Turkey federation looks to expand young hunters, scholarship programs

Published 4:04 pm Monday, March 10, 2014

Turkey hunters, wildlife enthusiasts or anyone looking to support a local wildlife preservation organization can circle Thursday night on their calendars.

The Vicksburg chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is hosting its annual banquet Thursday at 6 p.m.

The banquet will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 320 Fisher Ferry Road.

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Base tickets are $60 and include a meal and yearlong membership, said Bump Callaway, former chairman of the local chapter.

“We have a good time,” Callaway said. “It’s a very family friendly event. Wives, significant others and children are more than welcome.

The NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation and hunting organization that has worked for the conservation of the habitat of wild turkeys.

Callaway said the local chapter was founded about 100 years ago and has gathered yearly for more than 70 years.

“We’ve had a chapter here for years and years, I can’t give an accurate number for how many years, but we’re not brand new,” he said while laughing.

Callaway said that the Mississippi chapters of the NWTF have raised more than $1.7 million in the last 19 years.

Money raised goes to habitat enhancement, partner field days, education programs and scholarships.

The local chapter offers a $400 scholarship to local students each year.

Callaway said the scholarships are just one aspect of the organization’s outreach to youth.

“The NWTF general is a strong supporter of course habitat enhancement and hunting heritage — or preserving the ability to hunt. They do this through a number of ways and they have a strong emphasis on programs for young hunters that they call “jakes,” which are young turkeys.”

The Jakes program’s aim is to educate young hunters about issues beyond using a bow or gun.

Money raised at the annual banquet funds the scholarships, he said.

Callaway said 10 guns would be given away during the raffle along with different pieces of artwork and other hunting-related wares.

“They’ll have to come see what all we have,” he said. “We encourage anyone to come have a good dinner and some good fellowship, and enjoy the opportunity to raise a little money.”

For tickets or information about the chapter’s scholarship, contact Callaway at 601-638-0737.