Turkey hunters and conservationists from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered at Nashville, Tennessee’s Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center for the 38th annual NWTF Convention & Sport Show, sponsored by MidwayUSA, Feb. 13-16.

“This year’s attendance of 48,530 eclipsed last year’s total by almost 2,000 participants and all of them left with a better understanding of the NWTF and our Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative,” said Karen Lee, NWTF director of marketing communications.

Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. will slow the loss of critical wildlife habitat by conserving and enhancing 4 million acres; create 1.5 million hunters; and increase access to 500,000 new acres of public hunting lands.

NWTF CEO George Thornton also unveiled plans for the NWTF Hunting Heritage Center and Palmetto Shooting Complex at the NWTF Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, S.C.

“Our vision is to have the premier hunting heritage and outdoor education center in the country by the end of the decade,” Thornton said. “Our commitment is to use it to save the habitat and save the hunt.”

The 2014 convention drew a record 420 exhibitors, making it one of the nation’s largest sport shows. The event also featured the new Family Adventure Village, which gave kids the chance to explore hands-on conservation education and a variety of outdoor skills, as well as earn a special collectible patch, all free to the public.

NWTF members and active military personnel received free admission to the sport show with their membership card or ID.

Convention-goers enjoyed performances from entertainers Thompson Square and The Isaacs, as well as seminars, celebrity autograph sessions, the Grand National Turkey Calling Championships and more.

Matt Van Cise of Brookville, Penn., captured his third consecutive and fifth overall Senior Division Grand National Calling Championship at the event.

The Waterin’ Hole, the new social hub of the NWTF convention, was where attendees relaxed, drank, celebrated and talked turkey between events. “It’s why we are here this weekend,” said Will Primos of Primos Hunting Calls, who served as master of ceremonies for the Thursday Welcome Party and Saturday’s Awards Banquet. “We are here to have fun and celebrate the early success of our new initiative — Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.”

For more information, including a complete list of annual award and calling contest winners, visit NWTF.org.

Logo courtesy National Wild Turkey Federation

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