Celebration of fish, wildlife

The Boone and Crockett Club’s recent 29th Big Game Awards opening reception was conducted at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium at Bass Pro Shops’ flagship store in Springfield, Missouri.

The setting for such a meeting of leading conservationist couldn’t have been more perfect.

Set to open later in 2016, Wonders of Wildlife is a celebration of fish and wildlife like no other. The vision of Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, comes alive in this incredible testament to the devotion of Bass Pro Shops to honor the conservation legacy of North America and beyond.

As you make your way through the museum and aquarium, you pass through wildlife and habitat displays from different parts of the world, including the Rocky Mountains, southern bayous, plains of Africa and Artic Tundra.

Putting into words how magnificent these displays are is beyond my ability. You’ll just have to see for yourself when Wonders of Wildlife opens to the public later this year.

Founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, the Boone and Crockett Club is the oldest wildlife conservation organization in North America.

It is a foremost proponent of “fair-chase hunting,” which the Club defines as the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big-game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.

A highlight of attending the Boone and Crockett Big Game Awards for me was hearing a young woman from Spain speak about her efforts to support fishing and hunting in her country.

As an antihunting movement began to gain steam in Spain, this woman organized a rally in that drew hundreds of thousands of sportsmen together in the streets of Madrid to stand for sporting traditions. She explained how even in Spain, America is recognized as the example of how conservation should be handled.

Our country is truly a leader on the world stage of conservation.

The Boone & Crockett Club is America’s foremost big-game hunting conservation organization. It was founded by Roosevelt. I am proud to be a life member.

Johnny Morris, John Paul Morris, Richard Childress, C.J. Buck, Rob Keck, Jerry Martin, Shane Mahoney, Craig Boddington and many leading conservationists attended the recent Big Game Awards. Boone & Crockett is leading the promotion and protection of fair-chase hunting. I’m grateful.

See you down the trail.

Brandon Butler’s outdoors column appears occasionally in The Tribune. Send comments to jmorey@tribtown.com.