96 Jason Keller – Ohio DNR: Lessons From A Shooting

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Officer Jason Keller was on the scene when fellow officer Kevn Behr was shot at close range by a poacher. In this episode, he recalls the incident and the aftermath, and shares some important lessons learned on that day.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Decoy operation began normally
  • Saw pickup truck drop a passenger with a long gun
  • Heard a shot ring out, and then screaming
  • The emergency button: technology can be a blessing
  • Stop the Bleed’ course
  • Packed the wound with gauze
  • Couldn’t find an exit wound
  • Perception of time changed
  • Shooter was identified right away
  • WIN philosophy: What’s Important Now?
  • Focus shifted to investigation
  • K-9 Scout located the shell casing
  • State trooper picked up the suspect
  • Shooter’s position identified by K-9 Scout at 48 feet (14.6m)
  • Public health protocols prevented visiting the hospital
  • Returned to the scene to search for additional evidence
  • Writing the Critical Incident report was challenging
  • Testified in court while suspect smiled
  • Officer Behr’s wife provided progress updates
  • Lessons learned: train as though scenarios are real
  • Be as mentally prepared as possible for critical incidents
  • Know where your First Aid kit is, and how to use it
  • When time allows, make sure to contact your own family
  • Dispatchers are a lifeline

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Research / Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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94 Wild Tech – with Steve Beltran & Eric Richey

Steve Beltran is an award-winning Conservation Police Officer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources who combines his passion for both technology and the outdoors through his Timber-Tech column, a regular feature in International Game Warden Magazine. Eric Richey is the founder and CEO of Sovereign Sportsman Solutions (S3), an industry leader in customized electronic license and permitting innovations throughout North America. Join us as they discuss recent outdoor technology developments, and some exciting possibilities for the future.   

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • “Probably the largest, most unknown tech company in the industry”
  • Systems are built and branded to the specific state’s requirements
  • Mobile platforms allow officers access to real-time information
  • S3 developed the first mobile solution for conservation officers
  • Technology has typically been marketed to large law enforcement agencies
  • Access to data in the field increases efficiency – no need to go to the office for info
  • QR codes allow access even when offline
  • RFID advancements could allow coastal officers to gather all license info from a nearby vessel without having to board
  • Tech and the outdoors don’t need to be mutually exclusive
  • Electronic data can allow officers to quickly get a complete picture
  • Potential for faster access to license revocations under the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
  • Each state currently uses its own format
  • A standardized system could identify violators on the spot
  • Violations in one state can result in different restrictions in different states
  • Timber-Tech column helps bridge the technical gap
  • Taking the tech into the field to determine exact needs
  • Why not use every tool that we have?

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Research / Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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92 Col. Joel Wilkinson (Ret.) – Maine – Part I

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 early years as a game warden, including an intense turn in covert operations that resulted in some of the agency’s most significant prosecutions of the time.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Maine has used the term ‘game warden’ since 1880
  • No time to hunt or fish.
  • Learned about the outdoors from a girlfriend’s father
  • Started riding with game wardens at 16
  • Became a deputy warden at 19
  • Tried to sneak in a little early
  • “This is all I wanted to do.”
  • 2000 applicants, few positions
  • Tried appealing to the Colonel
  • Joined a local police department to gain experience
  • Trained with many Maine wardens at the academy
  • Finally hired by Maine Warden Service at 22
  • No warden in his area for 11 years
  • Caught first night hunter eight days after graduating
  • Moving to a new area, population: 4
  • Chris Simmons becomes the boss… and moves in across the road
  • A memorable Thanksgiving night
  • Shifting into covert investigations
  • A big case, but some unnerving moments
  • Targets often under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • Seeing the other side
  • “It changed how we did business.”
  • Making Captain at 32
  • Learned many administrative skills
  • The Maine whitewater rafting industry
  • Many companies offer rafting, hiking, and rock climbing

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Research / Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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91 Sean Spencer – Utah

Sean Spencer is a Sergeant with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. After 14 years patrolling in some of the most remote and most populous areas of the Beehive State, he’s dealt with a wide variety of people, wildlife, and problems. In this episode from the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association conference (NAWEOA) in Tennessee, he and our hosts discuss planning for next year’s conference, some of his memorable experiences, and much more!

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Busy organizing NAWEOA 2023
  • Plan extra time to see the state
  • The “Mighty Five” national parks
  • First encounter with a game warden
  • Discovered the outdoors as a teen in Texas
  • Importance of balancing home and work life
  • Moving from a remote district to an urban one
  • Prime hunting only 30 minutes from home
  • Public safety vs. preservation
  • A memorable baiting case
  • Not every case results in a conviction
  • Growing population numbers create new challenges

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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90 Josh Landrum – Tennessee

Josh Landrum is a Nashville-based Boating Officer with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Besides receiving multiple honors for his tireless efforts to combat impaired boating, he has also served on the board of the Tennessee Wildlife Officers Association for the past decade, and most recently as president. This year, Josh and his fellow officers hosted the annual North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA) conference, where Wayne and John caught up with him for a chat.  

