We will keep updating and changing the Game Wardens featured in the Meet Your Game Wardens Page.
MOORCROFT – Jacob Miller recently arrived in the Sheridan Region to temporarily serve as a game warden in the Moorcroft area, filling in behind longtime Moorcroft Game Warden John Davis who retired in early April.
A North Dakota native, Miller grew up on a ranch in the south-central part of the state. He attended college at Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota and graduated in spring 2015 with bachelor degrees in wildlife management and mathematics.
“I started out as a math education major,” Miller said, about his double degrees. “But growing up, I always loved being around wildlife. Hunting and fishing with my family are some of my fondest memories. I eventually decided I didn’t want to be tied to a classroom and I wanted to pursue a career where I would be outside for a good portion of it.”
After graduation, Miller accepted a technician job at the North Dakota Wildlife Health Laboratory in Bismarck where he assisted with research projects, deer surveys, mountain lion captures and other duties. Though he enjoyed the biological aspect of wildlife management, he spent time with local game wardens while at the lab and decided to enter the field of wildlife law enforcement.
“When I graduated I didn’t know if I wanted to be a warden or biologist,” he said. “But in the lab position I got the opportunity to work with a lot of game wardens and decided to switch to wildlife law enforcement as a focus of what I wanted to do.”
He was hired by North Dakota as a game warden in June 2016 and then attended the North Dakota Law Enforcement Academy. After receiving his certification he was stationed as a game warden in Killdeer, North Dakota, where he remained until he was hired by Wyoming Game and Fish. He began his duties in Moorcroft on April 6, 2020.
“As a kid, we would always vacation here, take camping trips and go fishing,” said Miller, about his decision to relocate to Wyoming. “On the work side of things, the fact I could do wildlife biology and law enforcement in this position was a motivating factor. I love it out here and wish I had made this change a lot earlier. It is a beautiful area and everyone I have met has been very friendly. My neighboring wardens in Gillette and John Davis have been a great help to me and I am starting to learn more about the area. Moorcroft has turned out to be a really nice community.”
LARAMIE - Kristen DaVanon is the new North Laramie game warden. She replaces Kelly Todd, who was promoted to Access Coordinator for the Laramie Region.
DaVanon is originally from Minooka, Illinois. She graduated from New Mexico State University in 2015 with a master’s degree in biology. During college, she did habitat work at forest preserves in Illinois and small mammal research in California. Her master’s project was on the interactions of predator/prey dynamics and expanding urban environments.
She completed the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in March of 2016 and was stationed at Glendo Reservoir in the summer of 2016, then worked in the Laramie area during the hunting season. She later worked at the Cheyenne Headquarters before transferring to the North Gillette senior game warden position in September 2017.
DaVanon has always been interested in wildlife. “Ever since I went to college I wanted a job that would allow me to interact with wildlife,” she said. She learned that conservation officers in many other states focus mainly on law enforcement, so she started looking for biologist positions. “Then I saw that Wyoming Game and Fish is multi-faceted. As wardens, we get to do hands-on work assisting the biologists.” She also enjoys the public outreach aspect of her job. “I get to get out into the community and help the public learn about the wildlife that is around them, whether that is through hunter education classes, classroom visits, or other outreach.”
She is excited to get to know the landowners in her district and build relationships with them. “There are a lot of different groups of people who use the area in addition to landowners and I want to try to understand everybody’s needs,” she said.
While working in Glendo, DaVanon enjoyed the Laramie Peak area. “From the time I first worked here I thought it would be a great place to stay. Everything you need is right here, but you can take a short drive to all the outdoor stuff you want. It’s the best of all worlds in one area,” she said.
SHERIDAN - Becca Lutz recently joined the Wyoming Game and Fish Sheridan Region as the North Gillette game warden.
Lutz, an Indiana native, was inspired to become a warden after watching wildlife television shows as a child that featured wildlife law enforcement officers.
“One time Jack Hanna did a special on the game rangers of South Africa and I decided I wanted to conserve wildlife in a similar way,” said Lutz. “So when I was choosing a college to attend, I looked for degrees that offered a field work component.”
Lutz attended Colorado State University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management. She was able to attain her goal of working in Africa, completing a semester of her degree studies in the east African country of Tanzania. She graduated in fall 2015.
After graduation, she worked in the field of wildland fire for the U.S. Forest Service based in Fort Collins. She also volunteered at a local raptor rehabilitation center that took injured birds from parts of Wyoming. Through this job she heard about the game warden exam being offered in Wyoming. After passing the exam, she was hired by Game and Fish in December 2017, completed the 14-week peace officer training course at the Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas in spring 2018 and was assigned to work in the Laramie Region, primarily at Glendo Reservoir. She was promoted to the Cheyenne Headquarters game warden position in August 2019 and transferred to North Gillette on March 1, 2020.
“I am excited to work in the Sheridan Region, learn from all the other wardens here and work with a different part of our agency,” she said. “I have heard good things about the Gillette area from previous wardens and am excited to serve the residents of northeast Wyomin and hopefully it will help me grow into a well-rounded warden.”
LARAMIE - Nate Holst has been named the new game warden in Wheatland. Holst was born at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. With his father in the Air Force, he moved frequently as a child and lived in Italy for more than two years. He earned an associate’s degree at Gillette College then graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2016 with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management. He was active in the student chapter of the Wildlife Society while in college, and worked for the Game and Fish Department during the summers as a chronic wasting disease technician, an aquatic invasive species technician, and assisting with a mule deer study in Baggs and a river otte survey in Rocky Mountain National Park.
After graduation, Holst was hired as a fisheries technician in Casper, and then served as a HMAP coordinator in the Black Hills, where he coordinated depredation hunts on private land to harvest cow elk and doe white-tailed deer. He was hired as a game warden in December 2018 and graduated the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in April 2019.
After spending the summer working on boating enforcement at Glendo State Park, he was assigned to the Laramie Region Office in September 2019 and worked enforcement in the Snowy Range and Sierra Madres. He was named the new Wheatland game warden on March 1.
“I want to serve Wyoming. We operate differently than other states as far as wardens go. I like being involved in the biology and the law enforcement and making a difference for wildlife. Every day you get the chance to educate the public through contacts,” he said. Holst and his wife Emily reside in Wheatland.