Moncton Area Conservation Group Getting Organized
This past October the SPCA captured a fugitive Eastern Wild Turkey on Main Street in Moncton that captured the public's attention on social media and in the conventional news. The bird was henceforth named Herbie and was re-homed by the SPCA to a permanent location where he will reportedly live out his life (presumably) happily on an area farm. Very little information was released publicly about this bird, but it was certainly a farm-raised bird. The majority of residents in Southeastern NB may never have seen a true wild turkey, but they may recognize one from the pictures and videos released from that encounter.
The wild turkey doesn't resemble the usual domesticated white barnyard turkeys we are generally accustomed to. What we think of as little more than an ugly bird is actually quite radiant. Their feathers have iridescent hues of green, copper, and mahogany. The bird is so impressive that it is said US President Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey to the eagle as the country's national bird because he thought the eagle to be of bad moral character.
New Brunswick is thought to have as many as 1,000 wild turkeys already in the province, mostly migrating naturally from the state of Maine where they have an estimated 70,000 wild turkeys and the industry accounts for in upwards of $20 million in revenue. Many visitors on shopping trips and vacations to Maine have seen flocks of these birds on their travels.
As with other species, men and women that love the outdoors have organized with the goal of enhancing the outdoors for species such as the wild turkey. The Canadian Wild Turkey Federation officially began operation in March of 2014 and as it approaches their second anniversary, it is an active and growing organization centered in conservation.
The National Wild Turkey Federation had announced in January of 2014 that they were ceasing Canadian operations after nearly 20 years in the country. The first chapter in Canada began in 1996 in the province of Ontario. The group was actually involved in the introduction of the species in Ontario back in Ontario in 1984. After such a storied history their departure was a surprise, but in their absence something perhaps even better has grown out of the loss.
The CWTF is about more than just hunting turkeys and the group in Southeastern NB is no exception. The organization was founded with three goals: to conserve, enhance, and protect the outdoors. The CWTF also goes above and beyond for community outreach. Wilderness Obsession co-founder David Ward said “When I first joined the organization, they were in the middle of organizing a donation of frozen turkeys (what else?) to a local food bank for Christmas time. What a novel idea to raise awareness that this group is about so much more than just hunting”
On top of that, the CWTF is all about the next generation. Twice each year, young outdoorsmen and women under the age of 16 have traveled to Maine for a tradition known as the “Hoot & Shoot”, which provides a weekend of learning about turkeys, hunting, safety, and conservation.
Prior to the NWTF's departure there was a local chapter in Moncton that was known as the "Southeastern NB Limb Hangers". The group stuck together after the NWTF left and has continued on now under the CWTF umbrella. They have held several local banquets including their inaugural one in 2014 that had hundreds of people in attendance where the Premier of New Brunswick at the time (David Alward) announced the intention to implement a limited-draw wild turkey hunt in New Brunswick (which was never started after the provincial election).
Although a turkey hunt doesn't seem to be on the near horizon, and admittedly it may be a long time before the true wild turkeys migrate to Southeastern NB, the local branch of CWTF is planning a number of events in the Spring of 2016 including an outdoor cleanup of a local gravel pit, involvement in the Bouctouche Moose Mania Event (January 30th), a presence at the Moncton Sportsmen Show (April 1-3), and a fundraising event (gun bash) in Riverview on May 14th. In addition, they are helping to work on an annual youth turkey hunt in Southern Maine, USA from April 28th - May 1st.
Now, the local group is looking for the public's assistance in naming their "new" local chapter. They have announced a naming contest that will run until the end of the NB Sportsmen (and Boat) show on April 3rd, 2016. After that date, the top submissions will be narrowed down by the local board and members will vote on the official chapter's name.
Kevin Steeves, president of the local chapter expressed his enthusiasm for the contest. "The CWTF is known nationally as the people's organization. What better way to get the public involved, than have them help us name our local chapter?"
Every person who offers up a suggestion for Chapter Name will be entered into a draw for a hunting related prize package with an MSRP of $150, courtesy of wildernessobsession.com, a private group of local outdoor enthusiasts who write about hunting, fishing, and much more from a strictly Maritime point of view.
Anyone interested in submitting a name for the contest can do so at http://www.wildernessobsession.com/contest.php
For those looking to find out more about the conservation group, you can visit www.cwtf.ca to read about activities and initiatives, and purchase an annual membership to get involved!
Both CWTF and Wilderness Obsession have an active social media presence and we encourage you to "like" us on facebook/follow us on twitter to stay abreast of our news and activities.
Contact us and let us know!