Yamaha Rightwaters will support the Billion Oyster Project, a community science project that has repopulated 75 million juvenile oysters in New York Harbor, in their mission to restore one billion by 2035.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Dansville, Ortonville, Pontiac Lake, Rose Lake and Sharonville shooting ranges will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will reopen Saturday, November 27.
On Monday, B.A.S.S. officials announced the full slate for the 2022 Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX with five regular-season events and the 2022 Bassmaster Kayak Series Championship that will coincide with the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.
- GEAR -
Constructed of high modulus 100% carbon fiber, these .204 small-diameter arrows deliver maximum speed and accuracy with less wind deflection. High-performance 3DHV arrows come digitally spine aligned by the dozen and are weight matched to ±0.5 grains for precise consistency and tight groupings.
Made to carry a compact or subcompact semiautomatic pistol or double-action revolver behind the strongside hip, the Stinger’s open top and mild butt-forward cant allow a fast draw and easy return to the holster.

By order of the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, hunting district 500 in south central Montana, as described in the current moose, sheep and goat regulations legal descriptions, will close to the hunting of all bighorn sheep one-half hour after sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Ohio’s young hunters harvested 7,634 deer during the two-day youth gun season on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 20-21, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Al’s Goldfish Lure Company will be exhibiting at the St. Paul Ice Fishing and Winter Sports Show in St. Paul, December 3-5, 2021 at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
The NESCO VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer received the award for “Best Overall Food Vacuum Sealer of 2021” by Good Housekeeping.

Primary Arms has announced the appointment of Matthew Do to Chief Financial Officer.
AmChar Wholesale Inc, a leading wholesale distributor, is proudly celebrating 30 years as a Glock Law Enforcement Distributor.
- JOBS -
Outtech is currently seeking candidates for a full-time Graphic & Website Designer Position.
The special guests for today’s show, representing third ranked Auburn University, are Carson Maddux, Rob Cruvellier, and Sam Hanggi.

C3 Mitts is excited to announce its full line of insulated hunting Mitts is now available at an incredible savings for holiday shoppers.
Steelhead Outdoors introduces its Homestead Vault Doors collection as an alternative to modular gun safes for people with large gun collections or who want to create a safe room in their home. Safe rooms aren’t just for Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes. More people are incorporating safe rooms in their homes to protect their family and keep their valuables secure.
TrueTimber has announced the Viper Urban camo pattern is now available in a graphics package for the all new 2022 Honda Navi.
1791 Gunleather and Mossy Oak recently announced their collaboration to produce the first leather holster in the iconic Bottomlands pattern. This new holster line not only secures your firearm but also adds a layer of protection for the rigors of everyday wear.

Utilizing a compact length slide that is quicker out of the holster, a full 17+1 capacity frame, and the customizable ergonomics and unmatched recoil control you expect from a Shadow Systems pistol, the XR920 is mission ready and available at retail now.
Hawk, an industry leader in hunt stand technology and innovation, has just announced availability of the all-new Rival Lite treestand. Hawk engineers developed this treestand to incorporate maximum comfort in a lightweight, high mobility platform.
Currently, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) has nine seasons of Primos TRUTH About Hunting ready to download to a favorite device to get through the cold winter nights, and perhaps days.
Viridian Weapon Technologies announced the release of “Full-Blown Tactical,” a collaborative video project shot over two days at Gunsite Academy that captures the exuberance inherent in world-class tactical training, cutting-edge technology, and innovative firearms.

SAR USA by Sarsilma announced that they have redesigned their website to better serve the needs of their customers, dealers and distributors.
The National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) offers bowhunting videos covering topics that appeal to today’s bowhunter - the tradition of bowhunting, vintage bowhunting footage, survival skills needed in an outdoor emergency, scenic footage and safety messages.
ISOtunes Sport is excited to announce exclusive savings on its innovative hearing protection products for holiday shoppers.
Daniel Defense announces its $20,000 Thanksgiveaway Weekend, a collaboration with other premium brands, to give away four well-equipped packages online over the holiday weekend.

It’s a trip to Long Lake near Spokane, Washington to explore a little-known triploid trout fishery. Learn how to catch rainbows this time of year with Steve Morris of SJM Guide Service.
From November 15-30, CanCooker is extending its sale on the Weekender Kit. Featuring the CanCooker Jr., Multi-Fuel Cooktop, and CanCooker Rack, this kit has everything you need to feed up to 8 people in the backyard or the backcountry. Originally $169.99, the Weekender Kit is on sale for $109.99 — a savings of $50!
From November 25-28 only, the Double system will be available at 30% off the original price of $54.99 with no promo code required.
Shoppers will enjoy free shipping on orders over $30, and an exclusive VIP koozie comes with every order. The special runs from November 26-December 31 with no promo code required.

European American Armory Corporation now offers the United States the Girsan Regard MC: a full size, lightweight 9mm with a 4.9” barrel length and weight of only 2.15 pounds.
Faxon Firearms, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based manufacturer of quality rifle and pistol components, and complete firearms, is kicking off their Black Friday celebration early this year.
Inventive Outdoors is offering holiday shoppers exclusive Black Friday savings on its full line of innovative hunting products.
From now until the end of November, SDS Imports has marked down their in-stock website parts and accessories by 25%.

