what's happening at the wildlife center MI

Hunting Licenses: Funding Michigan’s Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Hunters are often misunderstood and vilified by some in society, but the truth is that they play a crucial role in wildlife conservation efforts in Michigan, the United States, and around the world. According to data from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), hunters are the number one contributors to funding for conservation programs in the state.

The DNR relies heavily on funding from hunting licenses, permits, and excise taxes on hunting equipment to support its wildlife conservation efforts. In fact, according to the DNR, hunters contribute more than $60 million annually to conservation programs in Michigan. This funding is essential for maintaining healthy wildlife populations and preserving natural habitats for future generations.

One of the main ways that hunters contribute to wildlife conservation is through the Pittman-Robertson Act, a federal excise tax on hunting equipment such as firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. This tax provides crucial funding for wildlife conservation efforts at both the state and federal levels. In Michigan, this funding is used for a variety of conservation programs, including habitat restoration, wildlife research, and wildlife management.

In addition to the Pittman-Robertson Act, hunters also pay for hunting licenses and permits, which further contribute to wildlife conservation funding in Michigan. These funds are used to support a wide range of conservation efforts, from enforcing wildlife laws to conducting research on endangered species.

Many hunters are passionate about wildlife conservation and understand the importance of preserving natural habitats for future generations. As one hunter told the DNR, “Hunters are some of the biggest conservationists out there. We care deeply about the environment and want to ensure that our natural resources are protected for future generations to enjoy.”

Overall, hunters play a critical role in wildlife conservation efforts in Michigan. Their contributions provide essential funding for conservation programs that protect wildlife and preserve natural habitats for generations to come. As the primary contributors to wildlife conservation funding in the state, hunters deserve recognition for their important role in preserving Michigan’s natural heritage.


All information provided directly from the Department of Natural resources.

The Stamp of Conservation – Preserving Waterfowl Habitats


The conservation of wildlife habitats in North America is a significant concern for environmentalists, biologists, and conservationists. One of the most effective pieces of legislation contributing to the preservation of waterfowl habitats is the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, commonly known as the Duck Stamp Act, which was enacted in 1934. This federal law was a response to the rapid decline of waterfowl populations, and it aimed to ensure the protection of migratory birds through funding habitat conservation.

The Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (1934)

The Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act requires all waterfowl hunters who are 16 years of age or older to purchase a stamp annually. This program was spearheaded by individuals such as Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, a noted conservationist and political cartoonist, who also designed the first stamp. The act has been a crucial element of waterfowl conservation efforts in U.S. history. Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the program uses the proceeds from stamp sales to acquire and preserve wetlands habitats essential for the breeding and survival of waterfowl and other wildlife.

Impact and Achievements

Since its inception, the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act has had substantial impacts on conservation efforts:

  • Financial Contribution: The program has raised over $1.1 billion since 1934, adjusted for inflation. This pioneering model of conservation funding demonstrates how targeted fiscal measures can directly benefit wildlife conservation (Strickler, 2023).


  • Habitat Preservation: More than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat have been protected (“The Federal Duck Stamp Program”). The majority of the purchase price, 98%, is dedicated to acquiring and safeguarding wetland habitat and conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System. These habitats are not only crucial for the species targeted by the act but also for a plethora of other birds, mammals, fish, and plants that thrive in these ecosystems.


  • Educational Value: The stamps have also played a role in educating the public about the importance of conservation. Each year, a contest is held for artists to design the new stamp, which raises awareness and appreciation for wildlife art and habitat conservation (National Wildlife Refuge System).


  • Support for Other Species: While aimed at waterfowl, the preserved areas benefit numerous non-target species, underlining the interconnected nature of ecosystems and the broad-reaching effects of targeted conservation efforts (Boudart, 2022).


The Duck Stamp Act serves as a shining example of how collaboration between hunters, conservationists, and legislators can make a tangible difference in safeguarding our natural world. Through the simple act of purchasing a Duck Stamp, individuals can contribute to the long-term conservation of waterfowl habitats, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and diversity of our avian wildlife.


Boudart, J. (2022, February 24). Delivering for the ducks: Ducks unlimited. Ducks Unlimited.

Strickler, M. J. (2023, May 10). Pending legislation: U.S. Department of the interior. Pending Legislation | U.S. Department of the Interior.,million%20acres%20of%20valuable%20habitat. 

Learn to Hunt at The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch

Read more about Jaimie Robinson’s Learn to Hunt experience with her daughter at The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch with the link below to

Learn to Hunt at the Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch


Planned Giving

Donate your taxidermy to The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch to benefit Wildlife Education!

  • If you have pieces of taxidermy that you don’t want to go unappreciated, you may donate your piece to The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch.
  • If you are looking for a good home for your collection, The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch will see that your collection benefits future youth, Veterans, and wildlife conservation.
  • In exchange for donating your collection, we would proudly display a plaque in your name in The Wildlife Center.
  • The collection would be sold at auction and the proceeds of the sale would be used towards programs of your choice.

