WSF Recognizes Excellence in Wild Sheep Conservation 2023
“2022 was quite a year for wild sheep conservation efforts and the opportunity to get back into the sheep mountains,” said Gray N. Thornton, president, and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation. “It's our tradition and honor to recognize several individuals that have selflessly given so much to wild sheep conservation and hunting and give them the recognition they deserve.”
Several award recipients were announced and recognized on stage throughout three evening banquets. The 2023 WSF Awards and recipients include:
– Gordon Eastman Grass Roots Award – Outstanding volunteer; Brain Solan (MTWSF)
– Wild Sheep Biologist Wall of Fame; Mike Cox, Nevada Department of Wildlife
– Outstanding Conservationist – Outstanding contributions to wild sheep throughout North America and around the globe; Eric Rominger (New Mexico), New Mexico Game & Fish Department
– State Statesman Award– Outstanding contributions from a government official; Tony Wasley (Nevada) Director, Nevada Department of Wildlife
– Jack O’Connor Writers Award; Mike McTee (Montana)
– Townsend Youth Conservation Award – Autumn Richmond (Utah)
– Outstanding Achievement to Conservation Award – Jim & Leann Craig (Indiana)
– Artemis Award – Outstanding Women Conservationist; Madeline Demaske (Colorado)
– Mountain Hunter Hall of Fame Award – Icons in sheep hunting; Ron Roderick (CO) & Ron Carey (AB)
WSF also recognized the 2022 International Council for Game & Wildlife Conservation (CIC) 2022 Markhor Awards winners, Jose Antonio Vallina of Rancho La Guarida, Emilio Rangel of Rancho La Palmosa, and Javier Artee of Rancho Sierra El Alamo. The prestigious Markhor Award, which recognizes excellence in sustainable use, was announced at the Convention on Biodiversity CoP15 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada this past December.
The award winners are all members and leaders of WSF’s Mexico Counsel, which was established in 2017 to promote cooperation amongst landowners and outfitters. The aim of the Counsel was to promote the enhancement, conservation, and repatriation of desert bighorn sheep using market forces and sustainable use (including hunting) as a guiding principle. The Repatriating Desert Bighorn Sheep Project, which these landowners helped spearhead brought back desert bighorn sheep populations from zero to 1,500 across three Mexican states.
WSF also gave two prestigious awards representing the hard work and dedication in the fields of guiding and outfitting:
– G.C. F Dalziel Outstanding Guide; Nate Olson - Northcurl Outfitters (Yukon Territory)
– Frank Golata Outstanding Outfitter; Paul Chervenak - Kodiak Outdoor Adventures - (Alaska)
WSF’s partner, the Conklin Foundation, presented its prestigious Conklin Award to Dr. Brad Black of Alliance, Ohio. The Conklin Award recognizes the world’s greatest active hunter who pursues game in the most difficult terrain and conditions while abiding by the highest standards of ethics and fair chase and is a strong participant in wildlife conservation.