The government is us; we are the government, you and I. -Theodore Roosevelt

B&C Conservation Heroes

Politicians, Industrialists, Businessmen, Writers, Artists, Explorers, Scientists, Doctors, and Others Band Together to Support Hunting and Wildlife

The Boone and Crockett Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt. His vision was to establish a coalition of dedicated conservationists and sportsmen who would provide the leadership to address issues affecting hunting, wildlife, and habitat.

Club members have come from a cross-section of famous, accomplished people whose lives and careers have written and recorded the history of this country since the late 19th century—and continue to do so today. They have been naturalists, scientists, explorers and sportsmen, writers and academicians, artists, statesmen and politicians, generals, bankers, financiers, philanthropists, and industrialists. Their diversity of ideas and activities during their careers have made the Boone and Crockett Club rich in its fellowship and achievements. Each member was an activist—a doer of deeds, undertaking major challenges in their careers, many of which contributed or translated directly into the Club’s record of achievement. The contributions of others were more tangential. But each brought with their membership a portion of their time, talent, and/or treasure to the Club.

Boone and Crockett Club's Conservation Heroes


Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt did more for the conservation of our natural resources and the preservation of sport hunting than any other person in the history of our nation. He showed a keen interest in nature with his first publication in 1877—at the age of 20—on summer birds in Franklin County, New York. His experiences in the mid-1880s in the South Dakota badlands gave him a firsthand view of the problems associated with westward expansion, unregulated hunting, and the effects of market hunting. In 1887, he and his closest friends founded the Boone and Crockett Club – the nation’s oldest conservation organization. He was the Club’s first president and an active member until his death in 1919. Under his direction as Club president and president of the United States, numerous laws and legislative actions protecting wildlife and natural resources were enacted. The creation of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Park Service, which are among his most notable achievements, paved the way to ultimately setting aside tens of millions of acres for the benefit of wildlife, our nation, and future generations. Theodore Roosevelt was the right person at the right time. 

Posing for a New York photographer in 1884, Roosevelt was wearing his tailor-made buckskin shirt, one of his fancy Colt six-shooters, a hand-tooled holster, a cartridge belt loaded with ammunition, deluxe chaps, and a set of custom-made spurs.


George Bird Grinnell

Together with Theodore Roosevelt, George Bird Grinnell was one of the founding members of the Boone and Crockett Club. He served as its president from 1918 to 1927. Grinnell developed a great interest in the Plains Indians and was considered the leading authority on the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Pawnee Nations. He was editor-in-chief of Forest and Stream magazine, the leading outdoor magazine of its time. Grinnell is also responsible for founding the society that would later become known as the Audubon Society, and he was an integral factor in the establishment, in 1910, of Glacier National Park. Grinnell is considered one of the preeminent conservationists in the history of the movement.

Grinnell and his wife Elizabeth hiking Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park in September 1923.


“Far away in Montana, hidden from view by clustering mountain-peaks, lies an unmapped northwestern corner—the Crown of the Continent.”


John F. Lacey

Major John Lacey served with distinction for the Union during the Civil War. As a U.S. Congressman from Iowa from 1889 until 1907, Lacey proved himself an ardent conservationist. When Yellowstone Park was established in 1872, there were no rules defining what a national park should be. The Lacey Act of 1894 (also called the Yellowstone Park Protection Act) not only provided legal definitions for what a national park should be—definitions that had not previously existed—but also became the benchmark doctrine for laws and policies when the National Park Service was established in 1916. But it was the Lacey Act of 1900 (also called the Game and Wild Bird Disposition Act) that became the cornerstone of all federal and state fish and game laws. Prohibiting the interstate shipment of illegally taken game, the Lacey Act put an end to market hunting and led the way for the recovery of wild game in North America.

Portrait of Major John F. Lacey taken in 1903.

Dr. Hornaday with Bison

William T. Hornaday

Hornaday became one of the Nation’s most eloquent leaders in the protection of wildlife. He was the chief taxidermist of the U.S. National Museum in Washington, D.C. Later, as director of the New York Zoological Society, he supervised the building and administration of the Bronx Zoo and created the National Collection of Heads and Horns with fellow member Madison Grant. He wrote hundreds of articles and over 20 books in the field of conservation. He was a leading influence in the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the 1911 Fur Seal Treaty. But his greatest victory was probably his successful fight to preserve the American bison.

Hornaday helped the Bronx Zoo acquire bison from private herds later used to reintroduce the animals back into the wild. In 1907, the first-ever animal reintroduction in North American commenced when 15 bison were shipped to Oklahoma. In 1910, the nucleus herd was shipped to the National Bison Range in Montana.