Our late friend John J. Wolfe passed in 2020. John’s wife, Charlotte, and son, Mark decided to donate 82 pieces of John’s taxidermy collection. Through this selfless act, John’s passion for hunting will continue to thrive, benefiting the Youth Challenge Hunt and Purple Heart Hunt at The Wildlife Center.

Sheryle Weller approached The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch and donated her husband’s esteemed 20 piece collection of taxidermy. Gary Weller, an advocate for wildlife and an avid outdoorsman, amassed a collection that reflects his lifelong commitment to conservation through hunting. These proceeds are directly benefiting the Veterans’ programs at the center, including the much-anticipated Veterans’ Retreat in August and the Purple Heart Hunt in September.

Spring 2024 Newsletter

Spring Update: Wildlife Center Progress and Outlook

Dear Wildlife Center Supporters,

As we move into the summer of 2024, we would like to give you an update on our progress and upcoming events after a busy year and start to 2024. This past year has seen a significant increase in visitors, including first-timers and return guests, totaling at 5,230 visitors.

Our free school tours program has expanded to include home school groups and summer camps. This along with 4 more schools visiting for the first time will increase our students by 800 from last year.

We also had a successful showing at the Safari Club International Annual Convention in Nashville and Dallas Safari Club Convention, which helped fund our programs through art sales.

Looking forward, we have a series of summer programs lined up, such as our private tours, Veterans’ Retreat, SCI Leadership Training, and 6 Michigan Hunter Education field days.

Overview of our achievements since last newsletter:

  • Welcomed groups from 42 schools to The Wildlife Center.
  • A forecast of over 3,500 students participating in our Passport Tour.
  • Received 2 Family Taxidermy Collection Donations.
  • Hosted 5 Wild Game Dinners and 7 Private dinners from January to May.
  • Participated in two conventions, including the Dallas Safari Club and SCI Convention in Nashville.
  • Sold over 350 pieces of art.
  • 6 Hunter Education Field Days are on the schedule for 2024.
  • 77 individuals harvested their first white tail with us, 64 of whom were under the age of 17.

We are proud of our start to 2024 and excited about the activities we have planned for the rest of the year. Please ask us about getting involved! Best regards, Robert Sergi, Ranch Director & The Wildlife Center Team

SCI Nashville Supports Conservation

The 2024 SCI Convention in Nashville has set a new benchmark for success! As a team we’d like to thank each individual who visited our booth – your overwhelming support was truly impactful! This year was remarkable, surpassing all previous years in engagement and excitement. 

From seeing friendly faces to forging new friendships amid the vibrant buzz of Music City, our experiences were unforgettable. We’re honored to be a part of a community that shares our passion for conservation and the great outdoors. Your enthusiasm fuels our mission.

Here’s to the memories we made and the future we’re building together! Nashville 2024 will be remembered as a milestone year for us, and it’s all thanks to you – our friends, supporters, and partners in conservation.

Elevating Conservation: DSC 2024 Recap

The 2024 DSC (Dallas Safari Club) Convention, which took place from January 11th to 14th at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, was another fundraising success. It helped support our vital programs that support Conservation, Education, and Advocacy.

Our deepest gratitude extends to every exhibitor, supporter, volunteer, attendee, and the diligent individuals working behind the scenes who collectively elevated this event to new heights.

Daniel F. Rosman Wildlife Conservation Scholarship Recipient

We are thrilled to announce that Cole Hoffman received the 2023 Daniel F. Rosman Wildlife Conservation Scholarship! Cole is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forestry at Michigan Technological University with a particular interest in conserving public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreating. He aspires to find a career within organizations such as the Michigan DNR or the U.S. Forest Service.

Each year, the Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch recognizes one outstanding Michigan undergraduate who has shown exceptional dedication to the Center’s mission of conservation and education. This year, Cole has proven his commitment to these values, standing out through his academic excellence and fervent passion for Michigan’s outdoors.

Cole Hoffman, with his enthusiasm for conservation and his impressive achievements in the field, embodies the spirit of this award. The $5,000 scholarship will offer him financial support as he furthers his education and pursues a career that aligns with the conservation and hunting industry’s entrepreneurship ethos.

Daniel F. Rosman Wildlife Conservation Scholarship

Each year, The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch awards a $5,000 scholarship to two Michigan undergraduate students with proven dedication to the WLC’s Mission. The scholarship has recently been renamed the “Daniel F. Rosman Wildlife Conservation Scholarship” to honor past Legends Ranch employee Dan Rosman for his many years of commitment to conservation and education. Dan is responsible for building The Wildlife Center into what it is today, having curated and installed a majority of the mounts we display. Without Dan’s hard work, The Wildlife Center would not be the magnificent educational foundation it currently is.

The mission of the Daniel F. Rosman Wildlife Conservation Scholarship is to encourage and promote conservation in Michigan’s wildlife, animal science, hunting, and agriculture university programs. Each year’s scholarship recipients are two outstanding Michigan undergraduate students that distinguish themselves through academic excellence and their passion for the outdoors. This scholarship gives students financial support to pursue entrepreneurship and careers in the hunting and conservation industry.

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