On The Ridge with Joe Judd: License plate updates


Published: 07-10-2024 4:30 PM

It’s been over seven months since the Massachusetts State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation announced that reservations for a new license plate, depicting an image of an eastern wild turkey, would soon be ready to go. This new license plate, which was first introduced to the Bay State on Nov. 18, 2023, has placed us within striking distance of reaching our target number (one-third of the way to reaching our projected goals by years end). It has been nothing short of amazing, with nearly 175 reservations for this special conservation plate having been received.

This effort not only ensures that future generations will be able to experience the rich history of perhaps the greatest conservation success story in the history of our state, it will also allow a portion of the proceeds to remain in Massachusetts. And it will be administered by our own state board of directors, which will become a lifeline for continuing the great work that was started with our MassWildlife partnership over 40 years ago. That’s an important thing, so we wanted to remind folks about how this project started and how far we still must go. We also want to share some news about where we are heading, and how we intend to get there, while providing a larger update on how things are progressing with the special passenger plates that have been ordered thus far.

As many of you may recall, to get this specialty plate into production our organization must first process 750 applications/orders into the RMV processing center. Plate production will begin on these 750 plates when this order is completed, and the plates are paid for. The initial cost to reserve a license plate will be a $40 special plate fee, with the Massachusetts NWTF Chapter retaining a $28 donation from this amount. A $20 swap fee will also be required when your plates are ready. A good quantity of two and three-digit numbers remain available for people who might like to reserve a lower number, but these plates will cost a little more to reserve. And after you receive your new plates with instructions on what to do with your old plates, the plates will simply renew every two years, which is identical to when a passenger plate renews now. That renewal cost will be a $100 registration fee - $60 for the registration, plus the $40 specialty plate fee, which comes directly back to the Chapter. You will be notified by the RMV when your plates are ready to be shipped, but please remember, no plates will be produced until we have 750 plates ordered and paid for, and that may take a while longer to accomplish. After that, it will take between 4-6 weeks for the plates to be produced and sent to you. So, patience will become a virtue here, but we will keep folks updated as the project continues.

Another thing is that we’ve been in consistent communication with the Massachusetts RMV during this entire process, and that will continue until we meet our goal. And for organizations like ours, meeting our goal and the potential funding it could bring becomes essential for allowing us to continue our mission to acquire and protect habitat, while partnering with like-minded organizations who share the same goals and visions that we do.

And of course, the registry is extremely excited about this project, as are we, and they are doing all they can to assist us as we move forward. That makes us feel confident that the number we need will be achieved as the words spreads and more advertising starts to appear, as we expect will happen this fall. The plate is also available now on our new website set up specifically for this license plate. Go to massturkeyplate.com to visit the site and find out more. If you know someone who is interested, is a turkey hunter, or just loves wild turkeys and conservation, talk with them, and partner up with us to get these plates on the road. You can also share the following emails: jjontheridge@comcast.net which will get you to the old “Ridge Runner” himself, or centralmassnwtf@comcast.net which is former State Chapter President Keith Fritz. We’ll be happy to accept your application, discuss what plate numbers are available if you’d like to choose a number, or have a broader discussion about the project itself.

Thanks again to all of you who have supported this project thus far, and to those of you who will in the future. Your support has been tremendous, as the purchase of these plates is a wonderful way to support this wonderful resource, the eastern will turkey, and we simply couldn’t do it without you!

Joe Judd is a lifelong hunter and sportsman. He is an outdoor writer, seminar speaker, member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association, and a 2019 inductee into the N.E. Turkey Hunting Hall of Fame. Joe is also on the Quaker Boy Game Calls and Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Pro-Staff. He can be reached at jjontheridge@comcast.net