A ducky spring day on Montana’s prairies, near Loring, greeted the family and friends of the late Eric Pierce as they unveiled a cairn dedicated to the memory of this passionate conservationist and longtime Ducks Unlimited supporter. The tribute was the culmination of more than two years of hard work and planning by a highly motivated committee of Bozeman DU volunteers. Eric originally hailed from Illinois and was the co-founder of Big Sky Carvers. He and his son, Marc, transformed the company from a fledgling operation into an internationally renowned marketer of conservation art. If you own a decoy from a DU event, chances are it came from Big Sky Carvers.
Another tribute event, Friends of Cooter Pollard, was held in Florida by friends of the Pierce family. In all, the two events grossed more than $1 million as a tribute to Eric’s passion for waterfowl, waterfowl hunting and conservation. A majority of the funds have been put to use in Montana as part of DU’s Revolving Land Strategy, which is designed to acquire prime waterfowl breeding grounds; restore and protect the habitat values; and sell the land back to a rancher, agency or conservation buyer. The funds from the sales are then used to acquire the next parcel. To date, more than 7,000 acres of Montana’s finest grassland and wetland habitats have been conserved through these efforts.
“Dad always had a special place in his heart for the prairies,” remembered Eric’s son, Marc, a former DU board member and DU-TV host. “Conserving this land in his memory is something that is very special to our family and something that he would be very proud to have as part of his legacy.”