HOWARD — Several worthy causes and good-tasting barbecue drew an unexpectedly large crowd to the Kokosing River Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 18th Annual Heritage Superfund Banquet, held Saturday at the Floral Community Center in Apple Valley.
The local NWTF chapter, one of the few 5-star chapters in the nation, works to preserve habitat for wild turkeys, but volunteers also spend much time bringing those to the outdoors who would otherwise not get that chance. For the 200-plus in attendance, it was a chance to participate in live auctions, silent auctions, raffles and games to raise money for the NWTF. The banquet was catered by City Barbecue.
“All of the money, raised here tonight, stays here in Ohio,” said chapter volunteer Barry Coffing. “It’s used for land purchases to provide habitat for the wild turkeys along with any other wild game species. They need the right kind of habitat. You’ve got to have hardwoods. You’ve got to have water. We’re very lucky here in Knox County that we have a lot of that habitat and a very healthy population of wild turkeys.”
The purchase of suitable land is one of the best ways to counteract the biggest threat to habitat — overdevelopment.
“Urban sprawl,” said Coffing. “It’s up to the state board to say where they purchase that land. We work with (the Ohio Division of Natural Resources) to create habitat on lands that the state already owns.”
While the turkey is by no means endangered, the preservation of the population at current levels will ensure that future generations can enjoy the spring hunting season.