Porter Presented Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The National Wild Turkey Federation posthumously awarded Dr. William “Bill” Porter with the Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award.

Porter held a distinguished academic career in wildlife conservation and became the first Boone and Crocket Professor of Wildlife Conservation at Michigan State University in 2010. He built a thriving graduate program there, leading the Quantitative Wildlife Center, following 30 years as a professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Porter's research spanned from songbirds, to moose, to wild turkeys but always focused on the challenging issues of the day. 

As a graduate student, his research was pivotal in restoring wild turkeys to the Upper Midwest. Porter received his B.S. at the University of Northern Iowa and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. As a professor at SUNY-ESF, he directed the Adirondack Ecological Center in the Huntington Wildlife Forest, raising funds for new buildings and restoring Huntington Lodge, one of the great camps of the Adirondacks. He persuaded the state of New York to invest in a multi-million dollar interpretive center in Newcomb, New York, adjacent to the Huntington Wildlife Forest, which continues to greet thousands of visitors each year. 

The NWTF previously recognized Porter with the Henry S. Mosby Award and his undergraduates honored him with a Distinguished Teacher Award.

Porter often conducted innovative and ground-breaking research, and the research of his students continues to have a significant impact on wild turkey management. His work, passion and contributions were substantial across wild turkey country. 

Porter passed away on Oct. 23, 2020 at the age of 69 in the loving care of De Ann, his wife of 47 years.

“My husband, Bill was incredibly proud of his association with the NWTF and respected all their officers, staff and members,” De Ann Porter said. “His involvement spanned more than 45 years, as northern populations grew from a few hundred to a few million wild turkeys. He was very honored to receive the Henry S. Mosby Award for work he loved. The Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award is another tremendous honor that he would have deeply appreciated. We all know he would have wanted to shake your hands and thank you in person.”

The Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a wildlife biologist, trapper or wildlife manager who has devoted his or her career to the wild turkey and played a major role in the turkey’s restoration and management.

The NWTF announced Porter’s award during the 46th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

“Bill and his research helped pave the way for the repopulation of wild turkeys in many parts of the country, and he has made a lasting impact on both the conservation community and wild turkey conservation itself,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We are proud to honor Bill’s immense legacy with the prestigious Wayne Bailey Award.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final year of the initiative.

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