AWARDS, TRANSFERS, RETIREMENTS


Benge Brown

After 30 years serving the Department and the State of Wyoming, Thermopolis game warden Benge Brown retired on April 12, 2022. Benge started as a trainee in the Sheridan region in April of 1992. In November of that same year, Benge moved to his first warden district, the newly created West Rawlins district. After 15 years in Rawlins, Benge moved to Thermopolis in 2007 where he served for the remainder of his career. Benge has done an outstanding job in building landowner relationships in the districts he has worked. His straightforward and candid style allowed him to help move Department goals forward. As an example, Benge was key to facilitating the creation of the Copper Mountain Hunter Management Area allowing the Department to address elk populations concerns on private land on Copper Mountain.


Chris Teter

Sundance Game Warden Chris Teter has announced his intent to retire June 1 after 33 years of service to the state. Chris started his career in the Laramie Region as a game warden in 1989. He was promoted to the East Sundance game warden district in December of 1990. In 2003, the Department vacated the second Sundance game warden position and Chris took on the responsibility of a much larger warden district in an area with a long history of complex wildlife management challenges.

Chris has been recognized several times for his exceptional work. In 2009 he earned the Shikar-Safari Officer of the Year Award for Wyoming. In 2013, the Wyoming Peace Officers Association named him the Wyoming Peace Officer of the Year and in 2022, Chris was named the Wyoming Game Wardens Association Officer of the Year. Chris has served as the Casper Region's firearms instructor for more than 30 years. Chris has had a far-reaching positive impact on this agency and the state's wildlife.

His professionalism, work ethic, dedication and unquestionable integrity has made him a role model for others to look up to. His ability to handle tough situations with a thoughtful and pragmatic approach and the ability to handle difficult people with respect and civility is admirable.


Mitch Renteria

South Riverton Game Warden Mitch Renteria recently accepted a job as a threatened and endangered species biologist in Nebraska. Mitch started his career with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in December, 2015. After completing the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in April, 2016, Mitch was assigned to the Laramie Region. Mitch was selected as the Cheyenne Senior Game Warden in December, 2016 where he served until his promotion to the South Riverton Senior Game Warden position in January, 2019.

Mitch did an outstanding job as a senior game warden in Cheyenne and South Riverton and was very involved in youth education and other public engagement events while carrying out his other game warden responsibilities. He represented the department well throughout his career and he will be missed.



Jordan Kraft – South Pinedale Game Warden
2021 Shikar Safari International Wildlife Officer of the Year


Kelly Todd – Laramie Access Game Warden
2021 Wyoming Game Wardens Association Officer of the Year


WYOMING WILDLIFE – THE FOUNDATION
Outdoor Hall of Fame Inductees
Wyoming Game Wardens Association Members

2016 Inductee

MARK BRUSCINO – Mark retired in June, 2013 as the Trophy Game Supervisor and began his G&F career as a fish biologist in the Laramie Region in 1984. In 1988 Mark became the Lovell Game Warden and later transferred to the Grizzly Bear Specialist position in Lander. A significant portion of Mark's career was spent handling and mitigating large carnivore/human conflicts, which is very important, and at times, contentious work. He spent thousands of hours in Wyoming's most remote and wild places investigating bear, mountain lion and wolf conflicts and depredations. He worked extensively with those who made a living in bear and wolf country – livestock producers. His ability to work with people coupled with his knowledge and understanding of wildlife was key in resolving conflicts. It didn't take long before he became recognized as a leading national and international expert on investigating depredations and resolving conflict.

2015 Inductee

JERRY GALLES – The often–used description of Wyoming as a small town with long streets rings true to the people here because there are so many personal connections and because of individuals like Jerry Galles. He is a hub for those who care about the future of this “small town” especially in the sphere of people who are passionate about wildlife, the outdoors, hunting and fishing. He binds together those who share these values and interests because those who encounter Galles have been impacted by his character and kindness.

Beyond the way he treats people is also an incredibly deep commitment to Wyoming’s outdoor way of life. In a world where time translates to money, the way someone spends their time shows their life’s priorities. Galles has invested thousands upon thousands of hours into conservation. He has poured himself into efforts supporting all manner of wildlife by giving substantially to groups including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, Muley Fanatics, the National Wild Turkey Foundation, the Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot, the Natrona County Land Use Committee, the Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and in fact the list goes on from there.

