THOMAS J. HAMMOND
Tom started hunting as a 12 year old boy in the corn fields outside of Omaha, Nebraska. In high school, his buddies and Tom would drive for weekend hunts throughout middle Nebraska and western Iowa. In college, he was a heavy equipment operator in the summer for the Union Pacific Railroad and repaired railroad track all the way from Omaha, Nebraska, to Ogden, Utah. Tom remembers all the wildlife he saw every day in the west and his vow to hunt them all one day.
Tom earned a BSBA degree from Creighton University in Omaha and an MBA degree from the University of Detroit in Michigan. The wish to expand hunting came true as Tom’s business in Michigan was kind and soon expanded. He started hunting Alaska and Africa as finances allowed.
Hunting was more than a pastime. It was a way of life. Since 1960 Tom has accumulated 248 different hunts on six continents, including 43 safaris to Africa. He won this year’s Weatherby Award with 314 different species, more than any other previous Weatherby winner.
Over and above the various different species Tom collected, including 20 different mountain goats, 20 different mountain sheep, more species than anyone in Europe, and close to 150 different species in Africa, Tom has 241 duplicate species. He has 38 top ten records, including several ranked first. He has collected 14 lions, 11 elephants, and 44 buffalo from Africa.
Tom’s love for the outdoors includes more than just hunting. For years he has built ponds for wildlife, erected fish weirs, planted crops specifically for wildlife, and set aside private property as a game reserve. He has planted almost 40,000 trees in various places for conservation and contributed to protect nesting areas of several birds, especially the sage grouse. He provided a conservation easement for the residents of San Antonio, Texas, for 16,000 acres to assure water quality in years to come because his ranch sat squarely over the Edwards Aquifer, the city’s water source.
This was the fifth year in Tom’s quest to win the Weatherby Award. In his first nomination he had 205 species and was the last nominee to make the final six. In the last six years, Tom overcame cancer, a burst appendix during an elephant hunt in southern Tanzania, a burst gall bladder, heart atrial fibrillation, and even a rotor cuff operation which he postponed until he completed an African safari left handed.
Tom’s passion for the outdoors extends to his family also. Tom’s wife, Janet, and other family members each have shot most or all of Africa’s most dangerous game. His son, two daughters, and nine grandchildren love the outdoors and time together with Tom and Janet as a family.
Tom stated that winning the Weatherby Award is one of his life’s best achievements. His wife has said that since Tom heard the news of the Award, he almost seems busier, cleaning guns, buying more equipment, researching hunts, checking gear, and talking to his grandchildren about the outdoors. He has four more hunts planned in the next five months including the final few species still possible in Europe.