EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation’s chapters nationwide are gearing up for their annual Women in the Outdoors, Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF and JAKES outreach events, many of which are being held in conjunction with National Hunting and Fishing Day, Saturday, Sept. 27.
The NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors program is celebrating its 10th anniversary of sharing the outdoor tradition through expert instruction and hands-on education by hosting more than 300 ladies at the NWTF’s national headquarters Sept. 25 through Sept. 28.
The three-day event at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, S.C, provides women the opportunity to experience exciting outdoor activities such as fly fishing, kayaking, archery and much more in a welcoming and relaxed environment. During its inaugural year, Women in the Outdoors hosted 18 events and today the program organizes more than 400 events across the nation each year.
“This event is a great opportunity for women to learn about how they can get outside and have fun in a supportive, beginner-friendly atmosphere,” said Tammy Mowry, the NWTF’s national coordinator for Women in the Outdoors, northern region. “We’re offering two days of hands-on activities through more than 30 classes taught by pro staff instructors, as well as guest speakers, music, vendors, special auctions and much more.”
Several chapters throughout the country will host JAKES/Xtreme JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge Ethics and Sportsmanship) field days, which introduce thousands of youth under the age of 18 to the outdoors every year.
Hands-on activities during JAKES/Xtreme JAKES events across North America include fishing, archery, hiking, mountain biking and game calling, as well as instruction on hunting, conservation, the wild turkey and more.
“The NWTF’s JAKES/Xtreme JAKES outreach programs offer ample opportunities for youth to learn about conservation and connect with the outdoors,” said NWTF Education Director Christine Rolka. “The NWTF is working to increase youth participation in outdoor pursuits – especially hunting and fishing – that will educate and entertain a new generation of conservation-minded citizens.”
JAKES is the NWTF’s education and outreach program for members 12 and younger. Developed in 1981, the JAKES program is dedicated to informing, educating and involving youth in wildlife conservation and the wise stewardship of our natural resources.
Xtreme JAKES, created in 2002, is for teens 13 to 17 years old, and provides opportunities and challenges more in-line with older JAKES members’ abilities and experiences.
Chapters also are hosting Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF hunts and events on National Hunting and Fishing Day. Wheelin’ Sportsmen is an outreach program that provides outdoor recreational opportunities to people with disabilities.
Whether it is shooting, hunting, fishing or archery, there is no limit to the outdoor opportunities Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF can bring to a person with disabilities who’s eager to get outside and participate in an active lifestyle.
“Anytime you get folks together for a Wheelin’ Sportsmen event you can expect to have a lot of enthusiasm and a great time,” said Illana Burkhart, Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF assistant national coordinator. “Wheelin’ Sportsmen events are something Wheelin’ members and volunteers such as guides, landowners and event staff all look forward to every year because they enjoy the camaraderie of seeing old friends and making new ones.”
For more information about National Hunting and Fishing Day, visit www.nhfday.org. For more information about the NWTF, call (800) THE-NWTF.
Outdoor television star Michael Waddell is the honorary chairman for this year’s National Hunting and Fishing Day is. He is also the official spokesman for the NWTF.
Wild turkey restoration stands as one of world’s greatest conservation success stories. Thanks to funding and stewardship from NWTF volunteers, partners and sportsmen, wild turkey populations have grown from rare to plentiful.
That’s one reason the NWTF is a national sponsor of National Hunting and Fishing Day, a 36-year-old tradition that spotlights the role hunters and anglers play in conservation and habitat restoration.
Congress formalized the event in 1971 at the urging of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Every U.S. President from Richard M. Nixon through George W. Bush, as well as Congressmen, governors and mayors across the country has proclaimed their support. It happens the fourth Saturday of September each year and is one of the most effective grassroots campaigns ever undertaken to promote traditional outdoor sports.
Conservation succeeds only because America’s 34 million hunters and anglers generate, through license fees and excise taxes, $100,000 every 30 minutes for fish, wildlife and habitat programs.
“Michael’s surging popularity with youths, women, men–hunters and non-hunters alike–make him an ideal person to carry the torch for National Hunting and Fishing Day,” said Denise Wagner, coordinator for Wonders of Wildlife museum.
The museum, located in Springfield, Mo., is the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day, with sponsorship from the NSSF, Bass Pro Shops, The Sportsman Channel, NWTF, Realtree, Cabela’s, Woolrich, Gunbroker.com, Safari Club International, The Outdoor Channel, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Smith and Wesson, Hunting Heritage Trust and Yamaha.
Previous honorary chairs include Jeff Foxworthy, Tracy Byrd, Wade Boggs, Ward Burton, Louise Mandrell, Hank Williams, Jr., George Brett, Arnold Palmer and Terry Bradshaw.