Listing all of the groups Galles is a part of is one way to illustrate the breadth of his passions and the depth of his knowledge. But, his involvement has been about more than attending meetings and giving, which he has done generously – it includes all aspects of conservation. As a young child he made the outdoors, hunting and fishing a big part of his life and he has been a lifelong learner, getting involved in wildlife stewardship from the ground up. Galles has developed experience and understanding about habitat, migration, herd dynamics, the importance of hunting and angling, regulations and land use. He also is a keen participant in making wildlife conservation work by seeking allies, fundraising and engaging with the general public. Galles was also a stalwart and enthusiastic volunteer at the annual Hunting and Fishing Heritage Expo in Casper.

Galles’ background and abilities contributed to him playing an instrumental role in several major wildlife management efforts. For instance he helped craft and get passed the policy that led to the gray wolf coming off of the endangered species list, similarly he was a part of Wyoming’s leadership on sage grouse management and grizzly bear recovery.

Throughout his life, and especially as a Game and Fish Commissioner, Galles put a special emphasis on ethical hunting practices. Above all he has made those practices and that philosophy part of his life and has taught it to many others, starting with his daughters who are also passionate about the outdoors.

Galles is a statesman for wildlife. His involvement in conservation has come at all levels and his enthusiasm and care for this heritage fosters action in others. That is imperative for the success, viability and relevance of wildlife management for the future. Volunteerism and philanthropy at Galles’ level has provided stewardship for what is one of the keys to Wyoming’s incredible quality of life: our wildlife and great outdoors.

2012 Inductees

Dave Bragonier – Serving as a Wyoming Game Warden for more than 30 years, the name Dave Bragonier was synonymous with wildlife law enforcement in Wyoming. Through his tenure with the Game and Fish he served as game warden in Baggs, Kaycee, Dayton, and Riverton, and was best known for his tenure as Cody Game warden, where he served for more than 20 years. On his retirement from the Game and Fish he volunteered with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and later served as president of that organization where he participated in national wildlife issues. To this day, he continues to be involved in wildlife issues, frequently lecturing on conservation topics at museums, libraries, and other public forums.

Rex Corsi – As former chief game warden with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Rex Corsi has done numerous things that have affected the direction of wildlife management and law enforcement in Wyoming. Before becoming chief game warden, Corsi served as a fisheries biologist and also served as game warden in Jackson, Jeffrey City, Cody, Tensleep, and Worland. He served as chief game warden from 1972-1989. Under his leadership he initiated one of the first non–game wildlife programs among the states and was involved with the prevention of legislation to allow big game ranching into Wyoming. His policies were crucial to forming a solid foundation for the continuation of science–based wildlife management in Wyoming.

2011 INDUCTEES


JAY LAWSON


GOVENOR DAVE FREUDENTHAL


GEORGE WRAKESTRAW

 

2009 INDUCTEES


TERRY CLEVELAND

 

2007 INDUCTEES


CHARLES “CHUCK” WARD

2004 INDUCTEES


CAL KING


D.C. NOWLIN

 

 

WYOMING GAME WARDENS ASSOCIATION OFFICER OF THE YEAR

Initiated in 1988, to honor an officer for the previous year’s service.

Nominated by any member of the Association, although each Regional Director is asked to provide at least one name and a writeup of the individual.

Winner is selected by the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and the previous two years winners. In case of a tie, the Executive Officer casts a vote. Winner is announced at the WGWA banquet at the annual meeting.

Winner is offered an expenses paid trip to the annual NAWEOA meeting in the summer. Winner also receives an engraved plaque.

Letters of nomination are sent to the Chief Game Warden for inclusion in their respective personnel files.