Madison Grant

Grant cofounded the Save-the-Redwoods League with fellow Club members Frederick Russell Burnham, John C. Merriam, and Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1918. He is also credited with helping develop the first deer hunting laws in New York state, legislation which spread to other states as well over time. Grant helped found the Bronx Zoo and create the National Collection of Heads and Horns with fellow member William T. Hornaday. He was head of the New York Zoological Society from 1925 until his death. As an organizer of the American Bison Society, he helped save the American bison from extinction. Grant also had a species of caribou named after him—Rangifer tarandus granti.


J.N. "Ding" Darling

Ding Darling was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist. Working with Aldo Leopold and Tom Beck, Darling spearheaded the restoration of waterfowl habitat and created the federal duck stamp, the first of which he sketched, to fund conservation efforts. Though his cartoons mocked Franklin Roosevelt’s liberal agenda, Darling served FDR as the head of the Bureau of Biological Survey, a precursor to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. There, he mobilized wildlife law enforcement against market hunters. Darling was also instrumental in saving the Florida Key Deer from extinction (see cartoon at right). The Boone and Crockett Club bestowed him with an Honorary Life Membership in 1959.

Darling purchasing the first Federal Duck Stamp.


Gifford Pinchot

Gifford Pinchot was the first professional American forester and served as the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. He was an early crusader for the conservation of the nation’s publicly held natural resources. He worked closely with President Theodore Roosevelt to engage state governors and the leaders of both Canada and Mexico in long-range planning to conserve the continent’s resources. Pinchot also served as Governor of Pennsylvania for two terms: 1923-27 and 1931-35.

Roosevelt and Pinchot, on the steamer Mississippi, 1907.



  “Conservation means the wise use of the earth and its resources for the lasting good of men.”


Charles Sheldon

Blessed with uncommonly good judgment, a predilection for hard work, and an engaging personality, Sheldon promoted his conservation ethic all across the continent. After a brief career in the railroad industry, Sheldon invested in a silver and lead mine in Mexico, retired in his mid-30s, and devoted the rest of his life to hunting and conservation. He was the first person to accurately describe the characteristics separating the Dall’s, Fannin, and Stone’s sheep. Sheldon devoted ten years of his life campaigning for the creation of Denali National Park. President Woodrow Wilson gave Sheldon the pen he used to sign the act creating the park. Sheldon also recommended the present borders for the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The Boone and Crockett Club memorialized this ardent conservationist by establishing the Charles Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Nevada.

Charles Sheldon feeds a gray jay near his cabin in Alaska.


Aldo Leopold

A renowned scientist and scholar, exceptional teacher and philosopher, Leopold is considered conservation’s most influential advocate and the founder of wildlife ecology. His book A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949, is acclaimed as this century’s literary landmark in conservation. Born in Iowa, he earned a degree in forestry at Yale and then joined the U.S. Forest Service, serving in the Arizona Territories. Another of Leopold’s books, Game Management, defined the fundamental skills and techniques for managing and restoring wildlife populations. He was a Professional Member of the Boone and Crockett Club.

Leopold was an avid sportsman, shown here near Chihuahua, Mexico, in a 1938 photograph taken by his son, Starker, who later became a B&C member.


“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.


William I. Spencer

William I. Spencer was the Club’s 18th President and the fifth winner of the Sagamore Hill Award, the highest honor given by the Club. Spencer was born on a ranch in Western Colorado, became a banker, and completed his career as President of Citicorp and Citibank. Spencer is noted for his vision and determination to revitalize the Boone and Crockett Club in the 1980s. He spearheaded the Club’s efforts to recapture its legacy of conservation leadership in America with purchase of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch, and helped establish the Club’s first endowed professorship in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana.

Spencer received the Sagamore Hill Award at a ceremony held high on a hill overlooking the rugged mountains near the Club’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch on the East Front of the Rocky Mountains north of Choteau, Montana. 


Jack Ward Thomas

A wildlife research biologist who focused on conservation during a career that spanned more than thirty years, Jack Ward Thomas specialized in wild turkeys, elk, and deer before he became embroiled in controversial political issues in the Pacific Northwest. During the 1980s and early 1990s, his work conserving old growth ecosystems and spotted owl habitat culminated in the "spotted owl wars" and related controversies. President Bill Clinton appointed Thomas to lead the development of the Northwest Forest Plan and later persuaded him to take charge of the U.S. Forest Service. In spite of opposition from environmental groups, the timber industry, and old-guard agency personnel, Thomas was appointed the Forest Service's thirteenth chief in 1993.

When Thomas retired in December 1996, he accepted a position at the University of Montana as B&C’s Professor of Wildlife Conservation, where taught graduate students in natural resources policy. He retired from that position after ten years but remained active in conservation issues.

Jack Ward Thomas as Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

Since the beginning, the Club has restricted its regular membership to 100 individuals. Throughout time, additional categories have been added including professional, honorary life, and emeritus members. In 1986, the Club also developed an Associates Program to give individuals who support our mission an opportunity to be a part of the Club. 

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt