AMA Sportsmen’s Club hosts NWTF provincial awards banquet


By Joel Charron

There were plenty of laughs and stories being shared this past weekend as the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) held its Ontario provincial awards banquet at the A.M.A Sportsmen’s Club.

Roughly 170 people from NWTF chapters across the province converged for the annual event with this being the first time the banquet has been held in Amherstburg.

NWTF provincial president John Todd commonded the host chapter (A.M.A Longbeards) for putting on a stellar event, while noting that the 170 in attendance were the most the NWTF had for a provincial banquet.

“You have done a fine job here,” said Todd. “When we asked for someone to volunteer to run this event you guys stepped up to the plate.”

The NWTF is a national conservation organization working to restore the wild turkey population in the U.S. and Canada and to manage the population growth wisely. The NWTF also works to promote and preserve the hunting tradition.

The NWTF also provides seeds, seedlings and tree protectors to make the land a better place for wild turkeys to live and provides habitat for other wildlife and improves the environment for everyone.


World champion turkey caller, Shane Hendershot demostrates his award winning turkey calling

The night kicked off with dinner, which was followed by speeches and awards.

Todd said he is a member of the NWFT because it allowed him to enjoy his family and friends while being in the outdoors while passing down the hunting heritage.

Bob Fountain, the Georgia-based vice president of field operations for the NWTF, said without the vision and foresight of the group’s founding members in 1973, “none of us would be here tonight.” Fountain was pleased to see people locally willing to protect the local wild turkey habitat and work towards re-establishing the population.

“It’s the men who started the NWFT is why we have the privilege today to watch that strutting bird or hear that wonderful gobble on a spring morning,” said Fountain. “Without those men with their vision and foresight none of us would be in the room tonight.”

Fountain noted as fast as the wild turkey population as increased, it could be depleted just as fast.

“We do not want to go back to where we came from. We want to keep moving forward,” said Fountain.

Shane Hendershot, a world champion turkey caller from Zanesville, Ohio, who joined the NWTF in 1994 to promote conservation and habitat, said his purpose in the NWTF has evolved into getting the youth more involved.

“It’s more about the kids and getting them involved in the outdoors,” said Hendershot.

Todd was given an award of appreciation before handing out the first ever NWTF Presidents’ Award, which was shared by Mike Malhiot and Dave Reid. Greg Balch won the Ontario Conservation Education Award and Tom Howe took home the Ontario Sportsmen’s Wild Turkey Service Award. The A.M.A Longbeards took home six chapter awards.

First place in Most Memberships (198), Gross Dollars ($42,210), Net Dollars ($3,168), Jakes Memberships-youth (61).

Third place in Net/Gross (37%), Sponsor Memberships (31)


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