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. 


Boone and Crockett Fellow Profile
Leslie Skora

Leslie grew up in metro Detroit where she developed an interest in the outdoors and horseback riding at a young age. She received her bachelor’s degree in natural resources management from Grand Valley State University. Her interest in horses led her to Wyoming, where she worked as a pack mule guide on backcountry trips. Leslie was hired by the National Park Service in 2013 to monitor brown bear abundance at Katmai National Park in Southwest Alaska, soon realizing that there was an opportunity to use complex ecological modeling tools to better understand changes in the bear population over time. Now a wildlife biologist at Katmai, she is completing her M.S. work at MSU to answer these questions. Leslie plans to continue to work at the agency upon completion of her degree, integrating the quantitative tools she has acquired to explore new research questions.

MSU’s Boone and Crockett Professorship Program

The Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation serves as a catalyst to bridge science with policy. The professorship program reaches out to the academic community, wildlife managers, policy makers, Boone and Crockett Club members, and other stakeholders to train a new generation of scientists and leaders who will carry on the legacy of wildlife conservation. Dr. William Porter is the first Boone and Crockett Chair of Wildlife Conservation at MSU. With the assistance of the Michigan Boone and Crockett Partners, he instituted a program that focuses on game-changing issues facing wildlife conservation and emphasizes the connection between science and wildlife policy. Bill designed and teaches courses in wildlife policy and leadership, supervises graduate students and post-doctoral associates, and serves as Director of the Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center. Bill also co-chairs the Boone & Crockett University Programs committee.

Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center

The Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center (QWC) is both a physical space and a programmatic focus within the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU. The Center brings cutting-edge quantitative analysis techniques to serve state wildlife agencies as they grapple with many of the most difficult challenges of wildlife conservation. There is a strong focus on student-centered training of graduate students and advanced undergraduates as future scientists and leaders. Research emphasizes challenges to the future of wildlife conservation, from sustainable harvest and control of diseases to planning for a future given changing climates and landscape-level habitat change. Specific projects include estimating black bear abundance across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula; assessing population dynamics and disease patterns in white-tailed deer; understanding wild turkey ecology and management at a landscape-scale; and determining which land use regulations are most effective in promoting high-quality wildlife habitat.  


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.





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

-Theodore Roosevelt