CRITERIA:

  • Member of the WGWA
  • Law enforcement work ethic
  • Wildlife management work ethic
  • Public involvement and relationships
  • WGWA involvement
  • Morale contributions
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Worker cooperation and assistance
  • Professionalism
  • Favorable attitude
  • New solutions/Problem solving
  • Inter and Intra agency cooperation

1987 – Barry Floyd, Sundance Game Warden
1988 – Tim Fagan, Cody Damage Control Warden
1989 – John Demaree, Laramie Damage Control Warden
1990 – Scott Talbott, Newcastle Game Warden
1991 – Mark Bruscino, Lovell Game Warden
1992 – Russ Pollard, Statewide Law Enforcement Coordinator
1993 – Dave Hays, Douglas Game Warden
1994 – Neil Hymas, Cokeville Game Warden
1995 – Jim Oudin, Cody Wildlife Investigator
1996 – Ron Iversen, Baggs Game Warden
1997 – Fred Herbel, Jackson Wildlife Investigator
1998 – Bruce Scigliano, North Gillette Game Warden
1999 – Lin Bashford, Cody Wildlife Investigator
2000 – Mac Black, Powell Game Warden
2001 – Duane Hyde, Afton Game Warden
2002 – Joe Gilbert, Torrington Game Warden
2003 – Terry Cram, Sheridan Game Warden
2004 – Dennis Almquist, Pinedale Game Warden
2005 – Alan Osterland, Dayton Game Warden
2006 – Brad Hovinga, Big Piney Game Warden
2007 – Tim Fuchs, South Jackson Game Warden
2008 – Brian Nesvik, South Pinedale Game warden
2009 – Duane Kerr, Green River Game Warden
2010 – Jim Gregory, Green River Wildlife Investigator
2011 – Matt Lentsch, Worland Game Warden
2012 – Chris Teter, Sundance Game Warden
2013 – Scott Browning, Lander Wildlife Investigator
2014 – Daniel Beach, West Casper Game Warden
2015 – Bill Robertson, Greybull Game Warden
2016 – Dustin Shorma, Dayton Game Warden
2017 – Dustin Kirsch, South Gillette Game Warden
2018 – Bill Brinegar, South Laramie Game Warden
2019 – Brian Debolt, Large Carnivore Conflict Coordinator – Lander
2020 – Afton Game Warden James Hobbs
2021 – Laramie Access Game Warden Kelly Todd

WYOMING GAME WARDENS ASSOCATION
PRESIDENT'S AWARD

Initiated in 2019, the WGWA President's Award was established to recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to the WGWA, Wildlife Law Enforcement and Wyoming's wildlife. The President’s Award is reserved for individuals or groups whose dedication and diligence to these causes are truly extraordinary and unmatched in merit. This award MAY be given out annually by the WGWA President with input and guidance of the WGWA executive board.

2018 – Trey and Jason Sherwood, Laramie Regional Access Coordinator/Game Warden
2020 – John Demaree, Retired Laramie Wildlife Investigator

WYOMING GAME WARDENS ASSOCIATION
SUPPORT PERSON OF THE YEAR

Initiated in 1994, to honor a non-law enforcement person for the previous year’s service to Wyoming wildlife law enforcement.

Nominated by any member of the Association, although each Regional Director is asked to provide at least one name and a writeup of the individual.

Winner is selected by the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and in case of a tie, the Executive Officer. Winner is announced at the WGWA banquet during the annual meeting.

Winner is offered an expenses paid trip to the annual WGWA meeting to receive the award. Winner also receives an engraved plaque. Other nominees receive a certificate of appreciation.

Nominees do not need to be employees of the Department.

CRITERIA:

  • Law enforcement assistance
  • Public involvement and relationships
  • Morale contributions
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Worker cooperation and assistance
  • Professionalism
  • Favorable attitude
  • New solutions/Problem solving
  • Inter and Intra agency cooperation

