EDGEFIELD, S.C. — For the NWTF’s 50-year celebration in Nashville, and henceforth, the prestigious Grand National Custom Callmaking Contest will have a new Wildlife Art Division, as well as a new JAKES category, Pinfeathers, in the Turkey Hunting Division.
“We are beyond excited to broaden our Grand National Custom Callmaking Contest,” said NWTF co-CEO Jason Burckhalter. “Year after year, we are stunned by the level of talent and artistic expertise our call makers bring to the table, not to mention their generous contribution to our mission through their artistic prowess. We can’t wait to see what our collective of artists has been up to over the last year.”
The new Wildlife Art Division will consist of three categories, Carved or Carved and Painted, Two-Dimensional Art and Art/General, intentionally vague to include all artistic mediums. The Best of Show Award will provide the winner from one of the three categories with a $1,000 prize.
To engage youth in the contest, the new Pinfeathers Category will allow NWTF JAKES members (youth 17 and under) to collaborate with an adult NWTF member of their choice to create any turkey call. The youth can utilize whatever level of assistance is needed from their mentor to complete the entry. The winner of this category will receive a unique trophy with the winner’s and mentor’s names engraved together.
“When I was 5 years old, my grandfather gave me a box call,” said Bob Fulcher, dedicated NWTF volunteer and previous Grand National Call Maker of the Year recipient. “That call changed my life; it is what planted the seed and is probably why I am an NWTF volunteer, why I started turkey hunting, mentoring and making turkey calls. It is my hope that this new division sets youth on the same trajectory to become stalwart conservationists that give back.”
Turkey call making has been woven into the fabric of the NWTF; since the founding of the organization in 1973, turkey call makers — be it custom call makers or callmaking companies — provided lifeblood to the NWTF in those early years, purchasing advertising space in Turkey Call magazine; donating thousands of calls for use as prizes, new-member sign-up premiums and auction items at fundraising events; presenting or assisting in giving seminars; playing major roles at conventions; and generally helping spread the NWTF’s message to eager turkey hunters. The dedication, spirit, innovation and craftsmanship of these call makers still rings true nearly 50 years later.
Custom call making has gained traction and popularity over the years. Not only are the custom calls sought after by collectors and hunters looking for the purest turkey sounds, but custom turkey call making has become one of those rare occurrences where art and sport collide.
The Grand National Custom Callmaking Contest came into existence with the principle of supporting the NWTF’s mission while providing a national-level platform for call makers to showcase their talents.
This year’s contest will be held at the NWTF’s 50-year celebration in Nashville, Tennessee, Feb. 15-19.
Sign up for NWTF’s 50th anniversary celebration here.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.
2023 is the NWTF’s 50 th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50 th anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.