A Letter from Toxey
Since before Mossy Oak was around, wild turkeys have been central to the core of our family. Our love for hunting and conserving them is woven into the fabric of Mossy Oak. My dad’s generation couldn’t stand the thought that one day in the future a spring morning that used to ring with gobbles may fall silent, and around the country they set into motion the revival of the wild turkey population in America so their kids and grandkids would never have to know that feeling.
We were overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm by the turkey hunting community last year with the release of our inaugural Wild Turkey Conservation Stamp. Everything we do as Gamekeepers revolves around leaving the land and wildlife we love better than we found it and inspiring others to do the same. We never take for granted this growing community, and by the end of the year we’d raised over $100,000 through the stamp alone!
We’re lucky to have folks like Mike Chamberlain, Marcus Lashley and more who share their time between the woods and campus trying to answer the questions that are hovering over the health of wild turkeys. Our stamp fund and this guidance are a part of Gamekeeper Grants, under which our conservation grants will be issued to biologists and other folks around the country pursuing important work for the health of wild turkeys.
It takes a historical perspective, a longview and patience to look after the health of the critters we love. While hunters everywhere are hungry for answers to why their population may seem dwindling, some of these answers take years of dedication from biologists to answer.
While we’ll be constantly supporting important projects under the advice of Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Lashley, we’re also proud of two impactful projects in particular that we’ll be supporting.
First, we’re announcing the Wild Turkey Lab with Dr. Mike Chamberlain aka “Wild Turkey Doc.” Mike has dedicated his life to caring for turkeys, and the Wild Turkey Lab will be a platform to publish important conservation work being done not only under Mike’s guidance but around the country. Wild Turkey Lab encompasses Mike’s life work turning complicated data and analysis into digestible writing for all of us hunters to read and understand.
Second, some of the most important unanswered questions in the wild turkey world right now revolve around Lymphoproliferative Disease. Dr. Chamberlain is leading a cutting edge project that will begin during nesting season in Georgia, and we’ll search for answers regarding LPDV that will be relevant to turkey populations in every state.
We are incredibly grateful for all of the hunters who trust Mossy Oak and all of us as Gamekeepers to do the right thing carrying on our hunting traditions and looking after the land and critters we love. We never take that for granted. The wild turkey is not just a bird, and turkey hunting is not just hunting. Mossy Oak wouldn’t exist without wild turkeys, and we’ll never stop supporting those who want to see them thrive generations into the future as our love for hunting and conserving them passes on down the line.