1994 – Kevin Hurley, Thermopolis Biologist
1995 – Ron Lockwood, Kemmerer Biologist
1996 – Tom Stoker, SALECS Operator
1997 – Ron Arnold, WGFD Attorney General
1998 – Olin Oedekoven, Gillette Biologist
1999 – Dr. Beth Williams, Wyoming State Vet Lab
2000 – Nancey Leibert, Cody Office Manager
2001 – Bart Kroger, Douglas Biologist
2002 – Judge Scott Cole, Platte County
2003 – WGFD Forensic Lab (Tom Moore, Dee Dee Hawk, Kim Sargeant, Scott Sharpe)
2004 – Judge Frank Zebre, Sublette County
2005 – Ralph Boynton, Sublette County Attorney
2006 – Jeff Obrecht, WGFD I&E Specialist – Cheyenne
2007 – Bea Pepper, Wildlife Division Program Manager – Cheyenne
2008 – Levi Martin, Senior Assistant Attorney General
2009 – Stephanie Bomar, Sheridan Region clerical specialist
2010 – Joe Tenant, SALECS Dispatcher
2011 – Jack Streeter, Gillette Brand Inspector
2012 – Darrell Fun, Assistant US Attorney
2013 – Park County Attorney’s Office
2014 – Danny Walker, Retired Assistant State Archeologist
2015 – Seth Roseberry, Sheridan Region Habitat & Access Coordinator
2016 – Rene Schell, Lander Information and Education Specialist
2018 – Bryan Kent, SALECS Dispatcher
2019 – Dr. Richard Wihera, Psychological Dimensions Senior Psychologist
2020 – Jenny Staeben, Campbell County Deputy County Attorney, Wyoming Attorney’s General Office
2021 – Christopher LaRosa, Sheridan County Deputy County Attorney

WYOMING GAME WARDENS ASSOCIATION
WILDLIFE MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Initiated in 2014, an award to honor a wildlife manager for the previous year’s service to Wyoming wildlife management.

Nominated by any member of the Association or any other wildlife professional.

Winner is selected by the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and in case of a tie, the Executive Officer. Winner is announced at the WGWA banquet during the annual meeting.

Winner is offered an expenses paid trip to the annual WGWA meeting to receive the award. Winner also receives an engraved plaque. Other nominees receive a certificate of appreciation.

Nominees do not need to be employees of the Department.

CRITERIA:

  • Wildlife management work ethic
  • Public involvement and relationships
  • Morale contributions
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Worker cooperation and assistance
  • Professionalism
  • Favorable attitude
  • New solutions/Problem solving
  • Inter and Intra agency cooperation

2014 – Tom Easterly, Greybull Wildlife Biologist (Posthumously)
2015 – Dean Clause, Pinedale Wildlife Biologist
2016 – Greg Hiatt, Sinclair Wildlife Biologist
2017 – Martin Hicks, Wheatland Wildlife Biologist
2018 – Jeff Short, Mountain View Wildlife Biologist
2019 – Erika Peckham, Gillette Wildlife Biologist
2020 – Ben Wise, Jackson Disease and Habitat Biologist

SHIKAR SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL
WYOMING OFFICER OF THE YEAR

This yearly award is sponsored by the Safari Club International. Each recipient receives an engraved plaque and a $500 donation is made in their name to the Wildlife Officers Memorial Fund. The WGFD allows the officer to attend an out–of–state training conference of their choice. Officers are nominated by their peers and selected by the WGFD administration. The award is presented annually at the Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition Banquet.

