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Boone and Crockett Club Presents Mule Deer Foundation with Conservation Stewardship Award

Mule Deer Foundation leaders receiving the Boone and Crockett Club’s 2022 Conservation and Stewardship Award (left to right: Emmett Burroughs, MDF Founder; Joel Pedersen, Current MDF President/CEO; Steve Belinda, MDF Director of Conservation; Miles Moretti, retired MDF President/CEO; Jim Arnold, B&C President; Tom Price, B&C Member).​​​​​​​


MISSOULA, Mont. – Last night, the Boone and Crockett Club presented the Mule Deer Foundation with its Conservation Stewardship Award. The prestigious award is given annually to the organization or entity that best exemplifies excellence in natural resource conservation and stewardship—core values of the Boone and Crockett Club and its founder, Theodore Roosevelt. Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO Joel Pedersen, Founder Emmett Burroughs, retired President/CEO Miles Moretti, and Director of Conservation Steve Belinda accepted the award during the Club’s annual dinner on March 16 at the 87th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Spokane, Washington. 

Mule Deer Foundation founder, Emmett Burroughs, addresses the audience after receiving the Boone and Crockett Club's 2022 Conservation Stewardship Award.

“Over more than 30 years, the Mule Deer Foundation has been a leader on habitat restoration on forests and rangelands across the West,” commented James F. Arnold, President of the Boone and Crockett Club.  “We are proud to present them with our Conservation and Stewardship Award to recognize them for all the work they do to sustain mule deer populations, as well as to support our hunting and conservation legacy.” 

The Mule Deer Foundation was founded in 1988 by Emmett Burroughs and has worked for more than 30 years to fulfill its mission of “Ensuring the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer, and their habitat.” The organization signed a formal memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in 1989 to help with habitat restoration work on federal lands. This MOU moved into formal stewardship agreements to undertake larger forest management projects, and from 2013 to 2020, more than 20 stewardship projects were completed to improve forest health while increasing forage for deer. During this time, the organization also began to work on sagebrush rangeland restoration to improve mule deer winter range habitat that often overlaps with other at-risk sagebrush dependent species like the greater sage-grouse. In February 2018, during MDF’s annual convention at the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3362 on improving big game corridors and winter ranges in the West. MDF took a leadership role on this effort through their Migration Corridors and Winter Range Initiative. The organization’s on-the-ground habitat restoration and conservation projects have increased substantially over the last five years. In 2020 and 2021, MDF invested $9.9 million that was matched 3.6 to 1 for a total of $45.7 million invested. The organization implemented 200 conservation projects that improved almost 265,000 acres and removed or converted 115 miles of fencing to wildlife-friendly designs.

“On behalf of the staff and members of the Mule Deer Foundation, I sincerely thank the Boone and Crockett Club for recognizing our work by honoring us with the Conservation and Stewardship Award,” said MDF President/CEO Joel Pedersen. “The habitat conservation and restoration projects that we lead are critical to supporting mule deer and black-tailed deer on their seasonal ranges and migration corridors.”

The Boone and Crockett Club’s Conservation and Stewardship Award is presented to the individual or organization that best exemplifies the core values of the Boone and Crockett Club and its founder, Theodore Roosevelt: Conservation – acts of guarding, protecting, developing, and using natural resources wisely and sustainably; and Stewardship – planning for and managing natural resources responsibly.

More About the Boone and Crockett Club

Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Click here to learn more about the Boone and Crockett Club.