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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95 Kevin Behr – Ohio: Shot By A Poacher

Five days before Christmas 2020, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Kevin Behr was shot from behind while investigating a poaching operation.  Nearly two years and 15 surgeries later, he shares his remarkable story of survival, courage, and determination.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Incident occurred on the final day of deer gun season
  • Information about a chronic poacher operating in the area
  • Poacher had previously served prison time
  • Setting up a decoy in a rural area
  • Shooter was less than fifty feet away
  • Shot from behind with a 20-gauge slug
  • You feel being shot before you hear it
  • Reverted to training: communicate, move, shoot
  • Hit the emergency button on portable radio
  • Legs wouldn’t work
  • Goal was to stay alive until someone arrived
  • Felt like molten steel
  • Shattered pelvis, multiple organs damaged
  • Shock wave travelled through the skull
  • “Bring more combat gauze.”
  • Concerns about potential ambush
  • New goal: stay alive until EMTs arrived
  • In and out of consciousness
  • New goal: stay alive until landing at the hospital
  • Accept the fact that you have been shot
  • Use those few seconds to focus on training – and act
  • Requested the level one trauma centre
  • Milliseconds count
  • Shooter had a thermal scope – what did he see?
  • Offered no aid. Threw gun and ran.
  • Potentially more homicides in this felon’s future
  • Some light moments on a dark day
  • 28 days in ICU
  • Fifteen surgeries to date
  • The long road back
  • Your mindset matters
  • Most internal organs were damaged
  • Nobody gets a free pass from PTSD
  • Learning new limits
  • Making gains all the time
  • Spinning a positive from a negative
  • Training, tactics, and experience will get you through
  • Shooter sentenced to a total of nearly 15 years

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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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

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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88 Terry Hodges – Warden Force

Award winning author Terry Hodges is the creator of the popular Warden Force series of short stories, the true adventures of game wardens and the wildlife-destroying outlaws they pursue. Having been a California Fish & Game warden himself for over three decades, Terry writes with the special authority found only among those who have worn a badge on behalf of wildlife. In this episode, he shares some compelling – and often comical – stories of the legendary game warden who would become not only a mentor, but also the inspiration for the book that would launch a surprising new career.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Documenting history
  • The many tales of Ol’ Sabertooth
  • The first book
  • Learning to self-publish
  • Inventing an alter ego
  • Staying in the field after promotion
  • Frenchy’s last ride
  • Goose poaching in rice country
  • Snake gets sapped
  • Surprising a poacher deep in the woods
  • Sometimes moonshiners made good allies
  • Poacher escapes, but leaves Mercer a gift
  • Nine collections of short stories
  • From the latest collection: Death on Snake Mountain
  • Where to find the Warden Force series
  • In the works: two new books of Sabertooth stories

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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87 Eric & Ash Hannett – GypSeaLegs

Eric and Ashley Hannett are embarking on an adventure like no other – sailing the world while promoting conservation and sustainable living on their new YouTube channel, GypSeaLegs. In this episode, they share some triumphs – and some trials – they’ve faced while preparing for the first leg of their journey; sailing to the beautiful Bahamas, where they will begin repairs on a hurricane-damaged catamaran that will soon become their home.

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • We got married!
  • New YouTube channel: GypSeaLegs
  • Filming yourself doesn’t come naturally
  • Eric’s questionable podcast promotion techniques
  • The challenges of creating content
  • Google to the rescue
  • Sailing down the coast in October            
  • Rescuing the dinghy – an unplanned swim
  • Gorgeous weather, rough seas
  • Trailering back to Jersey
  • Second try: everything is closed!
  • Buying a bigger boat
  • Preparing to head to the Bahamas
  • “You’ll never win against Mother Nature.”
  • The importance of being resourceful and self-reliant
  • Hopes for the YouTube channel
  • Learning about other regions and cultures

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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