In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies® (WAFWA), the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) sponsored a dinner for western state fish and wildlife agency directors and commissioners at the WAFWA summer meeting last week in Oklahoma City. MDF has sponsored the director’s dinner for over a decade to show appreciation for its state and federal agency partners working in mule deer country. In addition, MDF is a proud partner with WAFWA through the Mule Deer Working Group and the newly formed Wildlife Migrations and Movement Working Group.
“The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is a critical partner for MDF in coordinating efforts for landscape-level mule deer conservation work, and we were proud to join them as they celebrated their 100th anniversary,” said MDF President/CEO Joel Pedersen. “We greatly appreciate the hard work that new executive director Zach Lowe and current president Jenifer Psyllakis (Director, British Columbia – Wildlife and Habitat at Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development) have done to improve WAFWA’s business functions. These efforts will result in even greater effectiveness moving into WAFWA’s second century of work.”
During the Directors and Commissioners Dinner, MDF highlighted the work that the organization has led for on-the-ground conservation efforts and regional coordination on mule deer. MDF hosted its first Mule Deer Summit in February 2022 and Black-Tailed Deer Summit in June 2022 to prioritize actions that will make the greatest difference for deer conservation. In addition, MDF shared its overview of the 200 projects implemented in 2020 and 2021 that resulted in 264,685 acres being enhanced through wildlife research, habitat conservation and restoration, water improvements, and more.
Pedersen and director of conservation Steve Belinda who both attended the meeting also emphasized MDF’s continued commitment for conservation and restoration of big game migration and seasonal habitat through implementation of Secretary’s Order 3362.
“There continues to be significant opportunities to work together with our state and federal partners to implement the right work, in the right place, at the right scale to make a huge difference for mule deer and black-tailed deer,” Pedersen concluded. “We pledge to work with WAFWA and our western agency partners to expand and coordinate these efforts to make the biggest impact on the ground.”
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.