights than it is our gun rights.” There’s a significant need to be a part of the NWTF’s efforts. It will take partnerships like Bushels of Conservations to protect our hunting heritage and reverse the trend. And, your and our efforts will last for generations to come.
NWTF Regional Director Tyler Kirby is hosting several events throughout the Rural Messenger distribution area in the near future where he’ll explain NWTF programs and how your contribution or involvement can be of mutual benefit to you, the NWTF and our future generations. Call Tyler at 620-339-9026, or e-mail him at [email protected], to be included in one of these events. The NWTF website is www.nwtf.org.