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2015/2016 UPDATE - The Boone and Crockett Club will be conducting an evaluation of the current Conservation Grants Program, therefore, the Club will be unable to distribute funding during this period. After the evaluation period is complete, we will provide the updated details and deadlines on our web site.



How the Program Works

The Program is managed by the Conservation Grants Subcommittee of Regular and Professional Club members whose expertise spans a wide variety of wildlife species and specialty areas.  Duties of the subcommittee are to propose research themes and topics for the annual competition; issue a call for proposals; evaluate submissions; and, provide funding recommendations to the Club.  The Conservation Grants Chair, a Boone and Crockett P rofessional member, coordinates the subcommittee’s work, reports on the program’s needs and accomplishments, and handles communications pertaining to the program.


James W. Cain
Influence of Artificial Water Sources on Desert Bighorn Sheep.

All approved projects are expected to produce information of scientific and practical value.  It is intended that recipients of grants will publish their findings in recognized outlets and acknowledge support provided by the Boone and Crockett Club.  Final payment to the researcher is held until receipt of a final report. The Club reserves the right to use portions of any and all reports from funded projects without payment or additional compensation.  As a general rule, grant recipients are invited to prepare an article for publication in the Club’s magazine, Fair Chase.  Unless otherwise specified, grants are made to the college or university supervising the investigator and project.  The Boone and Crockett Club does not permit its funds to pay for overhead or administrative costs. 

The Conservation Grants Program is managed on an annual cycle that includes a call for proposals, evaluation of submissions, and communication of the results.  The cycle begins in the spring, when the Conservation Grants Subcommittee puts forward the theme for that year’s competition.  This step focuses the competition on problems that are a high priority for the Club, and provides proponents with clarity on the eligible topics for funding.

Grant materials are posted on the B&C Club’s website in June and in August the call for proposals is mailed to all American and Canadian universities with graduate programs in wildlife biology or management. Applicants are directed to the Club’s website, where they can review instructions for applying and download the application form. Proposals received by the submission due date of October 15th are accepted for consideration.

Copies of all proposals and an evaluation guide are mailed to Conservation Grants Subcommittee members by October 31. Subcommittee members complete their evaluations for submission to the Conservation Grants Co-chairs, who compile the results. The Co-chair convene a meeting of the Subcommittee at the Club’s annual meeting in early December to review results and develop recommendations for funding. These are reported during the annual meeting of the Boone and Crockett Club Foundation. All applicants, successful or not, are notified in early January of the outcome.

Evaluation Criteria
The Conservation Grants Subcommittee evaluates the applications using the following criteria:

  • The proposal meets the guideline of being relevant to big game biology or management.
  • The project addresses the current Boone and Crockett Club priority theme(s).
  • The study addresses a significant biological, ecological, policy, or social science problem.
  • The study has scientific merit by testing existing theory or assumptions or producing new knowledge.
  • There is potential for widespread application of the results.
  • The study design is appropriate to meet the study objectives or answer the stated questions.
  • The study methods and proposed analyses are clear, well justified, and appropriate for obtaining the desired information.
  • The project is feasible given the proposed budget and in consideration of funding listed from other partners.
  • The applicant is well qualified to undertake the study.

Expectations Of Recipients

Successful applicants are expected to adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Project activities normally occur between 1 January and 31 December.
  • Successful applicants will be expected to follow the Boone and Crockett Club Cooperative Project Agreement and adhere to the payment and reporting schedule identified in the Agreement. Final payment to the researcher is held until receipt of a final report.
  • Grants cannot be made retrospectively, that is for work completed prior to the current application year. 
  • The Club reserves the right to use portions of any and all reports from funded projects without payment or additional compensation.
  • It is intended that recipients of grants publish their findings and acknowledge support provided by the Boone and Crockett Club.
  • Grant recipients are expected to provide Boone and Crockett Club with digital copies of the Theses and publications stemming from projects supported by the Club. The Boone and Crockett Club intends to list the citations for these articles on their website and where appropriate provide a link to access the written documents. 
  • Applicants are responsible for ensuring they have the proper licenses and approvals required to carry out the project and have complied with all the requirements of their organization and local and national authorities.
  • As a general rule, grant recipients are invited to prepare an article for publication in the Club’s magazine, Fair Chase.

