Don Valentine, 84, joined Delta’s Board of Directors in February 2021.
After graduating from Utah State University, Valentine worked in his family construction business. In the 1960s, he had the opportunity to move to Boulder, Colorado, where he grew interested in the ski industry. It was there he met Jim Temple, the founder and developer of the Steamboat Ski area.
Valentine acquired most of the land around the developing ski area. His creativity and conservation ethic were pivotal in the development of several homes and land preservation subdivisions around the area. His expertise in development was integral to the formation of the Steamboat Springs Mt. Werner Water District, where he served as president and board chairman for 32 years. As the ski area became one of the largest in Colorado, Valentine turned his skills to banking and helped form a new bank for which he served as a director for 30 years.
In the 1970s Valentine purchased approximately 5,000 acres in western South Dakota that included several closed gold mines and abandoned gold towns. He subsequently formed a partnership with one of the largest gold mines in the world, the Homestake Mining Company. His interest in mining led to participation in several other small mining operations, where most of his time is absorbed today.
Although he started hunting upland birds and deer at an early age in the East, it wasn’t until his move to Colorado that Valentine’s passion for hunting took hold. After several years of pheasant hunting in Nebraska, his interest in duck hunting also began to grow.
He noticed there was little access to adequate duck hunting, so he decided to purchase property along the Platte River in Nebraska and form a hunting club. The club has since increased its ownership to several thousand acres along the river and created additional waterfowl habitat by building more small lakes and wetlands.
Learning of Delta’s nest predation studies in the 1990s led Valentine to The Duck Hunters Organization.
“I was intrigued by what Delta had to say on the predation of duck nests and the low survival rate of ducklings, so in 1995 I became a financial supporter and an interested party,” he said.
His more than five decades of hunting experience has covered 45 states, four Canadian provinces, South America, Africa, Europe, and Iceland. He lives in Steamboat Springs and continues to travel the world hunting with his children and grandchildren.