MISSOULA, Mont. (March 11, 2019) – The Wild Sheep Foundation is the recipient of the Boone and Crockett Club’s prestigious Conservation and Stewardship Award for 2019. The award is given annually to the organization or entity that best exemplifies excellence in conservation, and wildlife and land stewardship – core values of the Boone and Crockett Club and its founder, Theodore Roosevelt.
“When Roosevelt formed the Club in 1887 to save our big game species from the path of destruction they were on, Club members at the time quickly realized something of great importance,” said Boone and Crockett Club President Timothy C. Brady. “They recognized that if big game population were to recover and thrive, it would take the formation of other groups dedicated to the future of individual species. The Wild Sheep Foundation is one of those groups.”
The Club’s Conservation and Stewardship Award was established in 2015. This year’s award was presented to the Wild Sheep Foundation President and CEO Gray N. Thornton, who accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation and its members at a B&C dinner this past week during the 84th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Denver, Colorado.
Also in attendance at the dinner and for the Award presentation was Acting Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt.
Thornton commented, “The Wild Sheep Foundation’s work is part of the legacy of the founders of the Boone and Crockett Club, who were largely the founders of wildlife conservation. We have always been proud to be part of that history and are deeply honored to be recognized for our part in it.”
Past Award honorees include:
2015 – The Starkey Project, Experimental Forest and Range (Ore.), U.S. Forest Service
2016 – Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute (Texas)
2017 – Bob Munson and Charlie Decker (founders), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
2018 – Wildlife Management Institute and Dr. Steve Williams (president)
Recipients are selected based on the demonstration of these criteria:
Exemplifies the core values of the Boone and Crockett Club
Demonstrates responsible and professional natural resource management
Champions fair chase hunting and habitat management that supports huntable populations of big game animals
Builds public/private conservation partnerships
“In 1977, when the Wild Sheep Foundation was formed, its estimated there were only 25,000 bighorn sheep roaming North America,” Brady explained. “Today there are more than 85,000 which is a testament to the remarkable contribution made by WSF. As history shows time and time again, it’s sportsmen who step up and do the work necessary to conserve habitat and wildlife. We can’t tell this story enough.”