To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. -Theodore Roosevelt

Michigan State University


Field Technician Steven Gurney placing a trail camera as part of a study looking at impacts of harvest regulations on deer population characteristics in areas where CWD has been detected.

MSU’s Wildlife Program

Michigan State University (MSU) is the nation’s pioneer land-grant university. With roots in the northern hardwood forests, Great Lakes and agricultural ecosystems of the upper Midwest, MSU is home to one of the premier fisheries and wildlife programs in the nation. The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU includes 45 faculty, more than 200 undergraduate students, and 100 Master of Science and PhD students. Its academic programs emphasize ecology and management, and policy and leadership. Graduate students are engaged in research with government wildlife agencies, non-government conservation organizations, and private businesses worldwide. There is a strong emphasis on collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Welcome Dr. Jerry Belant as the new Boone and Crockett Professor

Jerry Belant was the first Camp Fire Professor of Wildlife Conservation and Director of the program at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He has served as a member of the Council for the International Association for Bear Research and Management and Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Small Carnivore Specialist Group. Jerry is currently Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the journal BioScience. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research interests include large carnivore and ungulate ecology, harvest management, mitigating human-wildlife conflicts, and sustainable use of wildlife.

Conservation Frontlines

Conservation Frontlines’ content is produced in collaboration with Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. We are proud to partner with a leading academic institution to ensure scientific integrity and subject relevance to our communication platforms. Dr. Belant's role as Editor-in-Chief has further developed and implemented a comprehensive program that prepares students for the many research, policy, and management challenges in wildlife conservation today.

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Policy Impact

Jon Cook’s (PhD, 2020) research on identifying areas at high risk for new CWD detection is being implemented into disease response plans in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. His novel application, which uses expert knowledge to identify risk, has been well received by scientists and managers in the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA). This approach equips state agencies with updated strategic approaches to disease monitoring and positions them for greater potential to find wildlife diseases early.

Boone and Crockett Fellow – Samantha Courtney


Samantha grew up on the shores of Lake Huron in Michigan. She developed an interest in wildlife by reading about Jane Goodall and watching programs about Steve Irwin. She moved to East Lansing to pursue a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. After graduating, she worked as a research technician for several projects working with a variety of species including elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and small mammals. For over a year she worked as a game management assistant for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department conducting pheasant and grouse surveys, banding waterfowl, assisting in bighorn sheep and sage grouse translocations, performing wildlife necropsies, and helping run the state’s chronic wasting disease surveillance program. Her master’s research focuses on studying whitetail deer behavior to gain a better understanding of factors that influence chronic wasting disease transmission. Her goal is to become a wildlife biologist for a state or federal agency that uses sound science to inform management and policy decisions of game species.





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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt