Hewitt named director at Caesar Kleberg Institute

By Julia John

A white-tailed buck passes through a ranch in South Texas. ©Casey Morris

Former TWS Texas Chapter President David Hewitt was recently named executive director of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

David Hewitt was recently named director of Wildlife Research at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. ©Texas A&M University-Kingsville

“I’m enjoying it and looking forward to the good things I can do in it,” said Hewitt, who took on the new role as the Leroy G. Denman, Jr. Endowed Director of Wildlife Research in January.

Hewitt was previously the Stuart W. Stedman Chair for White-Tailed Deer Research at the institute, focusing on wildlife nutrition and ecology and large mammal management. Hewitt has worked at the institute since 1996 and has studied a range of animals, including deer, game birds, bears, pigs and nilgai antelope throughout his career. He has served on multiple professional committees and received numerous awards for research and publications.

Besides spending time with wildlife outside, he said, the best parts of his job are the “passionate people involved in wildlife conservation and management, whether they’re students at the Caesar Kleberg Institute, landowners, kids at a conservation camp we might be helping or TWS members we see at meetings.”

Growing up backpacking, skiing, hunting and fishing in Colorado, Hewitt said he developed an interest in wildlife conservation and realized he could pursue it as his profession, just as his grandfather, a wildlife biologist, had done.

Hewitt joined TWS over 30 years ago, as an undergraduate at Colorado State University. Since then, he said, the Society has advanced him professionally at the student, state and national levels through its journals and networking events.

“That’s been a great way of getting in contact with other people who’re wildlife professionals,” Hewitt said. “It adds credibility to your professional resume, and that’s meant a lot.”

For his edited volume, Biology and Management of White-Tailed Deer (2011), Hewitt earned a TWS Wildlife Publication Award. In 2014, he became president of the Texas Chapter. He was named a TWS Fellow in 2015.

The Caesar Kleberg Foundation is sponsoring the plenary at the TWS Annual Conference this September in Albuquerque, N.M. Before the plenary talk, Hewitt hopes to share the Institute’s management models, which could be applicable to regions beyond south Texas.

“We’re going to talk about ways we’ve approached wildlife research and how interaction with this increasing number of private landowners who have a strong interest in conservation can be a productive partnership,” he said.

Julia John is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at jjohn@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article.

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