Calling In Turkey Hunters

Fine-Tune Your Store's R3 Efforts

New for 2022, Mossberg has expanded its popular 940 Pro family of 12 GA shotguns to include two
turkey-specific models. The optics-ready 940 Pro Turkey is available in 24" or 18.5" barrel lengths.
Photo: O.F. Mossberg & Sons

While it seems like 2021’s big-game hunting season has only just ended, spring fever has likely already struck some of your store’s cadre of turkey hunters. As the spring 2022 turkey hunting season draws near, it’s never too early to refresh and recalibrate your store’s R3 efforts (Recruitment, Retainment and Reactivation.).

We asked one of the leaders in this space, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), to provide insights on how the industry can work together to elevate R3 efforts, as well as how current trends are impacting the segment.

A Focus On Partnerships

The NWTF has been investing in hunter recruitment for decades with programs like Women In The Outdoors, JAKES and Wheelin’ Sportsmen. Additionally, NWTF’s Save The Habitat. Save The Hunt. initiative — a 10-year effort — is endeavoring to conserve or enhance 4 million acres of critical wildlife habitat, recruit 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 additional acres for hunting.

Mark Hatfield, NWTF national director of conservation services and a certified wildlife biologist, shared the federation has zeroed in on broadcasting the hunting lifestyle’s appeal to the public.

“NWTF has been very active over the past 9–10 years, focusing on hunter retention, recruitment and reactivation work,” he said. “We participate with numerous state wildlife agencies and other organizations to promote and develop support programming that increases recruitment, retention and reactivation at a local level.”

Reaching new audiences is key to growth, Hatfield noted.

“We’re continually looking at ways to reach new audiences, both internally and externally, while also establishing new partnerships. We get a lot of support from local volunteers who go out in their communities and mentor young adults or first-time hunters who may not have a mentor to help them,” Hatfield noted. “It’s something we’ve continually advocated, even during the pandemic. It provides authentic, 1-on-1 experiences. And, it’s where we’re thriving right now.”

In addition, NWTF is looking to better communicate the value of hunting to the masses — especially as the localvore and field-to-fork movements have been growing in prominence in recent years (accelerated by concerns of a protein shortage at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic).

What Your Store Can Do

To expand R3 efforts among your base of turkey hunters, Hatfield recommends getting involved with a local NWTF chapter.

“The best way to get involved is to have the storeowner engage local chapters or banquets in their community and support their local fundraising efforts. It flips the script a little bit: more along the lines of having the dealer engage the chapter, rather than the other way around,” he said.

NWTF posts information on individual chapters on its website, using a dealer locater-type feature to enable users to find local points of contact.

“Many storefronts are already involved, and that’s the best avenue for connection since it’s at the local level. A number of dealers serve as the local FFL for firearms that are distributed through their stores for our programs,” he added.

Technology’s Role

New technology also has a part to play in R3 efforts. For example, advancements in ammunition technology mean not every turkey hunter needs a 12 GA 3″ magnum shell to produce a harvest.

“Today, there are more options than we’ve had in the past to ethically harvest wild turkeys. Shotshell technology has definitely improved, which has provided opportunities for different methods of harvesting and different kinds of firearms to be used in hunting,” Hatfield noted.

As a result, interest in lower-recoiling options like 20 GA, and even sub-gauges like 16 GA, 28 GA and .410, has grown.
Hatfield pointed out lower recoil is expanding turkey hunting’s appeal to both younger and older hunters.

“The advent of sub-gauges has opened the door to either bring in individuals earlier to turkey hunting or to prolong their hunting lifestyle. They’ve certainly broadened the use and accessibility of turkey hunting, either by recruiting younger hunters or retaining seasoned ones,” Hatfield said.

Advancements in the bowhunting segment have yielded similar results.

“Bowhunting technology, like new arrows and sight enhancements, also appeal to a broader spectrum of hunters. In compound bows, the ability to have more let-off gives the hunter the opportunity to have an efficient bow hunt and improve his or her craft.”

We’re All In This Together

Hatfield emphasized if R3 efforts are to be successful it’s going to take a team of organizations and businesses to achieve it.

“There’s a lot of unity in the conservation community in and around the efforts necessary to make sure we don’t lose ground for wild turkey population. There are numerous organizations that are trying to find ways to increase their efficiencies to improve habitat, forest health, water quality and recreational opportunities, such as hunting,” he said.

“The advent of sub-gauges has opened the door to either bring in individuals earlier to turkey hunting or to prolong their hunting lifestyle.”

Mark Hatfield NWTF Director of Conservation Services

The events in recent years have helped unite the conservation community, Hatfield continued.

“There’s a tremendous network in place that’s been reinvigorated the past 3–4 years. We still have a lot of work to do, but we can continually use the relationships and partnerships that have been established and build upon those and ultimately recruit new partners into this effort. It’s going to take more than the individuals who have historically done it.” For more info, visit

New Year, New Turkey Hunting Products

Preparation for the spring turkeyhunting season is in full swing, evidenced by manufacturers introducing scores of new products for turkey hunters earlier this year. Here’s a collection of turkey autoloaders, ammo, accessories and more that caught our attention.

Mossberg has expanded its 940 Pro family of 12 GA autoloading shotguns with two 940 Pro Turkey shotguns. These optics-ready packages feature a choice of 24” or 18.5” barrel lengths, HIVIZ CompSight fiber optic sight for quick target acquisition, Mossberg X-Factor ported choke tube for improved pattern density, full camo coverage in Mossy Oak Greenleaf and a host of premium features and finishes.

APEX Ammunition‘s legendary Turkey TSS offerings bring a new level of performance to sub-gauge shotguns. Now available in 20 GA No. 9, 28 GA (No. 9 and 91/2) and .410 bore (No. 91/2), APEX Turkey TSS shotshells are designed for maximum penetration at extended ranges.

Remington Premier Magnum Turkey High Velocity 20 GA (No. 5) boasts a muzzle velocity of 1,300 fps. With Remington’s specially blended powder recipe, advanced Power Piston one-piece wad and hardened copper-plated shot, these high-velocity loads deliver dense patterns and knockdown power.

Fiocchi USA Golden Turkey TSS is available in 3” 12 GA (No. 7 and No. 9), 3” 20 GA (No. 9) and 3” .410 bore (No. 9).
Trulock Choke Tubes has added a new line of small-bore TSS turkey chokes, specifically in .410 and 28 GA.

To enhance a turkey hunter’s experience in the field, Millennium Treestands has debuted the TU03 Field Pro Turkey Seat. Featuring a Millennium ComfortMAX Seat, it provides comfort and back support, while also keeping the hunter’s backside above moisture and bugs.

MOJO Outdoors made popular the aggressive style of Scoot-N-Shoot turkey hunting, which allows the hunter to close the distance with an aggressive gobbler by moving toward the bird while staying concealed behind the decoy. New for this year, the Scoot-N-Shoot Gunner mounts to a shotgun gun barrel and includes two receptacles: one for the fan and one for the gobbler head. The oversized fan and wings provide extensive cover, while still allowing the hunter to see between the decoy and the gun.

Featuring a unique two-piece design, Montana Decoy’s Wiley Tom 3D gobbler decoy is built using Montana Decoy’s lifelike HD photo process that uses only images of actual wild turkeys. And like all Montana Decoys, it folds for easy portability in a vest or pack.

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