Salt Lake City, Utah: The Mule Deer Foundation’s (MDF) hard-working chapters and volunteers were honored at a breakfast on February 15 during the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo. The MDF Volunteer Recognition Event is intended to spotlight the chapters that have helped raise the most funds for the organization’s conservation efforts and have dedicated the most hours to on the ground habitat work. In addition, MDF honors the one volunteer who has dedicated significant time and resources for mule deer conservation with the Maggie Justice Award that this year went to Ryan Krapp from Bismarck, North Dakota.
“Volunteers are the absolute lifeblood of the Mule Deer Foundation and recognizing their time and effort is one of the most important things that we do at the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo,” commented MDF President Miles Moretti. “The individual MDF chapters spend thousands of hours on the ground and organizing banquets to raise funds for our conservation work. We could not be as effective of an organization as we are without our volunteers.”
The new MDF chapters in Midland and Odessa, Texas swept the New Chapter Award categories for Highest Efficiency and Highest Net. The Salt Lake Valley Chapter took First Place for Highest Efficiency with the North Lake Chapter in Christmas Valley, Ore. as Runner-Up. The Great Basin Chapter in Elko, Nev. won top honors for Highest Net for an existing chapter with the Salt Lake Valley Chapter coming in as Runner-Up. The Co Co County Chapter in Contra Costa, Calif. received the award for the Most Improved Chapter. Ten MDF chapters were honored for their “sweat equity” of up to 100 hours of on the ground conservation work, six chapters had 100-249 hours of sweat equity, and five reported more than 250 hours. The Utah County Chapter in Provo, Utah topped the list with 580 volunteer conservation hours followed closely by the Plumas County Chapter in Quincy, Calif. that tallied 573 hours. When combined, all of the chapters gave 3,400 hours of their time to help mule deer and their habitat.
“We have had so much enthusiasm and hard work from all of the MDF chapters this year,” said Marty Holmes, director of field operations for MDF. “I’m proud of the great things that they have done for mule deer and I’m glad we are able to recognize those efforts during our convention.”
One particular volunteer was singled out for his efforts going above and beyond for mule deer conservation. Ryan Krapp, North Dakota State Chair, received the Maggie Justice Award for his leadership and the many hours he dedicates to MDF. He has been active in working with private landowners to improve their mule deer habitat and public access through the North Dakota PLOTS (Private Land Open to Sportsmen) program. In addition, Krapp is a liaison with the oil and gas industry working to put together a study in Western North Dakota on the impacts of oil development on mule deer. He also chairs MDF’s national volunteer leadership team.
“Ryan is a rock star! North Dakota, the Mule Deer Foundation and I are so lucky to have a person like him in our ranks. Ryan has those innate skills of leadership and the ability to bring others together to accomplish our mission,” said MDF regional director, Marshall Johnson. “His role as the state chair is probably the most demanding, as North Dakota’s mule deer habitat is at severe risk due to the Bakken Oil Play. Ryan has been able to leverage his relationships with other conservation groups, the ND Game & Fish Department and the oil industry to come together for habitat and recently led a habitat project with all groups participating. That’s something special.”
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 at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.