Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™


It seems like only yesterday we were in Louisville, Kentucky, for our Annual Meeting. One of our goals for it was to increase the overall attendance of members at the meeting and that was accomplished thanks to our Professional Members, where we had a 25% increase in attendance. The Club is member driven and staff run. It is critical for members to participate so the Club continues to accomplish its mission.

This great organization only functions well when we all function well—all in leadership, members, volunteers, donors, partners, and staff. As we complete another year of hard work, I would like to recognize all of the officers, executive vice presidents, vice presidents, committee chairs, vice chairs, and everyone else who works hard to help to move the Club and its mission forward. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment.

It is important, from time to time, for organizations to reaffirm the priorities of their membership. This past fall, we surveyed the membership and you stated your priorities are conservation policy, records, and hunting ethics. Priorities of organizations are reflected in their Strategic Plan and their budgets.

The Club’s Strategic Plan was developed by interviewing over 100 regular and professional members, sponsors, current and potential donors, other conservation organizations, and government agencies. We also conducted a needs analysis of conservation and hunting and held strategic planning meetings and strategic planning sessions. The feedback from this intensive work was used to craft it.

Like the past Strategic Plan, the next one will have the same four major strategic goals, which are: 1) Improve the system of conservation throughout North America; 2) Create a climate where conservation and hunting can thrive; 3) Maintain and strengthen the Club’s world-class records system, and; 4) Increase organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Like any organization, we must change to meet new challenges that affect our mission and to increase organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.” While I recognize that change is not easy for a 136-year-old organization, we must evaluate each area of the club to determine if change is warranted and how we can do so to continue to better achieve our mission and the priorities of our membership.

In addition to the priorities of the Club’s members, the next Strategic Plan should also be based on: 1) the needs of the Club as well as conservation and hunting, and 2) the capacity (i.e., volunteers, staff, financial, etc.) of the Club to address these needs over the next five years. If and where we lack capacity, that too will need to be addressed. Many of you have stated this next Plan should be much streamlined over past ones.

The Plan is about directing the Club to continue being relevant. We don’t need to do what everybody else is doing. We need to focus on what they are not doing or are not good at, but most important, what is needed, AND what we can implement effectively and efficiently. The result - advancing a better system of conservation and hunting for future generations. I look forward to working with Mary Webster, Jayar Daily, and the entire membership to develop this next Plan.

Each of us joined the Boone and Crockett Club because we want to do more for conservation and hunting. We all do that by trying to work hard, work smart, and work in partnership with other organizations with similar interests, such as the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and the other members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners.

I want to better utilize the relationships and connections of our members to advance our policy efforts; that is working. Where we lack members in states that have influencers, let’s try and recruit new members from these states to join the Club. But there are more ares than just policy where we need help and recruiting members with such skillsets is critical to our success. I am also very interested in making sure the history and accomplishments of the Club are “etched in stone” for the next generation of conservationists. During this next year, I want to restart the thought leadership group that was the brainchild of past-president Morrie Stevens. All too often, we in the conservation and hunting space are thinking about next week and maybe next year, but who is thinking about 30 years from now? That is the Club’s space and a current vacuum in the conservation and hunting community.

It is truly humbling to be the president of the Boone and Crockett family. And while the Club’s past leadership and staff have left the Club is in its best financial shape ever, I hope we can take it to the next level and maintain our fiscal responsibilities while doing more for conservation and hunting than ever before. Once again, thank you for your trust and confidence in me to serve in this position. I truly am looking forward to working with each and every one of you in trying to take the Club to the next level during 2024.

I hope everyone is having a great winter and I look forward to seeing you all in Grand Rapids, Michigan for our Mid-Year Meeting, if not before.

James L. Cummins

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

-Theodore Roosevelt