Delta Waterfowl and SCI Foundation Partner to Benefit Conservation

It’s been a decade since I heard Johnny Morris make a statement I’ll never forget. It was at a national deer symposium being held at Big Cedar Lodge, a Bass Pro Shops property in the Ozarks. This occurred before Bass Pro bought Cabela’s. As Johnny took the stage to deliver an address to the entire crowd, giant Cabela’s logos appeared on screens bookending the stage. So he owner of Bass Pro Shops begins delivering a speech from a stage on his property, with his largest competitor’s logos looming over him. He just smiled and said, “That’s ok. When it comes to conservation, there’s no such thing as competition. We’re all in the same boat.”

During my time leading the Conservation Federation of Missouri, I learned collaboration is the key to conservation. When positive change happens, big or small, it’s because many organizations and individuals worked together. There are more conservation organizations, government agencies, foundations, and corporations committed to conservation than anyone of us can name. Finding ways for those entities to partner in mutually beneficial ways which deliver improvements to our lands and waters is the goal. If you want your organization to be successful, you must have great partnerships. 

As an example, two leading conservation organizations, Safari Club International (SCI) Foundation and Sables and Delta Waterfowl have just formed an alliance. SCI Foundation has become a Champion of Delta corporate sponsor and made a $50,000 donation as a supporting partner of Delta’s University Hunting Program. The donation was presented at the Safari Club International Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We are excited to be a supporting partner of Delta Waterfowl’s University Hunting Program,” said Brook Minx, president of the SCI Foundation. “The program is in line with our SCIF Education Department, which is committed to helping fulfill the SCIF mission by providing education programs that teach about conservation, wildlife management, outdoor recreation, and the integral role hunters and hunting play in conservation and wildlife management.”

Conservation organizations are leading the way in developing the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts. Delta Waterfowl introduces university students pursuing wildlife management degrees to waterfowl hunting through their University Hunting Program. This is a great approach to hunting recruitment because college students are at a point in their life when trying new things is at the forefront. If no one offers the chance to learn about hunting, fishing, or shooting, then the likelihood of a student seeking it out on their own is slim. Even if they are pursuing a degree in wildlife. This program provides an opportunity to give hunting a try. 

Delta reported a statistic claiming as many as 70 percent of today’s college students studying to become tomorrow’s wildlife management professionals have no experience or personal connection to hunting. The comprehensive Delta’s program begins with hunter safety training. Then students are taught shooting skills, before going on a mentored hunt. Upon success hunting, students are taught wild game preparation. They then enjoy the best part, a post-hunt meal. 

“Our University Hunting Program is an important brick in our HunteR3 pillar, working to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters,” said Joel Brice, Delta’s chief conservation officer. “The program fills an essential curriculum gap at many of these universities, and through a first-time, hands-on experience hunting waterfowl, we can demonstrate the critical role hunting plays in conservation to those who will one day manage these resources. The UHP goal is to make these students waterfowl hunters as well as informed decision-makers in their careers as wildlife managers.”

During the 2023-2024 waterfowl season, the program reached students at more than 100 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Delta’s goal is to continue growing the program until it reaches nearly all 500 North American colleges and universities with wildlife-sciences programs. 

“We are extremely grateful for the support of SCI Foundation,” said John Davis, Delta’s senior vice president of development. “This gift signifies a shared belief that hunting plays a critically important role in our North American Model of Wildlife Management and considerably increases our ability to reach young wildlife professionals with an inspiring experience afield. Delta extends its deepest appreciation for the SCI Foundation’s support and commitment.”

For more information on Delta’s University Hunting Program, contact Joel Brice, chief conservation officer, at jbrice@deltawaterfowl.org.

See you down the trail….

Brandon Butler
bbutler@driftwoodoutdoors.com

Pic: Delta Waterfowl’s University Hunting Program aims to reach 500 colleges and universities. 
For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast HERE or anywhere podcasts are streamed. 

Recommended

Niagara River Fishing Adventure Below the Falls

Youth Turkey Hunters Set the Pace for a Successful Season