News of the Week

Jan. 8, 2015
Lincoln County Game Warden Named Officer of Year

Shikar-Safari Club International presented its 2014 Wildlife Officer of the Year award to game warden Gary Emmons during the regular meeting of the OklahomaWildlife Conservation Commission on Jan. 5 in Oklahoma City.

Emmons, based in Lincoln County, has served as a game warden for 12 years. He was selected by his peers to receive the honor, which was presented before the Commission by Suzie and Bill Brewster of Shikar-Safari Club International after introductions by Col. Robert Fleenor, chief of Law Enforcement for the Wildlife Department.

Citing Emmons' resume, Bill Brewster said, "I'm just amazed that you are qualified in all the things that you are! Congratulations for all the effort that you put into doing your job."

Emmons is a CLEET-certified instructor in defensive tactics, firearms and law enforcement driving. "I enjoy passing along the skills and knowledge I have obtained to fellow officers, knowing that one day it could mean the difference between them coming home safely at end of shift or not coming home."

Fleenor said those qualifications illustrate Emmons' desire to go the extra mile to help the Wildlife Department's Law Enforcement Division. "Gary has demonstrated throughout his 12-year career his willingness to be the best he can be," the chief said.

Emmons was introduced to hunting and fishing by his father while growing up in Perry. "I've been tagging along with him and my older brother on hunts for about as long as I can remember, actually learning to shoot rabbits and squirrels with an old .22-caliber Colt single-action revolver when I was around 8 years old.We spent many days and nights fishing along the banks of the Black Bear and Red Rock creeks in Noble County along with fishing the numerous farm ponds." 

After graduating from Perry High School in 1994, he attended Northern OklahomaCollege in Tonkawa and earned a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology and management from Oklahoma State University.

Emmons started his Wildlife Department career in 1999 as a contract research technician working during the last three years of the Packsaddle Quail Chick Ecology Study. He was hired as a game warden in 2002 and was assigned to Lincoln County, where he's worked since.

"I enjoy working with youths through the numerous educational programs we do, especially firearms safety. And I thoroughly enjoy catching poachers reported to me by concerned sportsmen and landowners, as well, ensuring they receive a good return on their investment."

Emmons and his wife, Misty, principal at Davenport Public Schools, have two sons ages 6 and 3. "I look forward to passing on the hunting and fishing traditions to my own children," Emmons said.

Shikar-Safari Club International began more than a half-century ago and is limited to 200 members worldwide. It is dedicated to the protection, enhancement and preservation of wildlife, with particular emphasis on endangered and threatened species through the promotion of enforcement of conservation laws and regulations. The club's foundation puts more than $1 million into wildlife and conservation efforts each year, including more than 30 scholarships annually for wildlife professionals and their children in hope of building interest in wildlife careers and conservation.

Also during Monday's meeting, the Commission:

  • Heard from Assistant Director Wade Free about potential legislation during upcoming sessions of the Oklahoma House and Senate that might affect theWildlife Department.
  • Authorized Department Director Richard Hatcher to negotiate the purchase of property in the Neosho Bottoms area in Craig County.
  • Recognized employees with tenure awards: Wayne Smith, Wildlife Division technician, 40 years; Jim Burroughs, Fisheries Division regional supervisor, 25 years.

The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of theOklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Wildlife Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

The next scheduled Commission meeting will be 9:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 2015, in Room 201, Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Game Warden Gary Emmons, based in Lincoln County, isOklahoma's 2014 Game Warden of the Year.