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462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK I want your opinions on this. I wrote a piece about this event at the Black Bear Blog. I also saw a snippet this morning on the CBS Early Show and how the reporters were making a big deal about the event because the birds weren't being saved, but rather just rounded up for the camera and the kids and then released back into the wild.

You can read it here

If you click on the link that says CBS Early Show half way down you can see the article they posted. They are saying the kids were tricked. I find this reporting terrible...

We know it has nothing to do with that, as these same people promote Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, both fictitious characters which are portrayed to children as real. You know it has everything to do with hunting and that guns are involved. :roll:

3,446 Posts
I knew there was a reason I never watch that channel. I hope that the NWTF find another outlet and explains the whole thing thoroughly and completely.

Sad thing is that one piece, no matter if its retracted and apologised for or not , It still got out there, and lots of people seen it. And way to many of those people will offhandedly and absentmindedly believe it as gosple. Whether this yo-yo knew what he was doing or not he sure screwed the NWTF.

124 Posts
I wonder if that reporter is having pen raised turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? It is because of reporters like him we need organizations like the NWTF to teach children conservation and to give them the opportunity to see game in the wild. I'm sure (though not positive) all of the kids at the release were inner city children who have never experienced the thrill of being in the wild.

Before I start just let me say that I am a member of the NWTF, that I also help in the turkey trapping programs (Gould's) here in SE Arizona and that I also volunteer for turkey habitat improvements here in SE Arizona.

In my opinon whatever chapter/group that came up with this idea should be sternly chastized by the NWTF Hq's and by all of us. In the first place whatever made them think that a CBS report would be favorable to hunting? That was error number one. The stress placed on a captured bird is great and at times will result in death, so why take the chance of killing a bird or two? If they wanted to "tell the story" why not do an actual trap and release the birds into places that needed to be re-stocked? Watching a flock of big birds coming into the trap area would have these kids remembering it forever and also at the release site when you open the cages and they all scatter would be something inprinted into them for a lifetime. As much as I hate to say it I agree with he comment "all they got was a bad night in a box". We tried to exploit this magnificent bird for our own interest and we failed - badly.

The NWTF does an excellent job and will continue to do great things for the turkey populations here in the United States and they will overcome this bad piece of PR, I just hope they have learned a lesson from it.

3,446 Posts

Do youby chance happen to have the origional press release? I wonder if it was a relocation? Which is the first thought I had. If it was just a catch and release back into the same area they were captured from. Then I agree with Chief in that they screwed up. Thats something thats going to be bad press no matter which way its released. I hope it was actually a relocation that was twisted vs the other option.

What a mess either way. I hope they can get soem good press out to counter at least a little of what this caused.

"They were trapped because of this event we're having here today to show the kids", said James Earl Kennamer, the Federations vice president. "so we're turning them lose, right back were they started."

To quote another: "Stupid is, as stupid does", they were only trapped "because of this event." I am curious as to how many kids Mr. Kennamer has ever taken out hunting, or taking along on a NWTF volunteer project, has he ever bought one a membership to the jakes program. I think that is how you get them involved in hunting, not some bogus publicity stunt.

3,446 Posts

Sorry I was trying real hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. Figuring that that particular statement was misspoken. I really hope I'm right. if not I hate to say this but he got almost what was deserved if it actually happened that way. I'm not real up on how NWTF does things. But conscidering what I know of them and what they have done around the country. I just cant believe someone would be that misspoken in a leadership role, But still think thats more probable then them catching and releasing turkeys back into the same spot they caught them just for publicity.

Dosent the NWTF have enough catch and release programs in full swing to have a real one on tape for something like this. Or at least be abel to send the camera crews to a spot where they are running one.

I dont know..

462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I emailed them back when I felt more like I sided with them. But after more learning I tend to agree with Chief. But I got an email back today and this is what they had to say for whatever it's worth:


Thank you very much for your support. The story was a very distorted piece
of editing from a reporter that did not read our press release and was
obviously against hunting. (See Tampa Tribune article below). What's even
more frustrating is Dr. James Earl Kennamer spoke to the reporter at length
the night before the release so he did understand it was a symbolic release
to celebrate this restoration success story. But he chose to file a story
that was biased and inaccurate.

