Miles Moretti Memorial Fund

On September 17, 2023, former MDF President/CEO Miles Moretti passed away after a short battle with cancer. Moretti retired from MDF on March 31, 2021, after nearly 15 years at the helm and leading the organization through significant growth.

Chad Schearer the Mule Deer Foundation’s chairman of the board said, “Miles Moretti will be missed greatly. Not only was he a hero in conservation, but he was a friend and mentor to so many. Miles was always willing to lend a hand and would do anything for anyone. If he was your friend, you could always count on him, faithful to you no matter what. The impact Miles Moretti had on mule deer and other wildlife will benefit generations to come.”

“Miles was a true icon of western conservation, both prior to his tenure at MDF, and during his time leading this great organization,” said Joel Pedersen, current MDF President and CEO. “I am grateful for his countless contributions to MDF that set us up for continued success. His impact on the conservation of mule deer and western landscapes will be felt long into the future.”

The Miles Moretti Memorial Fund was created to honor his lifelong commitment to conservation and the Mule Deer Foundation. All donated funds are dedicated to habitat mission delivery.

Miles Moretti Obituary

Miles O. Moretti, age 70, passed away on September 17, 2023, surrounded by his loving family in St. George, Utah, following his brief but courageous battle with cancer.

Miles was born on May 10, 1953, in Evanston, Wyoming, the sixth of seven children to Oliver Moretti and Phyllis Syme. He graduated in the class of 1971 from Mountain View High School in Mountain View, Wyoming. Miles married the love of his life, Julie Ann Wilson, on May 26, 1973, and they welcomed their twin daughters—Ashley and Erin—in 1981.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from Utah State University in 1976 and a Master of Science Degree in Range and Wildlife Services from Brigham Young University in 1979, Miles began a long and highly successful career in wildlife conservation. He joined the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in May of 1978 and served as a field wildlife biologist through December 1991 when he was promoted to regional supervisor. He rose to become the agency’s deputy director in December 2000. He retired from state government in October 2006 after nearly 30 years and immediately took the helm of the Mule Deer Foundation as their president and chief executive officer.

In his more than 14 years with MDF, Miles led the organization through significant growth helping to build the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo (WHCE) as one of the premier outdoor events in the West and serving in national leadership positions within the hunting conservation community. He was a Life Member of MDF, a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club, and a board member of the National Deer Alliance and the CWD Alliance. Miles was selected to serve on the Wildlife Hunting Heritage Council and the Hunting & Shooting Sports Conservation Council—federal advisory councils appointed by the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture. He was a longtime board member of the Intermountain West Joint Venture, serving a term as their Chairman of the Board. In perhaps one of his greatest legacies, Miles was instrumental in the development and implementation of a Department of the Interior Secretary’s Order on big game migration corridors, hosting thenSecretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke at the WHCE to sign the order in 2018. In February, Miles was one of the featured speakers at the WHCE during the five-year celebration of the success of S.O. 3362.

Outside of his professional career, Miles was a devoted husband and father and loved nothing more than spending time with his family. During his time as a field biologist, he regularly took his daughters with him teaching them a love for the outdoors and passing on a strong work ethic. When facing any challenge, he told his daughters to “cowboy up” and emphasized that if they were going to do something, they better do it right. In retirement, Miles and Julie moved to St. George where they loved spending time daily on the pickleball court and going on hiking adventures. They were active grandparents helping at cheer events, attending plays, going to amusement parks, and supporting their daughters as new grandchildren joined the family.

Miles did something most people never dare to do—living his dream and working for his passions of fishing, hunting, and conservation. He worked every day doing what he loved.