Welcome to YOUR Oklahoma State Chapter of the NWTF!

The NWTF/ODWC Deer Hunting Conference and Expo

Save the Date: August 13, 2022

Watch video here.

The goal of the Deer Conference is to provide attending hunters with evidenced based hunting tactics and strategies. Rather than learning and getting their questions answered on social media hunters can attend the conference and learn from subject matter experts. The format of the conference is designed to allow attendees to pick up to five sessions from 30 offered throughout the day. The conference offers three general sessions, one to open the conference, the lunch session includes a keynote speaker and lastly the wrap-up session with door prizes to conclude the day. Two breakout session are offered before lunch and three in the afternoon. Every aspect of the event is designed to be informative, educational, user friendly and fun.

Registration is now open, clink here to sign up and save your seat. Get $10 off your entry fee to the event by purchasing your tickets online before July 15th. Early registration is only $25, after July 15 registration is $35. Seating is limited to 300 guests.

First 100 to Register Bonus: Thanks to the generous support from our friends at HuntStand the first 100 hunters that sign up and attend the 4th Annual NWTF/ODWC Deer Conference and Expo will receive a free one-year subscription to HuntStand Pro.

Deer hunters of all experience levels will benefit from attending. A partial list of session topics to be offered this year include:

  • Advanced Bow Hunting Tactics.
  • Advanced Rifle Hunting,
  • Deer Biology 101,
  • Deer Biology and Behavior 102,
  • Deer Hunting Regulations,
  • Tree Stand Safey
  • Finding a Place to Hunt
  • Game Care – Field to Fork,
  • Habitat Improvement,
  • Introduction to Bow Hunting,
  • Introduction to Deer Hunting,
  • Introduction to Muzzle Loader,
  • Introduction to Rifle Hunting,
  • Q&A with Daniel McVay,
  • Saddle Hunting,
  • Scent Control,
  • Scouting and Stand Placement 101 with Brandon Adams,
  • And many more.

Update on speakers confirmed for the conference.

Jeff Danker and Daniel McVay from the highly acclaimed Sportsman Channel TV program, Buckventures and The Woodsman will present at breakout sessions this year. Jeff’s session titled “Thinking like a deer” – Understanding Deer Sign and the Best Time to Hunt will cut years off any hunters learning curve. Daniel will answer your deer hunting questions in an open forum Q&A session.

Back this year is Brandon “BA” Adams from My World Outdoors, LLC. BA will discuss Scouting and Stand Placement which was one of the most popular sessions in 2021. BA will not disappoint as he shares his knowledge and best practices.

Also back Is Darrel Noblet from the Oklahoma Youth Hunting Program. Darrel will again host a session titled “Introduction to Deer Hunting”.

An Introduction to Rifle Hunting session is back with Steve Easom, former outdoor TV producer and owner of Tru Products will provide insight on best practices for rifle hunting.

A Saddle Hunting session is new this year. The Introduction to Saddle Hunting session will be hosted by Jacob Harriet and Jake Rowland. Jacob and Jake are experienced saddle hunters when they are not on duty as ODWC Game Wardens.

The Tree Stand Hunting and Safety session will be a must attend session. You will not want to miss the Tree Stand Hunting and Safety session with Jon C Cunningham. Jon is a retired ODWC Warden and tree stand fall survivor. He has a compelling story to tell.

Michael Harrell, owner and host of Surrender Outdoors tv will be hosting two breakout sessions for bow hunters. One is a basic introduction to bow hunting for new hunters and the second is an advanced bow hunting session.

Jason Gilstrap with Get a Limit Outdoors will be hosting a session on self-filming you hunt.

Bryn Chapman with Okie-Land Archery will discuss tracking your deer after the shot.

Help the Yelp

Despite 50 years of unparalleled conservation delivery and the realization of what is regarded as the most acclaimed conservation story in America, many factors today are resulting in the loss of healthy habitats and a decrease in wild turkey populations.

The health of the North American wild turkey population has diminished since 2004, with surveys showing a decline of 10-15% over the past 15 years. Also alarming, the number of turkey hunters have declined over the same period.

