20th Annual NASC
Wild Sheep Foundation
Gray N. Thornton serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF), the premier sheep and mountain game conservation organization in the world dedicated to “Putting and Keeping Wild Sheep on the Mountain®.”
Prior to joining the Wild Sheep Foundation in 2008, Thornton served as Executive Director of the Dallas Safari Club from 1997-2008 and Chapter & Membership Director for Safari Club International from 1990 – 1997 producing record results for membership growth, fundraising and mission funding for both organizations. Thornton followed his passion to the conservation/hunting industry after a successful sales career with Unisys and Xerox corporations.
As a public speaker he has been invited to present keynote addresses on wildlife conservation and hunting and angling ethics internationally to diverse audiences ranging from civic and sportsmen’s groups, to international associations, the Serbian Parliament and former Presidents of the United States of America, France and South Africa.
Gray was awarded the “Wildlife Utilisation Award” by the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), the Association’s highest conservation honor. He also received PHASA’s highest service honor, and the Coenraad Vermaak Distinguished Service Award and was the first non-South African to be so recognized. Thornton has received the President’s Award from the Guide Outfitter Association of British Columbia for his years of dedicated service to the hunting and conservation community. As an Outdoor Writer, he received a Katie Award from the Press Club of Dallas representing the southern USA for the best Outdoor Story of the Year with “Iron Horse Fly Fishing.”
Thornton serves on the Board of Directors of Bear Trust International where he serves as Vice-Chairman of Board. He has also served on the Boards of the Conservation Fund, the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa Conservation and Empowerment Fund, the Ballot Issues Coalition, the Banovich Wildscape Fund, and the Lone Star Outdoor News Foundation.
He is a Summit Life Member of WSF, a Chadwick Ram Society Member, a WSF Legacy Society Member, and a Life Member of numerous WSF chapters and affiliates. Thornton is also a Life Member of SCI, NRA, DSC, TU, a Monarch Life Member of Wild Sheep Society of BC, and a Life Member of many guide/outfitter associations.
He is an avid hunter as well as salt and freshwater fly fisherman and has hunted and fly fished throughout North America and internationally including 17 safaris to Africa and has hunted in New Zealand, Germany, Mexico and Canada. As a mountain hunter, he has taken all Four North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS), a Rocky Mountain goat as well as tahr and chamois.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Marketing from California State University at Fresno and has earned advanced credits in Wildlife Management from Colorado State University at Fort Collins.
Thornton resides in Manhattan, Montana with his wife Renée, their Weimaraner Sage, and Vizsla Sienna.