Trulock™ Chokes is showing appreciation for their customers with 25 percent off all products online at TruLockChokes.Com beginning Thursday, November 25 at 12 a.m. ET and ending Sunday, November 28 at 11:50 p.m. ET. This once-a-year big sale also includes a free choke case on all orders of $50 or more, and free shipping on orders of $100 or more.
For a limited time, SEVR's All Purpose 1.7 Broadhead is 40% off for Black Friday.
The busy holiday selling season is now underway and Delta McKenzie’s Iowa factory is in full production keeping up with demand. The 2021 Black Friday deals are live and better than ever. Get MORE from your FOAM layered archery target block, now priced under $40. Other products on sale include the Bloodline Buck Series, Cyberstop, Goblin, and many more.
Industry Day at the Range announced the renewal of their partnership with Carbon Media as the Official Wi-Fi Sponsor. Carbon Media’s sponsorship will enable wi-fi to be available to all attendees throughout Industry Day.
The Indiana DNR, Next Level Trails (NLT) and Warrick Trails, Inc. opened the recently completed Tecumseh Trail in Lynnville on Nov. 19.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will share information on a new draft general management plan for Proud Lake State Recreation Area at a virtual public meeting 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9.
The 12-member Madison River Work Group organized by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. today (Tuesday, November 23) in Bozeman.
On this week’s Dead Meat with host Scott Leysath on Sportsman Channel, Leysath hooks up with the crew from Reel Salty Charters in search of halibut – and maybe a few other fish species that people don’t eat all that much.
S3DA archer, Gunner Wells, from Impact Archery in Williamsburg, Kentucky was recently selected to go on a two-day guided hunt at Salt River Outfitters.

This holiday season, I’ll be traveling through the airport with a frozen wild turkey in a YETI Hopper as my carry-on. It’s a tradition we started about five years ago, and I’m always proud to supply a key portion of my family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner—though the comments from the TSA Agents can be amusing.

Turkey and Thanksgiving have gone hand in hand since colonial times, right? Not exactly… the well-known tale of the decimation of wildlife followed by the restoration and return to huntable populations is no more evident than it is with wild turkeys. On the front end of that restoration effort was the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with help from funding through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund. New research is showing how that initial investment is paying big dividends, and how having wild turkey on the Thanksgiving table is now something we can all celebrate.

From Abundant to Scarce

Despite popular belief, historians aren’t clear whether turkeys were on the table at the first Thanksgiving dinner shared by colonists and the Native Americans in 1621. Wild turkeys were abundant throughout the colonies, and Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony wrote of the “great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.” He also notes before that storied first Thanksgiving the Englishmen went on a successful “fowling” mission, though waterfowl might have been a more likely quarry during the fall migration. Instead, the Wampanoag tribe brought several deer to the dinner, so venison was probably the primary protein.

In truth, by the time that President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863 declaring an official Thanksgiving holiday to occur in late November, wild turkeys were largely extirpated across much of the country. The once prolific birds fell victim to unregulated harvest by market hunters and the conversion of forested habitat to farmland. As an example, by the late 1800s about 75% of New York state was cleared for farmland and turkeys are believed to have been gone from the state since the 1840s. By 1920, wild turkeys were lost from 18 of the original 39 states in its historical range.

In the late 1880s, states began to regulate the take of game species; Pennsylvania first regulated turkey hunting in 1873 and New York hired eight “Game Protectors” in 1880 to police the woods and waters of the state. Controlling illegal harvest continued to be a challenge, but as farming declined abandoned farms transitioned through successional stages to brush and eventually woodlands. Habitat was back and around 1948—a century after they were eliminated from the state—wild turkeys from a small remnant population in Pennsylvania moved into western New York.

Bringing Back the Birds

Turkeys were back in New York, but there was still a lot of work to do. Those intrepid birds that had wandered into the state found plenty of habitat and were expanding rapidly, but they could only go so far. Game managers decided to help them along and in 1952 they began to raise turkeys in a game farm to reintroduce in the wild, stocking over 3,000 pen-raised birds over the next eight years. But the captive-reared birds weren’t wily enough to avoid predation and their natural reproduction was low, so the populations failed.

In 1959, the netting method invented by biologist Fred Evans was employed to trap turkeys for relocation (top). More than 1,400 turkeys were eventually relocated to reestablish New York flocks (bottom). Photos courtesy New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

In 1959, Department of Environmental Conservation biologist Fred Evans pioneered a method to capture wild turkeys from the booming populations in Allegany State Park. During winter when food sources were not as abundant, the team would lure birds into an area using corn or other grains. When there was a large enough group of turkeys, a net was shot over the top of them; biologists would place the birds in crates and translocate them to other areas of the state with suitable unoccupied habitat. According to a NYSDEC history document, “A typical release consisted of 8 to 10 females and 4 to 5 males. These birds would form the nucleus of a new flock and generally were all that was necessary to establish a local population.”

