Jim Heffelfinger (center), poses with TWS CEO Ed Arnett (left) and Casey Stemler from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (right) after receiving the Dallas Safari Club’s Conservation Trailblazer Award.

Jim Heffelfinger wins two conservation awards

Image: Jim Heffelfinger (center), poses with TWS CEO Ed Arnett (left) and Casey Stemler from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (right) after receiving the Dallas Safari Club’s Conservation Trailblazer Award. Credit: Crystal Allison

TWS member Jim Heffelfinger has won two awards commemorating a career of wildlife research and conservation.

Heffelfinger, wildlife science coordinator with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, won The Dallas Safari Club’s (DSC) 2023 Conservation Trailblazer Award, which celebrates “the monumental contribution of wildlife professionals to the field of game and non-game wildlife conservation, including wildlife and habitat management, applied research and policy,” according to the DSC.

“Given his incredible body of work and ability to communicate with broad audiences that has manifested into profound conservation impact, coupled with a long list of existing peer recognition and achievement awards for that work and impact, I simply could not think of a better qualified candidate for the DSC’s Conservation Trailblazer Award,” TWS CEO Edward Arnett said.

Heffelfinger said that it’s great to know that all the “2 a.m. nights” of work he’s done throughout his career have been recognized. He added that “it’s an honor” to be recognized by the organization.

The second award came from the National Deer Association (NDA), who nominated Heffelfinger as the 2022 Professional Deer Manager of the Year. The award is granted to someone with “significant on-the-ground experience” who has made measurable contributions to deer and deer hunting through management, research and education.

“ is one of the most widely recognized deer biologists in the country,” said Kip Adams, chief conservation officer of the NDA, in a press release. “We are honored to acknowledge him with this award.”

Heffelfinger said that he spent his career thinking—and writing—about deer. He has been an author or co-author of more than 300 publications, including dozens of peer-reviewed studies and the book Deer of the Southwest. “Deer has been my passion … it’s really nice when someone recognizes hard work in conservation.”

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