Herbert F Behnke

1925 – 2013
Inducted 2009

“I never really listened much to special interest groups. To me, it was the common men and women who loved to hunt and fish, and what they wanted.” – Herb Behnke

The longest-serving member of Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board earned respect in state conservation circles for positions he took on behalf of common folks. Herbert “Herb” Behnke was born on a Lena dairy farm, the youngest of 10 children. He never forgot those humble roots.

As a young man, he left the farm to work at Cooperative Resources International (CRI), a Shawano-based animal breeding business, where he rose to the position of vice president of marketing.

One of his first tastes of citizen engagement came in 1961, when Gov. Gaylord Nelson (Conservation Hall of Fame inductee) appointed him to the Wolf River Basin Regional Planning
Commission. He carried knowledge gained from that service to the natural resources arena, especially in the areas of conservation and land use.


  • Longest-serving member of Resources Board
  • Served as the voice of “common men and women” on the board
  • Strong supporter of state acquisition of significant lands
  • Encouraged efforts to develop long-term deer management policy
  • Balanced science with public’s needs

For more information read his Hall of Fame monograph.

Herbert F Behnke passed away December 8, 2013.  Obituary