To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. -Theodore Roosevelt

B&C Fellow - Levi Heffelfinger

Texas A&M University-Kingsville - Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute - Ph.D. - 2021
Resource Selection, Habitat Influences on Population Performance, and Body Size Trade-Offs of Cervids in a Nutritionally Variable Environment

During my time as a Fellow, I presented a total of 19 professional presentations; of which, 7 where I was the invited speaker. My presentations ranged from local conservation groups to scientific technical meetings demonstrating an ability to effectively communicate to an array of audiences. I also emphasize communicating science through publications. As a Boone & Crockett Fellow, I authored two book chapters, published 4 scientific manuscripts, and 8 popular articles or reports. Beyond scientific publishing I have always made it a priority to provide annual updates to all participating landowners to provide relevant information that can be incorporated into management actions. I firmly believe in a multi-tiered approach to communicating findings. Sometimes leaning against a fence pole talking with a landowner is just as important as publishing a peer-reviewed manuscript.

Being a Boone and Crockett Fellow was the primary reason I accepted my position with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. My time as a Fellow has provided opportunities and memories I will cherish forever. The connections made through the Boone & Crockett Club, coupled with scientific training and communication skills has provided me the opportunity to flourish in the wildlife management field. For that I am eternally grateful and hope I can continue to do justice for the Boone & Crockett Club moving into the future.  


Because of our research on mule deer movements and density, the state wildlife agency changed the approach they were considering to study chronic wasting disease in the Texas Panhandle.

Resource Selection, Habitat Influences on Population Performance, and Body Size Trade-Offs of Cervids in a Nutritionally Variable Environment

Human and climate induced changes on the landscape are a pressing issue for wildlife conservation, particularly as agricultural landscapes continue to change. Little is known about mule deer in the Texas Panhandle as we continue to convert native rangeland to cropland. I plan to model habitat selection relative to agriculture throughout the Panhandle using a large dataset of mule deer movement across age classes and sexes. I will assess the influence of cropland use on body size, condition, recruitment, survival, and antler growth. Moreover, changes in cropland abundance can alter the nutritional carrying capacity of the landscape. I will then use a supplementary experimental dataset to assess how changes in early life nutrition influence cervid growth and trade-offs towards reproduction. Creating baseline population measures will aid in establishing an adaptive management plan as mule deer population levels in the Panhandle continue to increase and agriculture continues to change.


Support Conservation

Support Hunting

Support Conservation

Support Education

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

-Theodore Roosevelt