We've been doing wild turkey releases at Thanksgiving for many years now as
a way to focus on the good things hunters and wildlife professionals have
done for wild turkey restoration. Prior to Thanksgiving, the media is
looking for a story about wild turkeys. We've provided them with that
through these wild turkey releases as well as an opportunity to get our
message out about hunters and wildlife restoration. And, 99 percent of the
time, we've received positive stories in newspapers and TV about the work of
our members and partners. There will always be reporters who will twist our
message because they don't like hunting. However, we can't let that stop us
from continuing to try to get the word out. The hunting community has long
said we shouldn't just preach to the choir, and I plan to continue telling
the nonhunting public about the millions of dollars hunters have spent for
wildlife conservation.

Your words of support had a healing quality and I appreciate your efforts!

Best Regards,

Tammy Sapp
Senior Vice President/Communications
National Wild Turkey Federation

TV Reporter Wields Hatchet Against Turkey Federation
Published: Nov 19, 2006

In a story he called "The Great Turkey Rescue That Wasn't," CBS
national news reporter Steve Hartman did a hatchet job on the National
Wild Turkey Federation on Friday's evening news, based on an event that
brought the reporter to Tampa last week.

Hartman, like many other reporters, was invited to a symbolic turkey
release at Two Rivers Ranch near Thonotosassa to celebrate the
restoration of the wild turkey across America, mostly funded by

Hartman got the same press release everyone else did-in fact, he showed
it on the air. But apparently Hartman didn't have time to read any
farther than the headline - he got the idea that wild turkeys were to
be released into some sort of preserve where they could live happily
ever after, and came primed to do that story - a "turkeys reprieved at
Thanksgiving" tale of the sort that is so popular with TV stations at
this time of year.

In fact, limited hunting is allowed on Two Rivers, and that didn't sit
right with Hartman.

He totally ignored the thrust of the event, which was to point out that
wild turkey numbers nationwide have come back from fewer than 30,000 to
more than 7 million thanks to transplants, as illustrated in the Two
Rivers release.

The restocking programs have been paid for almost entirely by hunting
license fees, excise taxes on hunting gear, and donations from the
National Wild Turkey Federation, a hunting/conservation organization.

Instead, Hartman homed in on the fact that the turkeys were trapped and
kept overnight in release boxes, then released into areas where some of
them might eventually wind up being taken by hunters.

Of course, Hartman did not get the fact that hunting has been allowed
on this particular ranch for more than 40 years, and that it has
perhaps the most dense turkey population in the state despite the
controlled hunts.

Hartman said that the turkeys had been "abducted" and also that they
had been "kidnapped," and that he "felt bad for the turkeys."

Fortunately, 13 of the trapped turkeys were released without incident,
and most are probably back sitting on their roosts along Blackwater
Creek this morning.

All except one, that is. That would be the gobbler that ran into the

For reasons known only to Hartman, when a big gobbler was released, he
laid down his camera and began to sprint after the bird. The turkey
wasn't about to be caught by a guy from New York with a doughnut around
his middle, of course, but in running away from Hartman it ran full
tilt into a barbed wire fence.

Feathers and blood flew. The turkey made it through the fence and
wobbled off toward a nearby cypress head, drooping one wing and
limping. That gobbler probably wound up as coyote food shortly after
sundown - nature does not provide much slack for the infirm.

For some reason, the footage from that part of the "Great Turkey
Release That Wasn't" didn't make the air.

Like many, I have admired the often funny, whimsical or touching
stories generated by Steve Hartman in his travels around the nation.
But this time he wandered far off the track and insulted both the NWTF
and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, without the
likes of which there would be no wild turkeys anywhere in the nation
these days, and missed an opportunity to share a story that should have
been told to the national audience of CBS.

Tammy Sapp
Senior Vice President/Communications
National Wild Turkey Federation
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