1968 – Bill Morris, Cody Supervisor
1969 – Dewey Henderson, Laramie Supervisor
1970 – Max Long, Rock Springs Game Warden
1971 – Darwin Creek, Pinedale Game Warden
1972 – Paul Breed, Sheridan Game Warden
1973 – Dave Bragonier, Cody Game Warden
1974 – Jim Bradley, Green River Enforcement Specialist
1975 – Ray Arzy, Laramie Game Warden
1976 – George Carson, Green River Game Warden
1977 – Allen Round, Rock Springs Game Warden
1978 – Dennis Smith, Rawlins Game Warden
1979 – Bob Sexton, Laramie Enforcement Specialist
1980 – Rick Pallister, Gillette Game Warden
1981 – Russ Pollard, Douglas Enforcement Specialist
1982 – Craig Sax, Mountain View Game Warden
1983 – Terry Cleveland, Casper Supervisor
1984 – Gary Brown, Saratoga Game Warden
1985 – Tim Fuchs, Lusk Game Warden
1986 – Gregg Arthur, Laramie Enforcement Specialist
1987 – Barry Floyd, Sundance Game Warden
1988 – Biff Burton, Gillette Game Warden
1989 – Kay Bowles, Dubois Game Warden
1990 – Scott Norelius, Sundance Game Warden
1991 – Scott Talbott, Newcastle Game Warden
1992 – Terry Cram, Sheridan Game Warden
1993 – Dave Avey, Casper Game Warden
1994 – Jim Oudin, Cody Wildlife Investigator
1995 – Joe Gilbert, Torrington Game Warden
1996 – Cole Thompson, Dubois Game Warden
1997 – Scott Edberg, Glenrock Game Warden
1998 – Gary Shorma, Sheridan Supervisor
1999 – Tim Fagan, Cody Game Warden
2000 – Bruce Scigliano, Gillette Game Warden
2001 – Alan Osterland, Dayton Game Warden
2002 – Dennis Almquist, Pinedale Game Warden
2003 – John Demaree, Laramie Wildlife Investigator
2004 – Bob Trebelcock, Lander Game Warden
2005 – Fred Herbel, Jackson Wildlife Investigator
2006 – Rod Lebert, Douglas Game Warden
2007 – Brian Nesvik, Pinedale Game Warden
2008 – John Lund , Casper Game Warden
2009 – Chris Teter, Sundance Game Warden
2010 – Chris Queem, Powell Game Warden
2011 – Matt Lentsch, Worland Game Warden
2012 – Bill Haley, South Laramie Game Warden
2013 – Travis Crane, North Cody Game Warden
2014 – Brad Hovinga, Lander Game Warden
2015 – Todd Graham, Afton Game Warden
2016 – Adam Hymas, Big Piney Game Warden
2017 – Dustin Kirsch, South Gillette Game Warden
2018 – Grant Gerharter, South Cody Game Warden
2019 – Jim Seeman, Buffalo Game Warden
2020 – Kyle Lash, South Jackson Game Warden
2021 – Jordan Kraft, South Pinedale Game Warden

WYOMING PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION

WYOMING PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION (WPOA)
Founded in 1923, the Wyoming Peace Officers Association is the largest professional peace officer organization in Wyoming. It is comprised of all commissioned law enforcement officers in the State and serves as an umbrella association representing all facets of the law enforcement profession.
All Wyoming Game Wardens are paid members to the Wyoming Peace Officers Association.
GAME WARDENS WHO SERVED AS PRESIDENTS OF THE WPOA
1971 – Bill Morris, Assistant Chief Game Warden
1977 – Paul Breed, Sheridan Game Warden
1981 – Dave Bragonier, Cody Game Warden
1985 – Jim Johnston, Sundance Game Warden
1989 – Steve Smith, Watercraft and Law Enforcement Coordinator
1994 – Lin Bashford, Cody Wildlife Investigator
1998 – Kathy Crofts, Rawlins Game Warden
2003 – Scott Browning, Lander Wildlife Investigator
2008 – Bruce Scigliano, Sheridan Game Warden
2013 – Gary Boyd, Glenrock Game Warden
2017 – Matt Withroder, Casper Access Coordinator Warden

WYOMING PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OFFICER OF THE YEAR
Every year since 1957, the WPOA awards one officer selected from all law enforcement agencies within the State as the WPOA Officer of the Year. Criteria for selection of the award includes:
An officer whose character is above reproach.
An officer who is competent, knowledgeable, and capable.
An officer who promotes law enforcement.
An officer who shows professionalism.
An officer who performs an act of outstanding service which brings credit to his department, community and himself.
An officer who designs and implements a program which has major impact on law enforcement in the State of Wyoming.
An officer who designs and implements a program which has major impact on law enforcement within his agency.
An officer who is active in and promotes community programs.
Consideration should be given to outstanding years of service to law enforcement in the State of Wyoming.
Consideration should be given to an officer who has provided progressive leadership of a law enforcement unit.

Game Wardens Selected as WPOA Peace Officer of the Year
1972 – Jim Johnston, Thermopolis Game Warden
1977 – Pete Muchmore, Medicine Bow Game Warden
1984 – Steve Smith, Watercraft and Law Enforcement Coordinator
1988 – Paul Breed, Livestock Inspector and Retired Laramie, Sheridan, and Gillette Game Warden
2006 – Lin Bashford, Cody Wildlife Investigator
2013 – Chris Teter, Sundance Game Warden
2015 – Dustin Shorma, Dayton Game Warden

RECENT NEW HIRES

Gavin Dougherty – Green River Game Warden
Elise Huysman – Laramie Game Warden
Jesse Niemeir – Laramie Game Warden

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