Insufficient habitat management, the fragmentation and development of previously untouched lands, decreased public support of hunting, reduced funding and resources, less turkey hunters to conserve and revere this iconic bird — there are numerous challenges that are undoing much of the hard-fought work the NWTF and its partners have accomplished over the last nearly 50 years.

While there are many challenges ahead, it’s not all bad news; this is where NWTF’s Help The Yelp Project comes in.

This year, the NWTF established the Help The Yelp Project, a laser-focused campaign designed specifically to bring all turkey hunters into the NWTF as active participants and stewards of the organization’s mission to conserve the wild turkey and preserve our hunting heritage.

Simply put, Help The Yelp is a call to action for all turkey hunters and conservationists.

Both aspects of NWTF’s mission directly benefit wild turkey hunters, so it goes without saying that we need to bring all turkey hunters into the flock. If all turkey hunters in America united under one roof, the strides we could make as a monolith would be profound.

Over the years, the NWTF has seen firsthand the power of community awareness and support. The association and fellowship of hunters and outdoorsmen and women willing to work collaboratively to find and work towards innovative and effective solutions is, and always will be, the lifeblood of conservation.

The objectives of the Help The Yelp Project are as follows:

Objective 1: Increase national awareness of the risk to the wild turkey and other interrelated game and non-game species.

Objective 2: Recruit 250,000 turkey hunters into the NWTF as active participants in our mission.

Objective 3: Recruit 200 small businesses to participate in the project by providing awareness and localized, grassroots support, where possible.

Objective 4: Recruit 20 large businesses to participate in the project by providing awareness.

What Can Happen if We Achieve Our Goals?

A successful Help The Yelp Project will have a tremendous impact on the health of wild turkey populations and their habitats across the United States and will greatly boost opportunities for hunters and outdoorsmen and women to continue living and loving their lifestyle. More specifically, a successful project means:

  • Additional wild turkey research across the U.S.
  • Increased and improved habitat management
  • Improved habitat connectivity
  • Increased health of the wild turkey population
  • Increased social support and acceptance of hunting

What Can You Do to Help The Yelp?

Help us spread awareness and grow support!

Many of you may remember a time when few wild turkeys roamed the landscape. A huge part of their resurgence is attributed to the passionate hunters and conservationists who felt it was their duty to partner with the NWTF and ensure the population of this iconic bird remained healthy.

Today, however, with the population in decline, hundreds of thousands of wild turkey hunters have not yet opted-in to help. And without their support, we can’t outpace the challenges and risks to North America’s wild turkey population. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining, and Help The Yelp.

Your Oklahoma State Chapter was well represented at the 2022 NWTF National Convention in Nashville, TN.

Two event awards and one individual award were presented. Congratulations to all who were involved.

Oklahoma State Chapter Partnership Award

2/18/2022

NASHVILLE, TENN. — Partnership awards were presented to NWTF chapters that collaborated with individuals, companies, agencies or non-governmental organizations to host hunting heritage events, including JAKES, Wheelin’ Sportsmen or Women in the Outdoors.

Representatives from NWTF chapter in Oklahoma received the NWTF Partnership Award during the 46th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

Oklahoma State Chapter – 2021 Deer Conference and Expo
The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation collaborated to present the 2021 Deer Conference and Expo. The increase in Oklahoma hunting license sales in 2020 indicated that new hunters were taking to the field, and the NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter wanted to provide an outlet of information and be a resource for these new hunters.

“Being recognized on the national stage is a point of great pride for our state board members,” said Rick Nolan, Oklahoma State Chapter Board Member. “It is not just self-fulfilling but awards of this nature give us credibility and empower each member with the understanding that the work they do, does not go unrecognized and is appreciated.”

The goal of the Deer Conference and Expo was to provide attending hunters with evidenced-based hunting tactics and strategies. The conference and expo format provided attendees the opportunity to attend subject-specific breakout sessions led by experts. Every aspect of the event was designed to be informative, educational, user friendly and fun for new hunters. This year’s event included a wide variety of sessions, including introductions to bow hunting, rifle hunting, deer biology and behavior, shot placement and field care, how to find a place to hunt and more. More than 100 participants attended the event.

“Whether it is a conservation project or an outreach event, having like-minded partners is crucial in making as large an impact as possible” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We are proud to award our Oklahoma State Chapter for collaborating and forging new partnerships that help us preserve our hunting heritage.”

