MDC congratulates Dr. Grant Woods on Master Conservationist award

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Conservation Commission and Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently bestowed their Master Conservationist award to Grant Woods, Ph.D., of Reed Spring at the May 23 Commission meeting at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson. Dr. Woods is the 61th recipient of the award, which was first presented in 1942.

The Master Conservationist Award honors living or deceased citizen conservationists, former MDC commissioners, and employees of conservation-related agencies, universities, or organizations who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the state’s fisheries, forestry, or wildlife resources, including conservation law enforcement and conservation education-related activities. Learn more at

Dr. Woods is a wildlife biologist who specializes in deer management and research. He owns and manages the 1,600-acre Missouri Ozarks farm known as “The Proving Grounds” for local free-ranging deer. As part of his property management, he does not use chemicals, promotes activities that increase and sustain soil health, and is an advocate for prescribed fire for grass and woodland management. He hosts seminars and habitat tours on his property, speaks at conferences, and works with interns from across the United States to share his expertise with future teachers and wildlife professionals. Through his weekly web-based show,, he shares his experiences and delivers management advice, hunting tips, and biology lessons to thousands.   

“Dr. Woods exemplifies Missouri’s Show-Me spirit through his comprehensive wildlife-management philosophy, strong conservation ethic, and love for wildlife,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley, who presented the award. “He is so very well deserving of the award because of his decades of dedication to white-tailed deer, habitat management, environmental and conservation education, and the continuation of our rich hunting heritage.”

Dr. Woods is well known and respected as a leading authority on management of white-tailed deer and is a strong proponent of the hunting culture as a vital tie to wildlife conservation.

“What sets him apart from others in the field is his passion and dedication to educating the public about how to manage our most popular game species on their own land in ways that combines popular habitat concepts, such as food plots, with lesser-known techniques, such as natural community management,” Pauley added.