Joel Pedersen – President & CEO

Joel has provided leadership as the President and CEO of the Mule Deer Foundation since March 2021.  Since taking over this role, Joel has established a vision for MDF to be the leader in on-the-ground conservation of mule deer and black-tailed deer.  Among all the roles of the CEO, Joel sees his most important role as creating the space for the highly talented MDF team to excel together.  Joel’s passion for conservation started by spending time in the field fishing and chasing pheasants with his Dad and grandparents from a very young age. 

Joel is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® and has 30 years’ experience in the wildlife profession.  He earned his Master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and B.S. degree from University of Nebraska – Kearney.  Joel is a Fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute.  Joel’s career has provided a variety of experiences spanning government agencies, non-profit management, conservation delivery and technical guidance and government affairs.  Joel was appointed to, and currently serves on, the Wildlife and Hunting Conservation Council – a Federal Advisory committee that makes recommendations to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior. 

Joel lives in Hooper, Utah and has 2 grown children following their own dreams, which sometimes include time spent outdoors with Dad. When not guiding the efforts of the MDF team, he enjoys time in the mountains, hiking, camping, hunting and fly-fishing.  He is also working to hone his bowhunting and home-improvement skills.   



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