Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 46:53–54; 2014


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society. Used by permission.


Author David L. Gjeston has done a masterful job of capturing the history of wildlife conservation and, in particular, the work of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (formerly the Wisconsin Conservation Department or WCD) in protecting, restoring, and managing the wildlife resources of Wisconsin. Gjeston took on an incredibly complex task. He tells a fascinating story of wildlife conservation comprised of many layers of wildlife management from over a century and a half of evolving perceptions regarding wildlife uses, exploitation, restoration, problems, conflicts, and recreational opportunities that continue to the present.

Perhaps the most appealing part of this book is the approach that tells the stories of the people who have shaped Wisconsin’s world of wildlife management, most notably the impact provided by Aldo Leopold, the founder of modern wildlife management. The early influences of Leopold’swritings on game management and his later work, teachings, and research at the University of Wisconsin stimulated an entire generation of wildlife biologists who became notable in their own right, including Jim Hale, Ruth Hine, Frederick and Frances Hamerstrom, and Arthur Hawkins.

As a 40-year employee of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, I feel a special sense of camaraderie with my fellow biologists in Wisconsin—many of whom I have known and collaborated with over the years for management of common terns (Sterna hirundo), trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and other nongame wildlife species.