Since those early trapping efforts in the late 1950s until the early 1990s, 1,400 turkeys were moved within New York and helped reestablish wild populations across the state. New York also sent more than 300 wild turkeys to the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Delaware, and the Province of Ontario, helping to reestablish populations throughout the Northeast. Similar translocations were carried out by states across the country, often working with partner groups like the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Restoration Returns

Like many other states, New York’s turkey restoration efforts—starting with the early game farms through the trap and translocation of wild birds—were funded in large part through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund. Enacted in 1937, this program redirects a portion of a federal excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment for use by state fish and wildlife agencies to conserve wildlife populations. Those federal grant funds, paid by the shooting sports industry and the consumers that buy these products, are matched by the states using hunting license revenues. It’s a public/private partnership, bankrolled largely by hunters and recreational shooters but it’s clearly paying dividends and wild turkeys are just one example.

According to Mike Schiavone, game management section head in the NYSDEC division of wildlife, “Funding through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration program clearly changed the face of wildlife conservation. Wild turkey restoration in our state is directly connected to the dedicated funding through this program and hunting license fees that was made available to restore and manage this popular game bird.”

Natural resource economics firm Southwick Associates recently took a closer look at how that investment of Pittman-Robertson (P-R) funds worked for wild turkeys in New York. The state devoted a total of $2.7 million dollars (worth $11.5 million in 2020 dollars) of total grant funding to turkey restoration in New York from 1953-1985. They spent an annual average of $348,095 through this time and the turkey population rebounded. Ever since the state re-opened turkey hunting seasons, the ripple effect to the state’s economy has been growing.

In total, $4.6 billion of economic activity has been generated by turkey hunting in New York from 1985-2020. This activity includes direct expenditures by turkey hunters and the additional rounds of spending that occur as hunters’ dollars move through the economy. As an example, turkey hunting supports 555 jobs in New York, from hunting supply stores, local motels, and restaurants to businesses statewide. Turkey hunters have been spending on average $76.9 million annually since 1985, which in turn generates an average of $128.7 million of economic activity each year. This means more than 10 times the total grant funding from 1953-1985 is generated each year because of turkey hunting.

“It’s not often that a relatively small investment creates such a significant business opportunity. Too often people think that conservation comes at the expense of commerce, but we continue to find that this is not the case,” noted Rob Southwick. “Although many Americans don’t ever see wild turkeys, these birds still have a significant impact on state economies, even in urban areas. And it isn’t just turkeys—P-R funds have helped restore deer, elk, and waterfowl that also have tremendous economic impacts.”

These funds, coming through the firearms and archery industries, serve as the foundation for wildlife conservation efforts—but the restoration successes undertaken in the latter part of the 20th century are now critically important to economies across the country. And it’s a self-perpetuating boon. Fully restored turkey populations resulted in the rapid growth of turkey hunting in New York and many other states, and with a dramatic increase in the sale of hunting licenses and the development of turkey hunting products—many of which carry that small excise tax that goes right back to the states to continue wildlife conservation and management activities.

As Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation notes, “We often see that turkey hunting is a portal, an entry into the hunting and shooting sports. Because the populations are so strong, there is a lot of interest in hunting them and plenty of opportunities to get out. But they are a wily species, and you have to learn about the bird and their behavior to be successful. This builds skill as a hunter and helps develop hunting ethics and safety.”

But the other thing that is attracting people to turkey hunting, says Humphries, is how wonderful they are as table fare.

Bringing Home the… Turkey

Which brings us back to the beginning of this story and wild turkeys on the Thanksgiving table. These are naturally organic, free range animals and wild turkey is higher in protein and lower in fat than store bought turkeys. According to NYSDEC harvest information, 1,213,654 turkeys have been harvested in spring and fall turkey seasons in New York since 1985—at about 6.5 pounds of edible meat per bird and using the USDA standard serving size of 3.5 ounces, that’s over 36 million meals of wild turkey! The 2020 harvest in New York was 23,714 birds providing about 705,000 meals, which is equivalent to feeding just under half the population of the Bronx. While New York is consistently on the higher end of total turkey harvest, it’s clear that wild turkeys are feeding a lot of people every year.

For Jodi Stemler, the harvest brings a tremendous sense of pride and a connection to the food on her Thanksgiving table, even if lugging a frozen turkey through the airport does bring some funny TSA agent comments.

And, of course, there is that tremendous sense of pride and a connection to your food when you serve on your Thanksgiving table the turkey that you hunted. Which is why I will once again be lugging my bird through the airport this year.

To those of us enjoying a meal of wild turkeys on the holiday table, we give thanks to the men and women of conservation that helped bring back these incredible native birds. And to those of you who would like to do so next year, I can guarantee that NWTF or your state fish and wildlife agency will be teaching a turkey hunting class near you—and you becoming a hunter will continue this incredible cycle of conservation.

— Jodi Stemler

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