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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W01 Jillian Kilborn – Wildlife Biologist

Welcome to Warden’s Watch WILD, where we feature short conversations with wildlife professionals from all over North America and beyond. In our first episode, Wayne introduces us to Jillian Kilborn, a Wildlife Biologist for New Hampshire Fish & Game who has researched and tracked the American marten for nearly twenty years.  

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • The inspiration for podcasting
  • The pine marten project
  • Working with trappers
  • Marten habitat and population
  • What is a marten?
  • Removed from state list of threatened species
  • Resource competition with fisher
  • Where to find American marten

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

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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076X – HUNT NEW ZEALAND WITH BRAD DANNEFAERD

In this bonus addition to Episode 76, New Zealand’s Brad Dannefaerd describes hunting in his home country, along with some practices and regulations many of our listeners may find surprising!

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Generous daily duck limits
  • Year-round hunting
  • Seven different types of deer
  • No season, no license, no limit
  • Hunting in national parks
  • Spotlighting and night hunting
  • No natural predators 
  • Guided vs. Independent hunts
  • Post-WWII population explosion
  • Overpopulation damage to natural environment
  • Professional hunters employed by Dept. of Conservation

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Cover Art: Ashley Hannett

Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches

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075 Heidi Murphy – New Hampshire

Fans of the Animal Planet television series North Woods Law will recognize Sgt. Heidi Murphy, an 18-year veteran Conservation Officer with New Hampshire Fish & Game, and the state’s first and only female CO. She has been an active member of the Advanced Search and Rescue Team, instructs courses for Fish and Game’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program, and was awarded the Shikar-Safari International Wildlife Officer of the Year in 2015. In this episode, Heidi and Wayne discuss some of her more memorable cases, what drew her to a career in wildlife management, and her hopes to attract more women to the profession.

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Sovereign Sportsman Solutions

“A Cowboy in the Woods” Book

Hunt of a Lifetime

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International Wildlife Crimestoppers

Here’s what we discuss:

  • 18 years on duty
  • Only female officer on staff
  • Don’t need to fit a “box” to become a game warden
  • Attracting more women into the profession
  • Need to be passionate about job
  • Moving from Lieutenant to Sergeant
  • A boat at dawn is a pretty nice office
  • Work smarter
  • Busy Search & Rescue area
  • Bringing loved ones home
  • Sending rescuers into danger
  • Twenty-six hour days
  • Turkey magnet
  • Sometimes you get lucky
  • A memorable moose case
  • Filming North Woods Law
  • Inspiring the next generations of game wardens
  • Becoming an Outdoors-Woman
  • Teachers make good game wardens – and vice versa
  • Following clues to get to the facts
  • On the spot necropsies
  • Variety is the greatest part of the job
  • Networking with game wardens from other states
  • Keeping conservation relevant

Credits

Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Social Media: Stacey DesRoches

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074 The Ellises – Father & Son Game Wardens

Lee Ellis knew he wanted to be a South Carolina game warden from the time he was a teenager. His son Hunter considered a few different occupations before realizing his destiny was in his father’s footsteps. Listen as they discuss their respective career paths, the unique benefits and challenges of growing up in a game warden family, and the changes they’ve each seen through the years. They may be Captain and Officer, but at the end of the day, they’re family. 

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“A Cowboy in the Woods” Book

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International Wildlife Crimestoppers

Here’s what we discuss:

  • Not the first South Carolina father/son warden team
  • Hunter always wanted to be a game warden… sort of
  • Not a lot of dads can say they work with their kids
  • Perseverance paid off for Lee
  • The Swiss army knife of law enforcement
  • Shrimp baiting
  • It’s all about preserving nature
  • Education and enforcement go hand in hand
  • Take One Make One program
  • Non-traditional law enforcement role; it’s a lifestyle, not a job
  • Family support is essential
  • Cat and mouse
  • Everyone knows the game warden
  • Adapt using technology, but keep your roots
  • How to catch an alligator
  • President of International Wildlife Crimestoppers
  • Hosting the 2021 IWC conference
  • Telling wardens’ stories is key
  • Promoting positive interactions
  • Encouraging the next generation

073 Scott Gray – Reformed Poacher

Wayne, Lt. Jim Kneeland, and reformed poacher Scott Gray gather to discuss Scott’s poaching scheme that started in the 1990s. He took poaching to a new level. He practiced at home to see how how quiet he could make his weapons, buried a freezer in his shed, and believe it or not, once took the warden’s entry test. Wayne discusses with Scott and Lt. Kneeland, Scott’s tactics, preparation, and to what extent he took his illegal craft, and how it all changed one day.

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Thin Green Line Podcast

Sovereign Sportsman Solutions

“A Cowboy in the Woods” Book

Hunt of a Lifetime

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International Wildlife Crime Stoppers