Theodore Roosevelt and the Boone and Crockett Club: The Saving of America's Buffalo
Mentor:Bryan Givens, Assistant Professor of History, Pepperdine University
The American buffalo is a symbol of the American West. It is well established that this American species faced extinction in the late nineteenth century. Many also know that at the turn of the century, President Theodore Roosevelt was a champion for the protection of America’s natural beauty, including its wildlife. As I began my research on Theodore Roosevelt and his role in conservationism, I discovered that he was involved in wildlife preservation well before his presidency. Most historians, who focus on Roosevelt’s actions while in the Oval Office (1901-1909), have overlooked his early roles in conservationism. Thus, one of Roosevelt’s most significant contributions to the field of conservation, his founding of the Boone and Crockett Club in 1887, has remained relatively unknown. The Club, in its advocacy for wildlife legislation, played a significant role in saving American bison from extinction. The Club’s efforts contributed to the establishment of the Yellowstone Protection Act of 1894, also known as the Park Protective Act or the Lacey Act, which provided protection for the Yellowstone Park wildlife. This Act would become the foundation for future park legislation in the United States. One of Roosevelt’s most significant accomplishments in the field of conservationism, his creation of the Boone and Crockett Club, occurred before his presidency; the Club’s importance is most clearly evident in its efforts in saving America’s bison.