93 Col. Joel Wilkinson (Ret.) – Maine – Part II

Joel Wilkinson spent 28 years serving the state of Maine, including twelve years as Colonel of the Maine Warden Service. Now retired, Col. Wilkinson sits down with Wayne to reflect on an extraordinary career that began when he was just a teen. In this episode, we discuss his swift rise through the ranks, a television show that almost wasn’t, the challenges and rewards the outdoors can provide, and some valuable lessons learned along the way.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Captain to Colonel
  • Remembering Maj. Gregg Sanborn
  • Choosing quality leaders
  • Every day was an education
  • We all started in the same place
  • Empowering people through Operation Game Thief (OGT)
  • The wall of shame
  • Fundraising to offer larger rewards
  • International Wildlife Crimestoppers provided fresh ideas
  • The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
  • OGT trailers manned at all times; “we have to tell the stories.”
  • Blazing the North Woods Law trail
  • Turned down the original request
  • What are our fears? What are our goals?
  • It had to be authentic without being disrespectful
  • A gentlemen’s agreement
  • Popularity brought some unexpected situations
  • Ending the Maine story in the best way possible
  • Didn’t want to be seen as making money
  • The diversity educated the public
  • Inspiring kids to become game wardens
  • Passing the torch to New Hampshire
  • The North Woods Throwdown
  • Back Woods Law?!?
  • Bluefin tuna fishing takes more than skill
  • You have to do a lot of little things right
  • It’s all about respect for the animal
  • Confidence comes with experience
  • Plan to be successful
  • The abundance mentality
  • Life after retirement


Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Research / Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches


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