Wildlife Department Unveils Award Winners to Commission

Aug 4, 2022
21-22 game warden of the year
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Blake Pearson, recipient of the 2021 Game Warden of the Year Award.

Wildlife Department Unveils Award Winners to Commission

Rules Adopted on Using Arrow Rifles for Hunting

   During their regular August meeting Monday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commissioners recognized Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation employee award winners. 

   Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Nathan Erdman announced award winners in that division. They are Game Warden Blake Pearson, based in Kingfisher County, as Game Warden of the Year; Game Warden Riley Willman, based in Delaware County, Law Enforcement Medal of Valor; and Law Enforcement Colonel’s Life Saving Citations to Game Wardens Larry Green (Osage County), Austin Jackson (Craig County), Stephen Paul (Noble County), and Riley Willman (Delaware County). 

   Chief of Fisheries Ken Cunningham announced that Northwest Region Supervisor Chas Patterson was selected the 2021 Fisheries Professional of the Year. 

   Chief of Wildlife Bill Dinkines announced that Southeast Region Senior Biologist Jeff Ford was selected the 2021 Wildlife Biologist of the Year, and Oklahoma Land Access Program Technician Jason Rockwell was selected as 2021 Wildlife Technician of the Year. 

   Director J.D. Strong announced that Chief Procurement Officer Cheryl Luetkemeyer was selected as the Spirit of ODWC Award winner.  

   Also, Commissioners approved new rules allowing hunters to use air-powered arrow rifles during any open season in which rifles are now a legal means of take.  Arrow rifles are not permitted during archery or muzzleloader seasons.

   The rules, in response to a bill the state Legislature passed this year, are effective immediately. The new rules define various requirements the equipment must meet to be legal for hunting. The Legislature authorized a lifetime $20 Air Rifle Permit that must be carried by arrow rifle hunters in the field.

   These rules were approved Monday but were too late to appear in the printed 2022-23 Fishing and Hunting Regulations. These new rules will be added to all digital versions of the hunting regulations online and in the Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app for Apple or Android. 

In other business:   

  • Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation Director Rick Grundman recognized a major donation to the Foundation along with the major donors who supported the 2021 Conservation Hall of Fame Gala. 
  • Commissioners learned about National Shooting Sports Month during August, along with a report about a first-ever project completed this year using federal Wildlife Restoration Grant funds to promote sport shooting by helping to upgrade target throwing equipment at Silverleaf Shotgun Sports in Logan County. 
  • Commissioners met youth hunter Eli Yates and his father, Todd Yates. Eli was the first Outdoor Oklahoma Adventures youth deer hunt raffle winner, and he was given a mount of the buck he took on the hunt. That raffle raised about $8,000 for ODWC fish and wildlife conservation efforts. Tickets for this year's OO Adventures raffles are on sale now through Aug. 15, 2022.
  • In his regular report, ODWC Director J.D. Strong cited activities in ODWC’s various divisions since the previous meeting, including the help of dozens of ODWC employees in hosting the annual summer meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Oklahoma City in mid-July. 
  • Commissioners recognized Wildlife Senior Biologist Mark Howery for 30 years of service, and Southwest Region Wildlife Supervisor Ron Smith for 25 years of service.

   The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The 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 Oklahoma Senate. The next regular Commission meeting is set for Sept. 6, 2022, in Broken Bow. 

   To view a video recording of the Aug. 1 meeting, go online to https://youtu.be/4JsQ4P47IZU?t=111.

Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Riley Willman, recipient of the Medal of Valor.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Riley Willman, recipient of the Medal of Valor. 

Gathered for the 2021 Fisheries Professional of the Year presentation are Chief of Fisheries Ken Cunningham, honoree Chas Patterson, and Assistant Chief of Fisheries Richard Snow.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Gathered for the 2021 Fisheries Professional of the Year presentation are Chief of Fisheries Ken Cunningham, honoree Chas Patterson, and Assistant Chief of Fisheries Richard Snow. 

Gathered for presentation of the Spirit of ODWC Award are Chief of Administration and CFO Amanda Storck, recipient Cheryl Luetkemeyer (Chief Procurement Officer), and Accounting Supervisor Lindsey Presley.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Gathered for presentation of the Spirit of ODWC Award are Chief of Administration and CFO Amanda Storck, recipient Cheryl Luetkemeyer (Chief Procurement Officer), and Accounting Supervisor Lindsey Presley.

Presenting the 2021 Wildlife Technician of the Year Award are, from left, Wildlife Chief Bill Dinkines and winner OLAP Technician Jason Rockwell.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Presenting the 2021 Wildlife Technician of the Year Award are, from left, Wildlife Chief Bill Dinkines and winner OLAP Technician Jason Rockwell.

Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Wardens Austin Jackson and Riley Willman, recipients of the Colonel’s Life Saving Citation.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Wardens Austin Jackson and Riley Willman, recipients of the Colonel’s Life Saving Citation.

Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Larry Green, recipient of the Colonel’s Life Saving Citation.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Larry Green, recipient of the Colonel’s Life Saving Citation.

 

Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Stephen Paul, recipient of the Colonel’s Life Saving Citation.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

 Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Stephen Paul, recipient of the Colonel’s Life Saving Citation.

Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Riley Willman, recipient of two Colonel’s Life Saving Citations.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

 Law Enforcement Chief Col. Nathan Erdman with Game Warden Riley Willman, recipient of two Colonel’s Life Saving Citations.

Recognizing individual $5,000 donations to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation are, from left, Rick Grundman, OWCF Director; donor John D. Groendyke; donor Scott Northcutt of Grand National Quail Club and Foundation; and donor Greg Hart of Grand National Quail Hunt Past Shooters.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Recognizing individual $5,000 donations to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation are, from left, Rick Grundman, OWCF Director; donor John D. Groendyke; donor Scott Northcutt of Grand National Quail Club and Foundation; and donor Greg Hart of Grand National Quail Hunt Past Shooters. 

Recognizing the winner of the 2021 Outdoor Oklahoma Adventures raffle youth deer hunt are, from left, Wildlife Commissioner Chad Dillingham, father Todd Yates, winner Eli Yates, and ODWC Assistant Director Wade Free.
DON P. BROWN/ODWC

Recognizing the winner of the 2021 Outdoor Oklahoma Adventures raffle youth deer hunt are, from left, Wildlife Commissioner Chad Dillingham, father Todd Yates, winner Eli Yates, and ODWC Assistant Director Wade Free.