WTR Mule | The Great Outdoors

Mule Deer Foundation –

Past, Present, & Future

Over twenty years ago, the concept of giving something back to mule deer was a dream of Emmett Burroughs. As Emmett traveled around the country hunting and filming mule deer, he realized that many of us take this awesome species for granted.

Think about what the world was like in 1988. Mule deer had been extremely abundant right up until the winters of 1983-84. Across the West, the record snowfall lingered long into spring and early summer. Many mule deer and black-tailed deer perished, mostly starving for lack of food covered by snow and from cold temperatures.

A few years later, Emmett observed that mule deer populations had not rebounded from this die-off. Many factors contributed to mule deer not coming back – loss of habitat, predators, poaching, highways crossing through the middle of transitional ranges, and subdivisions being built on winter ranges. State wildlife agencies were busy trying to grow more elk and dealing with endangered species issues.

On top of that, funding to state wildlife agencies was in decline. Mule deer management, which had been a staple of most fish and wildlife agencies, was taken for granted. It was as if mule deer, which were at one time the premier big game species, were no longer worthy of prominence.

Emmett gathered together a few of his close friends and acquaintances and asked them to think back at how much they had taken mule deer for granted. He challenged them with the famous words, “We must give something back to mule deer and black-tailed deer.”

In July 1988, the Mule Deer Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)3 wildlife conservation organization. Founded in Redding, California, the original Board of Directors developed the mission statement of MDF, “The mission of the Mule Deer Foundation is to ensure the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat.” As with many wildlife conservation organizations, MDF started having banquet fundraising events to raise money for projects benefiting mule deer.


Tag N’ Brag started as a notebook of ideas created by David and Dean Giarrizzo while they were in college at Ohio State University. They wanted to create a place where all hunters and fishermen/women could connect, share experiences, and exploit themselves as outdoorsmen/women.

In the fall throughout their college careers, David and Dean would spend countless hours in the car going to and from school to the hunting grounds. They even scheduled classes on the same days as each other so they would have opposite days off to go hunt. Much of the time spent in the car and some in class was focused on jotting down ideas and creating the vision for Tag N’ Brag.

In December 2011, they launched the first version of www.tag-n-brag.com. In less than two years they have turned the outdoor social network into a brand recognized throughout our industry. www.tag-n-brag.com is going to re-launch a new custom designed website at the end of November. We now have an iOS and Android phone application, our own blog, and our own web show on tag-n-brag.tv. We have great plans of expanding the Tag N’ Brag brand even further and look forward to connecting hunters and fishermen/women worldwide.

Own The Season TV –

Art Helin of Dodgeville, Wisconsin, began hunting over 30 years ago under the instruction of his father and grandmother. What started as small game and deer hunting in his home state grew to an obsession to hunt nearly every big game species across North America. Raised in a hunting and fishing family, Michelle began hunting with Art at the age of sixteen and they married three years later. Art’s hunting success and passion for teaching others has led to his pro/field staffer positions for various manufacturers since 1996. Together with his wife, Michelle, and the staff of Art Helin Outdoors, he promotes these companies and the great outdoors by working trade shows, attending retail store events, and providing in-store training to their employees.

Starting in 1998, Art began giving seminars to small audiences for Primos. Since then, he’s traveled across the country speaking at venues large and small, from local sporting clubs to Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s, the Iowa Deer Classic, and the Field & Stream/Outdoor Life Deer and Turkey Expos. When speaking with people, Art draws upon his own past experience, successes and failures, as well as the over 150 days per year in the field hunting, guiding, and scouting. Michelle joined the seminar circuit in 2013, speaking on safety, first aid, and CPR for the outdoors.

After having planted food plots, practicing woodland management, and completing timber stand improvement and pond projects on his own 40 acres, leases, and properties of friends and neighbors for eighteen years, Art started habitat consultation services in 2015.

Art and his wife, Michelle, are experienced in videography, having filmed for Archer’s Choice Media Productions and the Double Bull Archery video series starting in 1998. They launched their own show, Own the Season, in 2019.

To read the full blog post of this episode go to http://www.whitetailrendezvous.com/ata-day-3-3-mule-deer-foundation-tagnbrag-own-the-season-tv