066 The Colebrook Murders Part II: My Badge Saved My Life

In this episode our two hosts become an interviewer and an interviewee. In 1997, a rogue gunman began a violent rampage in the town of Colebrook. One of the responding officers, Warden Wayne Saunders of New Hampshire was injured in an attempt to apprehend the subject. The badge he wore on that day deflected the bullet shot by the suspect and saved his life. In this episode Wayne tells his personal account of that day and how it affected his life.

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Here’s What We Discuss:

  • Episode dedicated to Senior Corporal Jeff Neal of Hope, Arkansas
  • Dedicated to Scott Phillips and Leslie Lord, New Hampshire State Police
  • Survived a critical incident in a small town
  • A regular day with a field day the next day
  • Report of a stolen cruiser, possibly by a kid
  • “Turn off your blue lights”
  • Jurisdictional issues in mind
  • Dust hanging under a bridge pass
  • Man with a campaign hat pointing a gun 15 yards away
  • Cover and concealment
  • Everything was in slow motion, yelled at people in a restaurant to leave 
  • Backed up slow, then fast into a tree
  • I didn’t know what was going on
  • Center of the badge was shot off
  • Ricochet of the 7 rounds
  • Don’t my boots; sorry I wrecked the cruiser
  • Shredded my bicep, scarred to this day
  • Found out what happened from the news
  • Staying in the fight even when injured
  • From the hospital to funerals 
  • Brothers holding me up
  • Improving communication, switched rifles
  • New York response team
  • It takes a horrible incident for improvement
  • The only woman that made me cry: physical therapist breaking down scar tissue
  • Negative comments made me transfer
  • Critical incident fallout; learning experience
  • Worse for your partner to get shot than to be the victim
  • Physical and mental pain
  • I always wanted to be the cowboy in the woods, no one would take that for me
  • Brought game wardens to state police with shooting pay support
  • We’re always on duty
  • More tools available now
  • Pack of wardens
  • Usually not next to cruiser
  • People hide and hide things in the woods
  • Educate the public on what we go through

065 The Colebrook Murders Part I – Ft. Richard Adams Carey

Richard Carey is the author of the book “In That Evil Day” in which he discusses the events of the violent 1997 shooting in Colebrook, New Hampshire in which Wayne Sanders was shot. Richard grew up in Connecticut and attended Harvard. He moved around the country while writing various books that are acclaimed by The New York Times, Alaska Magazine, and more. In this interview, Carry explains his background, research for the book, the community around Colebrook, and much more.

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“A Cowboy in the Woods” Book

Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • The Colebrook Murders
  • Putting the puzzle pieces together
  • Not enough exposure on the event
  • Listings in a telephone book
  • Went about the book stupidly
  • Battle between burying the incident and opening up
  • Expected to “suck it up” after incidents
  • Challenge: freedom of information
  • Dissecting the documents; generosity of agencies
  • No sense of competition in law enforcement
  • Not a typical true crime book
  • Mindset of those in the community
  • Flirtations with militia groups
  • National problem with little reporting
  • Breakdown of the incident
  • The good out of the incident
  • Civilian heroes 
  • Outsider looking in to insider looking in
  • Book title

064 Lonnie Sushil – Florida

Lonnie Sushil is a game warden with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (SA), and is the Commander of the SA Special Operations Group (SOG). Florida’s SOG group was created after 9/11 and focuses on homeland security as well as public service. Lonnie commands 14 operators in the alpha south region of the state. 

Our Sponsors: 

Thin Green Line Podcast

Sovereign Sportsman Solutions

“A Cowboy in the Woods” Book

Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • Merging of Thin Green Line into Warden’s Watch
  • Lonnie’s background
  • Creation of SOG in Florida
  • Duties of the group
  • Diversity of warden training
  • Ecosystem differences within Florida
  • SOG is a collateral duty
  • Collaborative training
  • Picking out the oddities
  • Academy and training
  • Female officers
  • Assess people up front

063 Todd Vandivert – Washington Part II

Todd Vandivert was a game warden for 34 years with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, and now writes books about his experiences. He worked both as a uniformed officer and also as an undercover officer, making multiple cases in each position. Todd’s work as an author is well-known, especially his book Operation Cody in which he breaks down his role in the operation. In this episode, Todd discusses his upbringing, work as a warden, and life as an author. 

