There was a period of time when hunters were the greatest conservationists.  Think President Teddy Roosevelt, who evangelized national parks and setting aside wilderness for the public.

Later, environmentalism became an occupation for urbanites and they distanced themselves from sportsmen and people who enjoyed nature - they even listed them as enemies, in the case of hunting and fishing. 

But a public exhibition of big game trophies, seminars and other attractions July 17th-20th at the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada shows that activists now have bigger fish to fry and hunters are still advocating nature the way they did in the 19th century - and it is working. It's Boone and Crockett Club's 28th Big Game Awards, a triennial event held at various sites around the country since 1947.

The Boone and Crockett Club, founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, is headquartered in Missoula, Montana and promotes guardianship and management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. Club accomplishments have included enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws.

135 Top 5-class trophies, one new World's Record and records-book specimens taken by hunters age 16 and under - most entered into Boone and Crockett records over the past three years - are featured in the exhibit. The display includes two qualifying trophies taken in Nevada by Nevadans. Each trophy is being honored as a symbol of America's continuing successes in wildlife conservation and management, according to Boone and Crockett Club officials.  

"'Conservation movement' is a trendy buzzword, but hunters have been quietly leading and funding a proven conservation system for more than a century--ever since our club's founder, Theodore Roosevelt, first realized that no one is more dependent on healthy wildlife populations, or is more willing to invest in the habitats required to sustain them, than hunters," said Boone and Crockett Club President Bill Demmer. "The animals we're honoring in the Reno exhibit symbolize the historic and ongoing success of this system."

Seminars: July 19th - 10:00 AM-11:00 AM, "The Evolution of the Hunting Rifle" with Wayne van Zwoll; 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., "The International Connection of Conservation" with Craig Boddington; and 2:00 p.m.-3:00 PM, "Public Land Elk Hunting" with Dieter Kaboth. The trophy exhibit will be open to the public July 17th from 2-8:00 PM, July 18th and 19th 8-4 and July 20th from 9-4 PM.

In addition to the daytime events, registered attendees can enjoy evening raffles, an auction featuring hunts in top trophy regions across the continent and evening awards banquets and presentations.