Oklahoma State Chapter – Best Inaugural Event

2/18/2022

NASHVILLE, TENN. – The Best Inaugural Event Award is presented to chapters that have hosted an exceptional first-time hunting heritage event, including JAKES, Wheelin’ Sportsmen and Women in the Outdoors.

The Oklahoma State Chapter, accepted Best Inaugural Event Award during the 46th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

“Keeping our events fun, innovative and engaging is crucial to bringing in new members to the flock and our overall mission delivery,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We are proud to honor these chapters that created successful new events in 2021.”

Oklahoma State Chapter – The Oklahoma State Chapter and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation collaborated to present Squirrel Fest at Sequoyah State Park. The target audience for this first-time hunt was new hunters from different backgrounds and ages.

The goal of the hunt was to teach the participants how to find squirrel sign, show them places they can hunt, expose them to different methods of harvest for squirrels and show them how to clean and prepare their squirrel for a meal. The event had 25 participants and ample volunteers and mentors assisting.

“I am honored to accept this award on the behalf of the Oklahoma State Board,” said Bobby Armstrong, NWTF Save the Hunt coordinator. “I wholeheartedly believe in the NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. and the R3 initiatives. This event, being a squirrel hunt, shows willingness of the Oklahoma State Chapter to think beyond turkey hunting and engage hunters with different levels of interest. Small game hunting builds confidence, marksmanship and woodsmanship. Outreach is the lifeblood of the organization to reach future conservationists.”

Congratulations Bobby Armstrong – Mentor of the Year

2/18/2022

NASHVILLE, TENN. – The National Wild Turkey Federation awarded NWTF Save the Hunt Coordinator Bobby Armstrong with the Mentor of the Year Award for his commitment to the R3 (recruitment, retention and reactivation) movement, taking new hunters afield and serving as a passionate resource for those interested in getting outdoors.

“I am humbly honored to have been nominated and chosen to receive the Mentor of the Year Award,” Armstrong said.  “I feel it is our duty as hunters to share the hunting heritage with new hunters and help them become more confident in hunting. Every hunter has had a mentor in some aspect. The NWTF has given me the opportunity to meet and work with others in fulfilling this duty for those who may not have had the same opportunity as we have. It brings me much joy to be a part of someone’s first hunting experience. To know that I made a lasting impact on someone is more rewarding than any harvest I have personally taken.”

Armstrong, of Oklahoma, accepted the Mentor of the Year Award during the 46th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

Armstrong has been an NWTF member and volunteer since 1998. Recently, he has served on the Oklahoma State Board of Directors and as the NWTF Oklahoma Save the Hunt coordinator since 2016.

Through his actions, compassion and volunteerism, Armstrong has illustrated the utmost dedication to creating more hunters and more mentors. Armstrong uses his strong social media presence to advocate and showcase the NWTF’s mission-centric programs and events.

Moreover, Armstrong has a well-established relationship with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, including its wardens and biologists. Together, they hold numerous events to recruit and educate new hunters. Over the last several years, Armstrong has become the voice of the hunter for the NWTF in Oklahoma.

He is held in high esteem by NWTF’s membership, as well as the leadership of other NGOs, with whom he has partnered to host events to promote the NWTF’s Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.

“Bobby is an R3 all-star, and we are lucky to have him as a part of the flock,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “His unwavering commitment to the R3 movement and his overall passion as a volunteer have earned him the Mentor of the Year Award.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final year of the initiative.

Rod Smith – Henry S. Mosby Award

2/17/2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Rod Smith, of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, was awarded the NWTF Henry S. Mosby Award for his dedicated, 43-year contribution to turkey restoration efforts across Oklahoma.

The NWTF named the award for Henry S. Mosby, Ph.D., whose research during the mid-1900s set the standard for wild turkey management. Mosby also helped found The Wildlife Society and won its highest honor, the Aldo Leopold Medal.

Smith was recognized with the Henry S. Mosby Award during the 46th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

Smith is currently a regional wildlife supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He began his career with the ODWC in 1978 and has spent all 43 years in the field managing wildlife to improve and enhance the natural resources in Oklahoma.