Our Sponsors: 

Thin Green Line Podcast

Sovereign Sportsman Solutions

Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • Started with bighorn sheep
  • One toe in the water
  • Wildlife trafficker, cock fighting, and marijuana growth
  • Being a uniformed officer is more dangerous than undercover
  • Dangerous individual
  • Operation shut down early
  • Breaks to the media
  • The takedown
  • Detailing the cockfights
  • Didn’t write the book to make money
  • Small circles of people
  • Bigger busts undercover
  • Hard to kick a case down the road with a good case in your hands
  • Sturgeon caviar
  • Only would talk to Russians
  • Officer exchanges
  • 6 written books
  • Examine the crime scene: physical evidence but no suspect
  • The individual who didn’t lie
  • Rolled into a larger case
  • Put yourself in other’s shoes
  • Bear poop in my mouth

062 Todd Vandivert – Washington Part I

Todd Vandivert was a game warden for 34 years with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, and now writes books about his experiences. He worked both as a uniformed officer and an undercover officer, making multiple cases in each position. Todd’s work as an author is well-known, especially his book Operation Cody in which he breaks down his role in the operation. In this episode, Todd discusses his upbringing, work as a warden, and life as an author. 

Our Sponsors: 

Thin Green Line Podcast

Sovereign Sportsman Solutions

Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • 34 years as a game warden
  • Born in California
  • Love of the outdoors while raised in Virginia 
  • Plan was to go into the Navy; failed color vision test
  • Flying career came to an end, went into oceanography
  • Rethought decisions and went into forestry
  • Started working in a habitat area
  • Cameras everywhere
  • First posing
  • Work as an undercover
  • The issues with informants 
  • The case: hound hunting with lions
  • The “Kill ‘Em All Boys”
  • Conference
  • More exposure = more hazardous
  • Each state has different laws
  • Built a fake business: website, posters, business cards, etc
  • Best of the wild
  • Lawful stuff close to unlawful
  • Poacher within two days
  • Misrepresenting product is still illegal
  • Taking DNA
  • Rotted mountain lion and a paycheck
  • Dried dates as a decoy to Hong Kong
  • Growing operations and money laundering
  • Interior decorator setup
  • Entrapment debate

061 Chris Conroy, Scotland

Chris Conroy is the director of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board and a water bailiff. He graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in Applied Biology, and has over 25 years of experience working as an aquatic resource manager. Through his duties, he has developed an in-depth knowledge of freshwater, marine and estuarine resource management and the associated stresses, utilisation, and conservation demand. In this episode, we dive in to the lore around Loch Ness, the differences in enforcement, the specs of being a water bailiff, and more

Our Sponsors: 

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Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • Cover the Loch Ness waters in Scotland
  • Loch means lake
  • Fishery bailiff = fishery enforcement officer
  • Sightings of the Loch Ness monster
  • 20 miles wide, 700 feet deep 
  • Don’t work for the government; statutory powers
  • Lots of fisheries 
  • Differences in laws
  • Don’t carry firearms; gear differences
  • Good cases
  • Thermal imaging 
  • Enforcement and management
  • Topography
  • Fish counts
  • Intervention of impacts 
  • Issues with stocking fish
  • Collecting evidence
  • 162 offenses last year
  • Pulley system case
  • American vs Scottish bailiffs

060 For the Fallen – Justin Hurst, Texas EOW: March 17, 2007

Justin Hurst was a game warden who worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. A graduate of Texas A&M, he had a passion for the outdoors and worked to protect it. Even before he was a warden, he worked as a waterfowl guide and educated people on hunting. After 5 years of service as a warden, he was involved in an incident where a man was suspected of hunting illegally. While backing up another game warden on a pursuit, the suspect’s vehicle was spiked. As he got out, the suspect fired at the approaching wardens and deputies. Hurst was struck multiple times while returning fire, and was med-flighted to a nearby hospital. A day later, on his 34th birthday, Justin succumbed to his injuries. Justin is an example of an exemplary game warden with a strong work ethic and a desire to educate his community. 

His sacrifice will not be forgotten. 

Our Sponsors: 

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Hunt of a Lifetime

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International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • Chaplin Scott Mcintosh leads in prayer
  • Start of Justin’s love of wildlife
  • Dad, we need to help these hawks 
  • Love of duck and geese
  • Read the bands on geese
  • Went to Texas A&M, never went to a football game
  • Applied for the academy 
  • First of his class
  • Back home with people he knew
  • Make personal contacts with farmers and ranchers
  • A knocking at the door, a flashlight
  • Justin did not survive
  • His eyes were used as an organ donation
  • 25 game wardens at the house to support us
  • Kept the media away
  • 10 units involved in the incident
  • Dashcam video recorded
  • The pursuit 
  • Gets cornered at the cemetery and starts firing
  • Hits Justin; med-flighted to the hospital
  • I asked God “why did you take my son?”
  • Effects of a LEO death on the family
  • Weeks after, wardens were around 24/7
  • 500 law enforcement at Justin’s funeral
  • Cremated and released into the bay
  • Ashes put in Justin’s projects 
  • Offered life without parole; refused
  • Jury convicted him guilty of 1st degree murder with execution
  • All appeals denied
  • We pick the day he’s executed
  • A long process; very educational 
  • Only could bring a driver’s license the penitentiary 
  • He never said anything
  • Motorcycle groups revved engines during final statement
  • Parent groups for parents who lost LEO sons and daughters
  • Support of organizations
  • I want to make sure our wardens are supported
  • Justin wanted to educate and teach

