Q: When did you first start hunting and fishing, and what’s your favorite memory afield?
I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada, where there is some of the best big game and bird hunting in the world. On one of my first trips afield, my dad took me out duck hunting at a local prairie pothole. It was a dark, cold morning, and my dad and I settled into the blind against the driving rain and howling wind. Next thing I remember is waking up hours later to daylight – I had curled up in my dad’s lap and fallen fast asleep. Dad never fired a shot that day. Instead he enjoyed the sunrise over the prairie, the mallards and canvasbacks coming and going out of the slough in front of us, and being there with me.
More recently, I spent four days hunting with my two grown sons outside College Station, Texas. We drove out together, hunted boars and spent cherished time together. It was the first time in years that the three of us were able to coordinate our schedules to get together on the same hunt. The bonus was harvesting a few boars and bringing home some fantastic meat.
Q: What led you to become involved in conservation?
When I was 15 years old I obtained certification as a hunter safety/outdoor education instructor and joined the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation as a volunteer instructor. The course included substantial aspects of wildlife and conservation. Under the guidance of the SWF and my future father-in-law, I became involved in many conservation projects.
During this period I was introduced to the manager of a project to assist the Department of Natural Resources in maintaining a sustainable pheasant population in the area. Thus began my ongoing involvement in conservation, water and land use issues that has continued throughout my professional career in the firearms industry.
Q: How did Beretta become involved in conservation work?
Founded in 1526, Beretta is the oldest family-owned industrial firearms dynasty in the world. The Beretta group and family have been associated with conservation projects and efforts for many years on a worldwide basis. From the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust in Kenya to supporting the work of national, regional and local associations here in the USA, Beretta believes that conservation needs to be a national priority. Over the years we’ve supported groups like the TRCP, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Coastal Conservation Association, Quail Unlimited and Ruffed Grouse Society.
Q: Describe your vision for Beretta.
Quite simply, the Beretta family and the management and staff of Beretta want to insure the ongoing heritage of field sports for generations to come. If our sons and daughters – and their children – participate in outdoor recreation, whether hiking or hunting, they will attach a value to those experiences. These experiences will be echoed in their collective voice to maintain our sporting resources in a sustainable manner. It is an investment in the well-being of our future generations and the world as whole.
Beretta is acutely aware that wildlife and fisheries conservation, public access to these resources and the shooting sports industry are indivisibly intertwined. Without wildlife and access to the lands and waters where we hunt, the shooting sports industry would be greatly diminished.
As capable organizations like the TRCP, Ducks Unlimited and Coastal Conservation Association have taken up the fight at the front lines, Beretta has moved to a supporting role. We are working to further the conservation goals and objectives of organizations such as yours by actively sharing expertise, industry insight and cooperative marketing efforts.
Q: What do you think are the most important conservation issues facing the country today?
Funding for wildlife and habitat at federal, state and municipal levels as well as funding to allow conservation organizations to continue their missions should be top priority. We must ensure conservation programs survive budget and funding cuts – an increasingly challenging task in today’s political and economic climate.
We have a great cadre of conservation organizations that cover each specific interest and facet of conservation. In most cases there is significant overlap between the groups. It is imperative that these organizations collaborate to move the conservation community forward and ensure that sportsmen have a voice. This is where Beretta sees the value of the TRCP. The TRCP provides a common voice for disparate groups, allowing them to work smarter to achieve common goals.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of fish and wildlife conservation, and how can hunters and anglers accomplish these goals?
I want future generations to have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill and awe of the outdoor adventures that I’ve had. I’ve had the joy of sharing a wide variety of experience with my children – not just hunting and fishing, but wilderness canoeing, cross country skiing, winter camping and so much more. If more Americans can share these experiences with their children it means our resources will be in good hands.
“The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
-Theodore Roosevelt, address to the Deep Waterway Convention, Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 4, 1907