Consulting Services

Effective Lobbying, Administration, and Organizing

The wildlife policy advocacy aspect of Ovis Consulting encompasses three distinct services: lobbying, administration, and organization. These are the things we as sportsmen and women need to do to be effective in speaking up for our wildlife, wild places and our hunting traditions.  However as with most groups made up of passionate volunteers, most of whom have families and "day jobs", sportsmen's organizations find themselves falling short in both time and capacity to do these things effectively. 

Neil and Wyoming Senator BarassoWorking exclusively in the wildlife and sportsmen's policy arenas, Neil and Catherine are both experienced lobbyists who have had success in the halls of capitol buildings as much as in the field. Neil's work on behalf of wild sheep in Western North America spans decades, and Catherine began her career by meeting with provincial legislators as a representative of the Alberta Outfitters Association prior to her work in the United States.   More recently, their combined effort in Cheyenne on behalf of the Wyoming Sportsmen's Alliance in 2015 resulted in the states federal land transfer bill being diplomatically defeated without the need for expensive and dubiously effective rallies.  Neil and Catherine built relationships with elected representatives and spent the legislative session educating them with sound, science-based information with which they could then cast informed votes.

Catherine Thagard meets with Wyoming Governor MeadIt has been said that organizing sportsmen is a little like herding cats - difficult at the best of times. It takes effort, experience and dedication to the cause.  Ovis Consulting's greatest success to date in this field is the development of the Wyoming Sportsmen's Alliance (WYSA), from concept to effective entity. Spearheading the first two years of this fledgling organization, in the capacity of coordinator Catherine not only brought the socially and politically diverse sportsmen's and conservation organizations in Wyoming to the table, she helped them become a formidable voice during the 2014/2015 legislative sessions.  In addition to administrative tasks for WYSA, such as helping craft a mission, vision and values that all could agree on, she also arranged conference calls and developed an Organizational Charter.  She designed, distributed and compiled the results for WYSA's Candidate Survey during the last election cycle, which provided sportsmen of Wyoming valuable information to help them ensure their votes were cast on behalf of hunting, angling, fish and wildlife. Undeniably the highlight of the WYSA's efforts during her tenure were the Sportsmen's Legislative Receptions, jointly hosted by all of the WYSA partners that created the opportunity that had been previously lacking for dialogue between the sportsmen and their elected officials. It was at the 2015 reception that Governor Mead chose to announce the formation of the Wyoming Game and Fish Funding Task Force, something that WYSA had lobbied hard for, and successfully achieved.

Attendees of the Wyoming Sportsmen's Advocacy ConferenceOn  behalf of WYSA, Catherine also organized and hosted the Wyoming Sportsmen's Advocacy Conference - the first of its kind ever held in the state. This two day retreat brought together sportsmen and women, wildlife and outdoor recreation advocates, outfitters and elected officials to build not only their relationships with one another when working on common causes, but their capacity for engaging in the political process. With speakers and workshops on everything from effective outreach, media strategy, the difference between 501(c)3 and 501(c)4's, to a fun and informative seminar on "Cheyenne 101", this conference launched a  new era of effectiveness for the attending organizations, whether or not they were members of WYSA.

Discussions and questions on how Ovis Consulting may be able to help your group or organization are always welcome.