The Rio Grande restoration program in Oklahoma started as a state project in 1949 and ran to the mid 1990s. Smith got involved in this project after being hired as a biologist and was highly involved in the project for 17 years during 1978-1995. In total, approximately 10,000 Rio Grande turkeys were captured and translocated within Oklahoma.

From 1996-2021, Smith has been monitoring the Rio Grande turkey population in the central and western portions of Oklahoma. The Rio Grande turkey population peaked in 2006 with an estimate of over 119,000 birds in the state. Currently all 77 counties in Oklahoma have a huntable population of wild turkeys.

Over his celebrated 43-year career, Smith has seen the days when certain counties did not have turkeys, when counties received their first turkeys and when counties and public land were opened to turkey hunting for the first time. The turkey restoration project is one of the most successful wildlife projects in Oklahoma’s history, and Smith’s involvement, his attention to detail, his work ethic, his knowledge and his commitment has been key to the management success of the wild turkey in Oklahoma.

Moreover, Smith has been a part of NWTF’s Wild Turkey Technical Committee for over 25 years. He has worked with NWTF biologists and staff to help administer the Oklahoma NWTF State Chapter Hunting Heritage Super Fund, guiding prioritization of habitat restoration projects on an annual basis.

“Rod’s contributions to conservation are felt all over Oklahoma and beyond,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We are thankful for his dedication to serving the great state of Oklahoma and NWTF’s Technical Committee, and we are proud to present him with the prestigious Henry S. Mosby Award.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final year of the initiative.

Our Mission Statement: The NWTF is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

The mission of the National Wild Turkey Federation is no less urgent today than when it was founded in 1973. What we do in the coming decades will be instrumental in not only enhancing wild turkey populations but also in the continuation of hunting and quality  wildlife habitat for countless species.

We’re losing 6,000 acres of habitat every day. Hunters fund conservation but now we’re at the point where less than 10 percent of the American population hunts, so the funding source is going away. We know we can’t solve this alone. It’s bigger than one organization. The NWTF is leading a collaborative effort to solve the problem with the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative, and our contribution is our dynamic volunteer base.

Learn more about how the NWTF is making a difference for wildlife, wild places and our hunting lifestyle. Download our Annual Report.

FOR EVERY DOLLAR RAISED BY THE NWTF, 90 CENTS GOES TO MISSION DELIVERY.

Since 1985, NWTF volunteers and partners raised and spent more than $488 million toward our mission of conserving wildlife habitat and preserving our hunting heritage.

President’s Welcome

On behalf of the Oklahoma NWTF State Chapter Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our website.

We believe in the conservation of the North American Wild Turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage. That is our motto; however, we are about more than turkeys. We are committed to raising dollars for wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement, as well as the recruitment of new hunters.

When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of dedicated work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys thanks to the tremendous efforts of our dedicated volunteers, professional staff and committed partners.

The mission of the National Wild Turkey Federation is no less urgent today than when it was founded in 1973. What we do in the coming decades will be instrumental in not only enhancing our wild turkey populations but also in the continuation of hunting and quality wildlife habitat for countless species.

The NWTF is leading the effort to solve this problem. Our goal is that we “all” become part of the solution, starting at home and in our communities. This is bigger than any one state, any one organization, and it is time we tackled this challenge together.

The NWTF is in our 8th year of a 10 year commitment; we are on track (in some area have surpassed our goals) to “ Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt”. This ambitious initiative was not undertaken lightly, as of fiscal end 2019, NWTF has recruited 1,526,852 million hunters; conserved/enhanced 3,583,469 acres that are critical to wildlife habitation and opened access to 626,658 acres for hunting across the Nation.

In Oklahoma, there are Local Chapters holding Hunting Heritage Banquets across the state who raise funds in support of “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” These funds also help support our Outreach programs; including WITO (Women in the Outdoors), Wheelin’ Sportsmen and JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge and Ethics).

I have found that with NWTF there is something for everyone. We invite you and your family to join us in our efforts. You are the critical component in our mission, you and your family make it all worthwhile. We hope you enjoy our website and encourage you to contact a Local Chapter near you and join the thousands of fellow Oklahomans who work together to support and deliver our mission.

NWTF Oklahoma State President

Lynn Hagerman