EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation Illinois Wheelin’ Sportsmen celebrated two weekends of impactful archery deer hunts at Southern Illinois University’s Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center.
The 3,400-acre property, exclusively open for hunting during the Wheelin’ Sportsmen events, provided an ideal setting for archery hunts, complete with on-site meals and lodging for all participants.
From Nov. 10 to 12, the Illinois NWTF Wheelin’ Sportsmen, in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, hosted the annual hunt. Over 50 men and women gathered at the outdoor center, transforming the venue into a hub for the annual deer camp, fostering camaraderie and a shared love for the outdoors.
The event included a Veterans Day celebration on Saturday, paying tribute to individuals who have served the country with unwavering dedication and sacrifice.
In addition, during the first weekend in November, the Illinois NWTF Wheelin’ Sportsmen and the United Special Sportsmen Alliance hosted the first USSA Illinois Deer Archery Hunt for children with special needs at the Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. The event focused on fulfilling the dreams of children with special needs. Mentors were on hand to assist the children, many of whom experienced hunting for the first time.
The USSA, a non-profit organization, is devoted to providing critically ill and disabled youth, as well as disabled veterans, with the opportunity to embark on the outdoor adventure of their dreams. Since 2000, the organization has empowered individuals to pursue their dreams and lead fulfilling lives in the great outdoors, impacting the lives of thousands.
Much like the NWTF, the USSA promotes and protects the rights of all Americans to participate in and enjoy our hunting heritage.
“These past two weeks have been the best in organizing and enjoying the hunts,” said Michael Howie, NWTF Illinois Wheelin’ Sportsmen coordinator. “The events were a huge success, and everyone had a great time. Every year just keeps improving, and we’re already looking forward to the hunts again next season.”
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 50th Anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50th 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.