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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W03 Snowshoe Hare with Alexej Sirén

In this episode of Warden’s Watch WILD, we meet Alexej Sirén, a Maine-based biologist and postdoctoral researcher, and arguably an authority on many large and small mammals in the northeastern US.  In this episode, Alexej discusses his work studying the snowshoe hare, including how their range and numbers affect a surprising variety of plants and animals, and the specific challenges climate change has created for the population.

Read more about Alexej’s work with snowshoe hares here: NH Wildlife Journal – Mad as a March Hare

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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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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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82 Col. Clyde Warner – Pennsylvania Fish & Boat

With more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers, 4,000 inland lakes and ponds, and 120 miles of coastal waters, there is no shortage of opportunities for a career on the waters of Pennsylvania. In this episode, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement Col. Clyde Warner describes the commonwealth’s recruiting initiative, the many advantages of joining his agency, and much more.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Can Waterway Conservation Officers deal with Game Commission issues?
  • All officers are cross-trained
  • Officers from both agencies help each other
  • Stocking 3.2 million trout
  • The importance of fish hatcheries
  • NASBLA accreditation and cadet training
  • The importance of boating skills
  • Taking action against black market reptile & amphibian sales
  • Dual agencies allow each to focus on their respective mandates
  • Implementing recruitment program to increase candidate pool
  • “It doesn’t get any better than this”
  • Unexpected perks and advantages

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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81 Rachel Thurner-Diaz – Pennsylvania Fish & Boat

Rachel Thurner-Diaz is just the seventh woman to serve as a Pennsylvania Waterways Conservation Officer. Although she grew up fishing, hunting, and boating, she didn’t opt for a career in the outdoors until she’d started down a different path. Today, after seven years, two kids, and being honored as PFBC’s Officer of the year in 2020, Thurner-Diaz knows she’s exactly where she’s meant to be.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Growing up in the outdoors
  • The path to becoming a Waterways Conservation Officer
  • First week of work is busiest of the year
  • Field training on the water
  • Four female officers statewide
  • Family life and flexible scheduling
  • Fish stocking is a public event
  • What is float stocking?
  • Golden rainbow trout
  • FishBoatPA app displays where fish are being stocked
  • Non-residents can take boat safety courses
  • Community outreach
  • Environmental law enforcement
  • Snakes!
  • No current illegal exotic animal regulations
  • Working patrol until just before giving birth
  • Flexibility to find your niche
  • PFBC command structure
  • Trout stockers don’t eat much trout

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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80 Tim Schaeffer – Pennsylvania Fish & Boat

Pennsylvania may have been named for its woodlands, but the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission believes the waters are the real attraction. Tim Schaeffer is the Executive Director of the PFBC, the agency dedicated to protecting, conserving and enhancing the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources, and providing fishing and boating opportunities for everyone. Join us as Tim describes the agency’s mission and its many public outreach initiatives – including a popular volunteer fish stocking program – and a mobile app that provides users a one-stop portal to the many activities the Keystone State’s waters have to offer.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • What is the Fish & Boat Commission?
  • Agencies complement each other
  • Founding Fish
  • Volunteer fish stocking program
  • “You can’t beat Spring in PA”
  • FishBoatPA mobile app
  • “Spend more time fishing, less time worrying about where to get a license”
  • Always looking to do things better
  • Online/web-based coupled with in-person courses
  • Trout in the Classroom
  • Cold weather life jacket law
  • Life jackets are more comfortable than ever
  • How to fit a life jacket
  • The importance of clean waterways
  • Fishing with the family

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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079 Chad Eyler – PA Game Commission: Command Staff

In our final installment from the PA Game Commission, Wayne talks with PGC Special Permits Division chief Chad Eyler. Besides being an administrator for Pennsylvania’s Operation Game Thief program and the architect of one of the most successful wildlife crime reporting lines in the US, he also has the unique perspective of having worked for all three state conservation agencies. In this episode, Chad explains the formation, structure, and funding of the agency, the Deputy Game Warden program, and much more.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • A good game warden story
  • Leader in wildlife forensics
  • Forensics skills can apply to all aspects of the job
  • Formation of the Game Commission
  • Refuges and ranges
  • Game lands help fund the agency
  • Low-cost hunting and trapping licenses
  • Explaining the Deputy Warden program
  • Almost a hobby
  • Hundreds of thousands of hunters
  • Keeping the agency moving forward
  • Issued a typewriter and a revolver
  • Refocusing priorities and adapting with the times
  • “It literally takes my breath away”

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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078 Brandon Pfister – PA Game Commission: The Veteran

Continuing our visit to Pennsylvania, Wayne sits down with State Game Warden Brandon Pfister, a former restaurateur who joined the Game Commission as a Deputy Warden in 2008. In this wide-ranging conversation, Brandon talks about some memorable cases, going viral on TikTok, and even shares some tips for a prize winning pie crust!

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Snakes!
  • If at first you don’t succeed…
  • Deputy game warden program
  • The elk whistle and the viral TikTok
  • The importance of outreach
  • Everyone makes mistakes
  • Cooking wild game
  • Talking with kids
  • Humanizing the badge
  • Snakes!
  • Connecting with the next generation
  • Working together toward a common goal

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Cover Art: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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077 Zach Salsgiver – PA Game Commission: The Rookie

On the eve of graduation, Wayne sits down at the Pennsylvania Game Commission with Zach Salsgiver, one of 24 members of the latest class of the Ross Leffler School of Conservation in Brockway, PA. Established in 1932, the school – part college, part police academy, and part museum – was the first of its kind in the US. Listen as Zach explains what drew him to a career in wildlife, and shares some of his experiences from his ten-month journey toward becoming a Pennsylvania game warden.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Academy attached to HQ building
  • Day one can be a culture shock
  • Switching careers
  • Expanding recruitment into other states
  • Academy history
  • Training for anything
  • The most eastern elk herd
  • Seeing wildlife in a different light
  • Job carries many risks 
  • Verbal judo and understanding body language
  • Fostering the next generation of hunters
  • The class that gets tased together… 
  • Wildlife forensics training
  • Building a 44-week family
  • Wayne’s advice for new wardens
  • Never finish learning

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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