Thursday, February 11, 2021

Mule Deer Foundation Announces Pedersen as New President/CEO

Salt Lake City, UT- The Mule Deer Foundation announced today that Joel Pedersen has been selected as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer, replacing Miles Moretti who is retiring after 14 years at the helm. Pedersen spent the last 22 years with the National Wild Turkey Federation and has broad experience on conservation policy, land access, habitat stewardship, and program management. He will start with MDF on March 8 and there will be a month-long transition period where he will work directly with Moretti to understand the broad portfolio of tasks as the president/CEO.

“We are excited to welcome Joel Pedersen as the Mule Deer Foundation’s new president/CEO and believe that he has strong credentials to continue to lead this organization forward,” commented MDF board chairman Aaron Oelger who led the search committee. “During our search, it was critical that we hired someone who understands the conservation policy process in Washington, DC but also understands field operations for a large organization. Joel brings a wealth of experience in these areas along with a passion for the West. We are grateful to Miles for helping to identify potential candidates and to continue leading the organization through this orderly transition.”

Pedersen grew up in Nebraska and has western roots through his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, including time spent at the University of Idaho. Graduate school took him east and he secured his master’s degree at the University of Tennessee conducting research on black bears. He began his career working as a biological administrator for a state fish and wildlife agency before starting as a senior wildlife biologist at NWTF in 1999. During his two decades at the organization, Pedersen served in leadership positions that focused on land access, western conservation planning, and policy. His work on western issues included directing NWTF’s conservation delivery in western states focused on landscape-scale projects through stewardship agreements. He served as the chair of NWTF’s inter-departmental working group charged with developing the organization’s strategic vision on habitat conservation as well as hunter recruitment and access that led to their successful “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” initiative. Pedersen completed the National Conservation Leadership Institute and served as a peer coach for later cohorts, he also serves on the steering committee for the American Wildlife Conservation Partners and on numerous committees in the conservation community.

“My passion is creating quality habitat for wildlife at a landscape scale. The Mule Deer Foundation’s work on forest and sagebrush restoration and more recently with corridors is exciting. I look forward to translating my passion and experience to help MDF do even more for mule deer and black-tailed deer,” Pedersen commented. “I look forward to getting to know the great staff, volunteers, and partners at the MDF and working with them to take the organization to new heights. Miles built a solid foundation for us and I am eager to lead MDF in our next phase of growth.”

“I have worked with Joel Pedersen for many years in his time at NWTF and I know that he has the broad experience and relationships within the conservation community to serve as MDF’s next president,” noted Moretti. “I look forward to working with Joel in March as we transition to his leadership; this process will ensure that he has everything that he needs to be successful. I will miss the MDF board, staff, and volunteers but I know that we have accomplished great things for the organization and that we are leaving the organization in good hands for the future.”


About MDF

The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and conserving mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of men, women and youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at or call 1-801-973-3940.

Contact: Miles Moretti, (801) 230-2207,