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Hosting NAWEOA 2022
  • Learning, training, and networking at NAWEOA
  • Encouraging the younger generation of game wardens to attend
  • A love of fishing led to a career in wildlife management
  • An urban game warden
  • Some of the largest deer in the state
  • Working to eliminate impaired boating
  • You never know who you’ll meet
  • Enjoying all that Nashville has to offer
  • NAWEOA 2023: Utah

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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89 Ty Runyan – Oklahoma

Ty Runyan is a state game warden with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Besides being a rancher, driving instructor, former K9 handler and sometimes-snake wrangler, he may be best known for his TikTok presence. Ty’s lighthearted, interesting, and educational short videos have attracted more than 175,000 followers. In this episode, he and Wayne discuss the value of social media as an outreach and recruitment tool, and share some exciting stories from the field.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Ty gives a passerby some advice
  • Everyone knows where the game warden lives
  • A bit about Ty’s background
  • Social media as an outreach tool
  • An accidental TikTokker
  • Getting Departmental approval
  • Taking the bad with the good
  • Recruitment and legal questions from everywhere
  • Using the platform to change perceptions
  • Comedy helps to defuse situations
  • Ty’s rodeo adventures
  • Few game wardens employing TikTok – so far
  • “It’s amazing what people will put on social media”
  • Helping other states make cases
  • Conservation efforts have helped restore declining populations
  • Snakes!
  • A family of teachers
  • Spotlighting poachers: right place, right time
  • Larger platform has helped engage future game wardens

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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86 For The Fallen

In 1962, US President John Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established that same year by a joint resolution of Congress, National Police Week pays tribute to law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. Please join us for this very special episode as we honor the service and sacrifice of fallen heroes Captain Stan Elrod of Danielsville, Georgia, and Staff Sergeant Jesse Sherrill of Barrington, New Hampshire.

“It is not how these officers died that made them heroes; it is how they lived.” ~ National Law Enforcement Memorial, Washington, DC

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Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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84 Bob Farrell – Hawai’i

Bob Farrell is a former fish and wildlife enforcement officer with more than 30 years of maritime experience in multiple environments from Alaska to Hawai’i. After a successful career with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife – culminating in serving as Assistant Chief – Bob figured he’d return to his home state of Hawai’i to wind down his career as an active game warden in the field, but fate soon intervened, and he once again found himself in a leadership position. Today, he continues his mission to strengthen conservation law enforcement through consultation and training all over the world.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Involved in wildlife conservation post-retirement
  • Enforcement is sometimes an afterthought
  • Earliest memories are on the water
  • “I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau when I grew up.”
  • NOAA fisheries observer aboard a Korean trawler in Alaska
  • Six years fishing the Bering Sea
  • Operating boats for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Joined CDFW as a dive instructor
  • Accepted as a reserve warden
  • Warden-centric TV programs helped recruitment
  • Promotions are nice, but being an active warden is more fun
  • Bob delayed promotion to join a major task force operation
  • Moved to Hawai’i to get back into the field, but then…
  • “At the end of the day, I was obligated.”
  • Helping enact progressive change
  • Building skills from the ground up
  • Secured funding for the first DOCARE academy
  • Developing a Field Training Officer program
  • Established the state’s first DLNR Officer of the Year award
  • Sending officers to NACLEC
  • “Now we’re the tip of the spear.”
  • Working nights wasn’t typical
  • Caught spotlighters the first night
  • Protect cultural as well as natural resources
  • Retirement allows freedom to advocate for policy and legislation
  • The importance of listening to different perspectives
  • We can effect change
  • Bob’s advice for potential game wardens

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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83 Jonathan Demler – New Hampshire

In this episode, Wayne sits down with New Hampshire Conservation Officer Jonathan Demler. A highly decorated US Army veteran, Demler and his family moved to New Hampshire eight years ago when he joined Fish & Game after a distinguished military career which included three tours in Afghanistan.  Listen as Jon describes what led him to a career in the outdoors, how his experience in the armed forces has contributed to his success at Fish & Game, and in a Warden’s Watch first, answers questions from our Patreon members.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Appearing on North Woods Law: quality over quantity
  • Balancing work and family
  • Transition from military life
  • “A little bit of luck, but a lot of perseverance.”
  • Coming to New Hampshire
  • The problem solvers
  • Changes in US military focus
  • Experience in Afghanistan helped prepare for mountains of NH
  • Do COs need to periodically requalify with firearms?
  • Dealing with sick and injured animals
  • Tough days
  • Not all wildlife rescues are successful
  • Every day can hold a surprise
  • The most gratifying part of the job
  • Working hours can be flexible
  • The importance of community

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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W02 Canada Lynx with Jill Kilborn

Warden’s Watch WILD is back with wildlife biologist Jill Kilborn discussing her work studying the elusive Canada lynx. At about three feet long and anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds, Canada lynx are at least twice the size of the average house cat. Often recognized by their pointed ears and large, furry paws, which help them travel over deep snow and leave a distinctive “ice cream cone” print, Canada lynx are considered an endangered species in New Hampshire, but biologists have been taking steps to ensure a healthy and successful population, and it looks like their efforts are paying off.

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Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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