Educational assistance available to college students pursuing degree
programs which will prepare them for careers in natural resource conservation
Wild Turkey Federation The National Wild Turkey Federation is a national nonprofit conservation and hunting organization that, along with its volunteers, partners and sponsors, has worked for the conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of the hunting tradition. When the NWTF was established in 1973, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, and hunting seasons have been established in 49 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico.
1945 – 1995
Sam Beasom was born on July 24, 1945 in San Antonio, Texas. In the fall of 1963, he stepped off the train in Alpine, Texas to attend college. Sam once said that as the train pulled away, revealing the small west Texas town, he seriously wondered if he was doing the right thing. After a short stint at Sul Ross State University, Sam transferred to Texas A&M University – College Station and completed a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management in 1967. He then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1967-1968) and completed a master’s degree studying Rio Grande turkeys on the King Ranch in south Texas. The 12 months in Wisconsin convinced Sam that Bergman’s Rule was indeed valid and that he lacked the body mass surface area ratio required for that climate. The rest of his career was spent in the Southwest. After serving in the U.S. Army, stationed at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Sam returned to Texas A&M University – College Station and completed a Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology in 1973. His dissertation explored the effects of intensive, short-term predator removal on the game populations of South Texas.
Sam served as an Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Texas A&M University from July 1973 to August 1978, receiving the Professor of the Year award for 1974-1975. During this time, Sam also served as Secretary-Treasurer and President of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
Wanting to get back into the field, Sam accepted a position with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and then moved on to a position with the U.S. Forest Service as Research Wildlife Biologist at the Great Plains Wildlife Research Lab until 1982. In typical Beasom style, he once remarked that he had not seen a single tree in his entire career with the Forest Service. During this time he served as President of the New Mexico Chapter of TWS and also as Vice-President and President Elect of the Southwest Section of TWS.
Sam’s ruthless editorial skills were well known to his graduate students; he often returned manuscripts with more red than black ink. Comments were always constructive, however, and through time he molded what were once mere college students into wildlife professionals. Sam’s influence lives on in those who were lucky enough to know him. He shared his editorial skills with the rest of the wildlife profession when he became Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Wildlife Management, 1986-1987. After a short return to Texas A&M University-College Station as an Associate Professor, Sam became Acting Director and Assistant Director for Research at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute (CKWRI) at Texas A&M-Kingsville in January 1983. Sam also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Range and Wildlife Management at Texas Tech University, 1979-1986.
In January 1984, Sam became director of CKWRI, a position he held for the remainder of his career. While Director, Sam obtained $4 million in grants from outside sources. Sam also served as Director of the Texas Wildlife Association, 1986-1995; Director of the South Texas Chapter of Quail Unlimited, 1987-1995; Vice President of the Texas Wildlife Association, 1988-1994; and Director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Texas, 1992-1995. Sam’s main research interests centered on predator-prey relationships, land-use effects on wildlife, and population ecology of game animals. He was a recognized and often sought-after authority on these topics. Authoring and co-authoring more than 75 technical research publications (including 20 in JWM), Sam made a significant and long-lasting contribution to the field of wildlife management. In 1986 he received an Outstanding Service Award and Annual Publication Award from the Texas Chapter of TWS. Recognizing his influence in the management of the state’s wildlife, the Texas Outdoor Writer’s Association bestowed upon Sam the prestigious Professional Conservationist Award in 1990. In Texas, as elsewhere, Sam was a source of inspiration for others in the field of wildlife; many gauged their own professional progress and direction by his high standard. Since 1975, Sam has also been involved in consulting with landowners in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Manitoba, and Tamaulipas, Mexico on the management of native and exotic game animals, rangelands, and other natural resources on more than a million acres of land.
Sam served as chairman or member on 14 Ph.D. and 49 M.S. graduate committees at three different universities in Texas. His students will carry on his uncompromising professionalism throughout their careers. Students and colleagues alike remember special times afield, the laughter and lessons learned, whether he was simplifying a fire-building process with a cup of gasoline, wrestling a deer into submission, or providing well thought-out answers to the flood of questions that spilled forth from his young graduate students.
That lonely 18-year-old at the railway station in Alpine, Texas, did indeed do the right thing, and the world is better off for it. Sam Beasom; professor, colleague, mentor, friend – you are sorely missed.
March 16, 1995
Dan Boone was a graduate of Texas A&M University and a biologist with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for more than 20 years. He died March 16, 1995 while conducting aerial bald eagle surveys in East Texas. Dan’s family and friends have chosen to honor his memory in this way.
Dan Boone was a biologist with expansive interests in native plants and animals. His career with TPWD began with the newly expanded nongame project. Throughout his career, Dan maintained an interest in lessor-known species. Because of this expertise, he often received assignments for investigations on these species. He had an abiding dedication to furbearers, conducting graduate work on mink and the principal investigator on an extensive TPWD study of river otters in Texas. Interestingly, he was also an early advocate for increased attention to the status of alligator snapping turtles and canebrake rattlesnakes. His early work contributed to the foundation of current regard for these species. However, he was a dedicated hunter and fisherman, refusing to relinquish any ground to anti-hunting factions. Dan Boone was one of the last highly skilled field naturalists who endured in an era of an increasing fascination with technology in wildlife management.
Dan especially enjoyed waterfowl and upland game bird hunting. In traditional style, he placed much value on Labrador retrievers as a vital part of the sport. Dan and his hunting companions, Clint and Ely Mallori, set forth developing their own special strain of Labs. These dogs were highly intelligent, naturally motivated in retrieving, and extremely personable as canine companions. Dan and his allies were exacting in their choice of breeding and the release of puppies from this line of Labradors. Those who came to own one of these exceptional dogs developed a special appreciation for the rigor Dan demanded. You didn’t qualify to own one of these special Labs unless you were dedicated to training and hunting the dog. Dan’s dogs were working dogs and he was determined for them to be treated accordingly.
Dan Boone was a productive researcher, an outdoorsman of exceptional skill, a sportsman of high ethics, a gentleman with a ready sense of humor, and a faithful friend. His passing was a great loss to his family, friends, co-workers, and to wildlife conservation.