See Application Materials for Applying for 2013

Louis Harveson
Evaluating Landscape Changes of Mule Deer Habitats in Trans-Pecos,Texas.
See descriptions of additional projects

Examples of Recent Themes and Projects
Since 2006 the program has focused on deer genetics studies that are a high priority for the Boone and Crockett Club Records Program and for conservation and management of deer.  These projects completed by 2010, include the following:

  • A diagnostic nuclear genetic marker to differentiate Coues white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) from non-Coues white-tailed deer (O. v. spp).  Principal investigators:  Jim Heffelfinger, Arizona Game & Fish Dept., with Dr. Carlos Alcalá-Galván and Dr. David Paetkau.
    • A diagnostic nuclear genetic test to differentiate F1 and F2 hybrids of white-tailed deer x mule deer from pure individuals of either species.  Dr. Irving Kornfield, University of Maine.
James Heffelfinger
Defining Practical Units of Conservation and Record Keeping Through Analysis of Genetic Differentiation in Mule and Black-tailed Deer.

Projects funded between 2000 and 2006 included:

  • Defining practical units of conservation and record keeping through analysis of genetic differentiation in mule and white-tailed deer.  Jim Heffelfinger, Regional Game Specialist, Arizona Department of Game & Fish.
  • Evaluating effects of season change on harvest characteristics of mule deer in West Texas. Ryan Walser, MS student, Sul Ross State University.
  • Transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in riparian areas:  influences of mule and white-tailed deer movements, population dynamics, social behavior, and landscape patterns. Charles Frost, MS student, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Evaluating predator compensation programs as a means of resolving social conflict and promoting social tolerance. Jessica Montag, Ph.D. student at the University of Montana.
  • Conservation of large carnivores in fragmented landscapes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  Cheryl-Lesley Chetkiewicz, Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta.
  • Influence of artificial water sources on desert bighorn sheep.  James Cain, Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona.   
  • Restoration of the Louisiana black bear into suitable habitats. Kyle Van Why, M.S. student at the Louisiana State University
  • Using the metapopulation concept to understand the spatial and temporal population dynamics of elk in IdahoJocelyn Aycrigg, Ph.D. student at the University of Idaho
  • Kinship, population dynamics, and spatial organization of black bears.  Cecily Costello, Ph.D. student at Montana State University.
  • Conditions affecting limiting factors for mule deer in Southwestern Montana.  Todd Atwood,Ph.D. student at Utah State University.

Wanted:  Partners for Investment

Every year, the Conservation Grants Program receives more requests for worthy projects than it can fund.  Currently the program consists of two endowment accounts named in honor of distinguished Boone and Crockett Club leaders:  Tim Hixon and the late William I. Spencer.  We invite other groups and individuals to consider the Conservation Grants Program as a convenient and effective way to invest in wildlife research and future leaders in the wildlife profession.  The program has an effective system in place to solicit proposals on specified themes, evaluate submissions for quality and merit, and administer the delivery of funds and the receipt of products.  By partnering with the Boone and Crockett Club, other donors can target their investments for maximum effect, while avoiding the work and expense of soliciting, evaluating, and administering grants. 

Funding partnerships can take different forms, depending on the partner’s objectives and preferences.  Some possibilities include:

  • The partner has special interest in a particular theme that the Club has selected for a Conservation Grants competition, and contributes funds to increase the amount available for distribution.  This results in an increased number of projects that can be funded in a given year.
  • The partner has a theme that it wishes to sponsor, additional to the Club’s selected theme.  This results in the launching of research on more than one important topic in a given year, and increases the number of projects overall that can be supported.  In all phases of the competition and follow-through, the partner would receive full recognition as the sponsor of that research theme. 
  • The partner wishes to establish a new conservation grants endowment or funding account, perhaps to recognize a corporate sponsor, to honor a person, or to initiate research in a specific topic area.  This would be managed as a parallel program to the Spencer and Hixon endowment accounts, using the existing structure and processes to solicit, evaluate, and administer the awards.  

Undoubtedly there are other options that could be considered, and we would be pleased to discuss them with prospective partners.  Please direct your inquiries to:  Keith Balfourd, Director of Marketing orTony Schoonen, Chief of Staff.  All can be contacted through the Club’s headquarters located at:  250 Station Drive, Missoula, MT  59801-2753 (tel. 406-542-1888, email

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