103 Chris Johnson – Alaska

When US Fish and Wildlife Captain Chris Johnson reached the mandatory retirement age, he wasn’t quite ready to hang up his hat, so he did what most never would; after 33 years of federal service, he went right back to the Academy and became an Alaska State Wildlife Trooper! Join us as Chris shares stories of the outdoors from “Alaska’s Playground” – the rugged and stunningly beautiful Kenai Peninsula.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Mandatory retirement from Federal law enforcement service
  • Torn between becoming a professional football player or game warden
  • Began career with the National Park Service and local PD in Minnesota
  • Joined USFWS in 1989
  • First full-time Federal wildlife law enforcement officer in the Alaska refuge system
  • Part-time positions now being phased out
  • Arriving at the 2-million acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
  • “The playground of Alaska.”
  • A one-day orientation
  • The first of many bear mauling cases
  • Charged by three juvenile brown bears in a row
  • A sow had been shot
  • Cubs became dangerously habituated to humans
  • The best bear defense
  • Bear incidents increased through the years
  • Black and brown bears tend not to mingle
  • Joined first USFWS Honor Guard team
  • Only federal member of state Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT)
  • Back to the Academy!
  • Previous experience was a huge advantage
  • Hoping to rejoin SIRT
  • The moose that shot back
  • Teasers for a follow-up: a truck through the ice and a ‘warm’ welcome to the Kenai


Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Research / Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches


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One thought on “103 Chris Johnson – Alaska

  1. Very cool! Chris was one of our best! Great to hear you doing this Wayne!
    Chris Kelly-USFWS (MA)

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