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Wildlife for the 21st Century: Volume VI

July 15, 2020

Conservation Recommendations Finalized for Next White House Administration and Next Two Congresses

Fifty of the nation’s leading hunting conservation organizations recently released their policy recommendations for the next White House administration and the next two Congresses. Wildlife for the 21st Century: Volume VI was developed by the groups that participate in the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) to provide specific actions that could be taken to improve wildlife conservation and management. But who are the American Wildlife Conservation Partners, and why do their recommendations matter? And how did the Boone and Crockett form this coalition of partners that are now charting the course for the future of hunting and wildlife conservation?

The Roots of Partnership

Hunting and recreational shooting has been driving wildlife management since the beginning of the fish and wildlife conservation movement over a century ago. Since 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club has been a leader in encouraging the implementation of policies that support the conservation of wildlife and their habitat. The Club has worked closely with other hunting conservation organizations and with elected officials to develop the laws, policies, and values that are now known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. However, in spite of great successes in restoration of wildlife over the past 100 years, the changing structure of society makes it necessary for wildlife managers and hunter conservationists to work together more effectively to build on successes achieved in the past. 

As the new millennium began, the Boone and Crockett Club recognized that these challenges were increasing and that if the various hunting and wildlife conservation organizations worked together, they could help promote conservation policies that built on this tradition. To kickstart that process, the Club hosted representatives of 35 wildlife organizations representing 4.5 million hunter-conservationists at a facilitated meeting at the Club’s headquarters in Missoula, Montana, in August 2000. This was a gathering of wildlife leaders intended to unify their collective strength and apply it to common challenges and opportunities to protect wildlife, habitat, hunting, and the way of life they represent. The goal from the meeting was to identify key wildlife issues, build unity and develop a vision for wildlife conservation in the 21st century and beyond. 

As one of the participants, Rollin Sparrowe, a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club and then president of the Wildlife Management Institute, wrote in Fair Chase shortly after the summit: “Formation of the Forest Reserves and their evolution into the National Forests, development of treaties to conserve migratory birds, passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act and other movements came to fruition because people of like-minds, with specific objectives, worked together. This history shows that unified efforts do produce gains for conservation of wildlife and their habitats.”

From this meeting came the start of what is now known as the American Wildlife Conservation Partners. Over the next two decades, the groups have continued to meet at least twice a year to discuss action items to improve conservation policy. Those policy recommendations have developed into five previous editions of Wildlife for the 21st Century as well as many letters to policymakers on key issues being debated at the national level. Today, AWCP is made up of 50 organizations that represent the interests of America’s millions of dedicated hunter- conservationists, professional wildlife and natural resource managers, outdoor recreation users, conservation educators and wildlife scientists. 

Recommendations for the Future

Wildlife for the 21st Century: Volume VI is the culmination of more than a year of work by AWCP and represents a general agreement of the partners on conservation issues. It provides a roadmap for decision makers to lead policy changes that will make a meaningful difference for wildlife and habitat management.  It also provides the partners a touchstone for the issues that they can collaborate on for the next four years.

“Since the Boone and Crockett Club convened the representatives of the top hunting conservation organizations two decades ago, the American Wildlife Conservation Partners has presented their recommendations for every presidential election since 2000,” notes Tim Brady, president of the Boone and Crockett Club. “The sixth edition of Wildlife for the 21st Century presents achievable actions on the top policy priorities identified by the AWCP consortium.”

The 10 recommendations made by the AWCP in the new report focus on conservation funding, access and management of federal lands, big game migration corridors, integrating wildlife goals into energy planning, private land and species conservation, wildlife disease management, and habitat conservation in a changing climate. All of the recommendations encourage collaboration and cooperation between federal agencies, state fish and wildlife agencies, and private landowners.  

“State and federal agencies must work cooperatively to meet the needs of our wildlife and our communities – this is not a nicety, it’s a necessity,” wrote 2020 AWCP chair, Blake Henning, of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and 2019 AWCP chair, Jennifer Mock Schaeffer, of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, in their joint introduction to the report.  

Each recommendation also includes detailed descriptions of the issues, action items to address the issues, and whether the issue should be addressed by Congress or a specific agency within the administration. Adoption of the recommendations will improve federal agencies’ stewardship of our nation’s fish, wildlife, and habitats and enhance access to federal lands and waters for outdoor and wildlife-associated recreation, which contribute significantly to the quality of life and economic well-being of current and future generations.

This August, the American Wildlife Conservation Partners will celebrate their 20th Anniversary, and meet via video conference to talk about continuing to carry forward their leadership on conservation policy issues. Together the Club and AWCP groups will carry these policy priorities to members of Congress and the next administration over the next four years to ensure the future of our wildlife and hunting heritage.

For more information about the American Wildlife Conservation Partners visit their web site at www.americanwildlifeconservation.org.


Recommendation 1: Secure permanent and dedicated conservation funding from public and private sources.

Recommendation 2: Enhance access for hunters and outdoor recreationists.             

Recommendation 3: Require collaboration on big game migration corridors and habitats.

Recommendation 4: Integrate industry, state, and federal wildlife goals early in energy planning. 

Recommendation 5: Incentivize private landowners to conserve wildlife and habitat and provide access for hunting.

Recommendation 6: Increase active management of federal land habitats and reduce litigation through collaboration. 

Recommendation 7: Achieve greater results from an improved ESA program.

Recommendation 8: Support and assist states in addressing Chronic Wasting Disease and wild sheep pneumonia.

Recommendation 9: Focus climate policy on habitat conservation and restoration.

Recommendation 10: Require collaboration for wildlife conservation, hunting, and recreational shooting on federal lands.


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

-Theodore Roosevelt