TPWD biologist receives Wildlife Manager of the Year Award from NWTF

Written by NWTF

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Dana Wright has trapped hundreds of wild turkeys for in-state and out-of-state restoration efforts. In fact, no current biologist or technician with TPWD has trapped or handled as many turkeys as Wright.

In recognition of Wright’s dedication to wild turkey management, she received the National Wild Turkey Federation Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award at the 39th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show.


“I am grateful to have a job working in wildlife conservation and deeply honored to have received this award,” said Wright. “It’s rewarding to see landowners work to create the proper habitat and grow wild turkey populations in places there had been no birds for 20 years or more.”

The Joe Kurz Excellence in Wildlife Management Award is named in honor of a 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 the wild turkey trap-and-transfer program across North America.

The NWTF determined this year’s award winners based on how their work strengthens the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Wright’s conservation work takes place in one of the most productive Rio Grande turkey habitats in Texas. Her influence on landowners, paired with her call for the protection and restoration of degraded roost habitat, makes her more than qualified to receive the award.

“Like Joe Kurz and all previous award winners, Dana is fighting hard to protect the wild turkey and its habitat,” said George Thornton, NWTF CEO. “We are proud to present her with this award as her insights have helped direct research and management efforts throughout much of Texas.”

Wright co-authored TPWD’s procedures for rocket-net and drop-net wild turkey trapping. She provides trapping training to TPWD staff, graduate students and other resource agencies. Additionally, Wright has been on the front lines for identifying trapping locations for research and restoration efforts.