NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The National Wild Turkey Federation presented Brent McNeal, a forester with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, with the Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award for his dedication to wild turkeys and wildlife habitat management.
“I feel very honored … It makes me very proud to represent the agency that I have spent most of my career with,” McNeal said. “Habitat management has evolved throughout my career to a point where I feel we are making great strides every day to improve wildlife habitat for current and future generations, and this award reflects that. I credit my peers in habitat management. I credit my Dad for raising me to be a steward of the resource and to appreciate every day spent in the woods. My wife and children have supported me throughout my career, tolerating me leaving early and coming home late from prescribed burns and wearing muddy boots into the house. For that, I thank them!”
McNeal received the Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award at the 43rd annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show. Mossy Oak is the official convention sponsor.
The NWTF named the Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award after the former Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife chief for his leadership and the vital role he played in improving wildlife management. Kurz also was a principal figure in wild turkey trap and transfer programs across North America.
In addition to supervising forestry staffers in his region, McNeal is responsible for all aspects of habitat management efforts on the nearly 225,000 acres of game lands in south central Pennsylvania. To achieve management goals, McNeal uses prescribed fire and implements a variety of treatments designed to increase mast production.
McNeal has participated in several turkey trapping projects, including one project that tasked him with selecting the trapping location and monitoring a bait site until turkeys were using it regularly. The Pennsylvania Game Commission successfully captured nine jakes due to his efforts, and McNeal considers this one of the most exciting things he has done during his tenure with the state agency.
“Brent is far more than a forester,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “His conservation practices combine forest and habitat management to enhance the landscape and benefit all wildlife.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to raise $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org