059 For The Fallen – Arnold Magoon

Arnold Magoon was a game warden with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for 18 years. He worked his way up from a field warden to a supervisor, and was known to be fair but firm in how he enforced laws. As a warden, Arnold was well liked within the community he patrolled and was a role model for those around him. In 1978, a call about a late night shot came in while he was at home. He responded, and a suspected deer poacher assaulted him with his own flashlight, bludgeoning him to death. Arnold is the only warden that has died in the line of duty with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. 

His sacrifice will not be forgotten. 

Our Sponsors: 

Thin Green Line Podcast

Sovereign Sportsman Solutions

Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • For the fallen/police week
  • Wayne’s formal Colonel as a guest
  • Dangers of being a law enforcement officer
  • Roll of honor – 51 names
  • Won’t give this up until I die
  • Most challenging group I work with
  • It has to be done right
  • It was a normal day and he never came back
  • Take the time to tell people what they mean to you
  • Moment of silence
  • Poem
  • Jeff Whipple 
  • Arnold Magoon is the only warden who has died in Vermont
  • Moving on from tragedy and remember
  • Warden to supervisor 
  • Ready to fry by the fourth of July
  • Heard a gunshot and went out
  • Goes to confront the poachers
  • Put an identification on the vehicle
  • Throwing out evidence 
  • Approaching the vehicle: 2 men and 1 women
  • Son’s friend and knows him personally
  • Disappointment and frustration
  • Lunged for the flashlight
  • Left to die
  • Not uncommon to not wear a gun belt
  • Could happen to anyone
  • Monument created

054 The Case of Kate Matrosova featuring Ty Gagne

Kate Matrosova was a highly experienced hiker from Southern Siberia, Russia. She came to America on a student visa and successfully graduated with a masters degree in Financial Engineering. Though she worked for many firms on Wall Street, she also had a passion for the outdoors. She had a passion for climbing big mountains such as Kilimanjaro and McKinley, and was an active marathon runner. At 32 years old, she hiked the Presidential Mountain Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire carrying light gear for a day hike. Unfortunately, she never made it out alive. The weather conditions reached -85F and 141 MPH winds. Rescue teams attempted to reach her after she activated her communications device, but to no avail. Kate Matrosova was discovered a day later.

Ty Gagne is the CEO of Primex, a public entity risk pool based in New Hampshire, and is also a certified wilderness first responder. He wrote the book Where You’ll Find Me about Kate’s experiences and those who were a part of her recovery. In this podcast, he discusses his own personal involvement in the outdoors, his perspective on Kate’s case, and how he wrote the book.

Thin Green Line Podcast

Copper Pig Brewery

Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

NH Wildlife Heritage

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • The book Where You Will Find Me
  • Ty and Wayne’s experience with hiking
  • The easy mistakes of hiking
  • The beginning of Kate’s story
  • The White Mountains
  • Challenges of winter hiking
  • The conditions of Kate’s hike
  • Her plan and the issues around it
  • Kate’s drive to succeed
  • The group that got her out
  • The issue with personal location devices
  • Ty’s interviews with on-scene wardens
  • The drive of law enforcement and how to keep them safe
  • Mental health of volunteers and law enforcement
  • The changes at altitude
  • Retracing Kate’s story for a book
  • The good out of a tragedy

053 Carlos Gomez – Oklahoma Department of Wildlife – Part II

Carlos Gomez, a retired Game Warden for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife, sits down with Wayne in the continuation of his interview. Though now retired after a 41 year career, Carlos is still an active outdoorsman and a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation. In this episode, they discuss cases Carlos has been involved with and his interactions with other wardens.

Our Sponsors:

Thin Green Line Podcast

Copper Pig Brewery

Hunt of a Lifetime

Maine’s Operation Game Thief

NH Wildlife Heritage

International Wildlife Crime Stoppers

Here’s What We Discuss:

  • International Game Warden Magazine
  • Operation Cody
  • Interactions and cases with Todd A. Vandivert
  • The money-maker case
  • When to bluff
  • The praying poacher
  • Keeping the racks, donating the meat
  • 16 deer, 3 county warrants
  • Enjoy the cuffs
  • Poacher suicide

Credits
Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores
Producer/Editor: Jay Scott Ammann
Social Media/Marketing: Morgan Day