Published December 22, 2022

ND Game and Fish Honors Employee Efforts 

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The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

Stephanie Tucker Named NDGF Employee of the Year 

Stephanie Tucker, game management section leader and furbearer biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence at the department’s annual staff meeting in December. 

Jeb Williams, Game and Fish director, said Tucker has updated historical databases and Pittman-Robertson reports, critically reviewed survey and sampling methods, and spearheaded research on a wide variety of species including bobcats, mountain lions, muskrats, river otters, fishers and martins. 

“These research projects have set the groundwork for opening new furbearer seasons, refined species management techniques and improved department management of these species,” Williams said. “As a section leader, she pushes staff to improve their personal development skills. She does this by setting an example in taking numerous leadership courses. Stephanie supports and encourages professional development, self-improvement and the pursuit of research that supports the department’s mission.” 

Jonathan Peterson Named Wildlife Officer of the Year 

Jonathan Peterson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden in Devils Lake, is the state’s 2022 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Johnson was honored recently by Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state. 

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Scott Winkelman said Peterson’s district contains North Dakota’s largest natural lake, Devils Lake. 

“The Devils Lake region is known for its year-round fishing and fall waterfowl hunting. Warden Peterson patrols by vehicle, boat, ATV/UTV and snowmobile to accomplish his enforcement goals in all four seasons,” Winkelman said. “He works diligently to be in the right place at the right time to promote safety and deter violators. He has been a very effective and efficient game warden by building relationships with landowners, who in turn don’t hesitate to call him when violations are occurring. Warden Peterson is an asset to not only our department but to North Dakota in the protection of our natural resources.” 

Game and Fish Recognizes Employee Efforts 

North Dakota Game and Fish Department director Jeb Williams recently honored employees with performance-based awards. The following special recognition awards were presented during the department’s staff meeting in December.  

Ben Holen, aquatic nuisance species coordinator, Jamestown, was recognized for his passion, management strategies, public engagement and commitment to preventing the spread of ANS. 

Ryan Huber, private land biologist, Riverdale, was recognized for his relationship with staff and the public, his efforts with the Private Land Open To Sportsmen and depredation programs, and his commitment to the department’s mission. 

Dr. Charlie Bahnson, wildlife veterinarian, Bismarck, was recognized for his efforts in spearheading the department’s chronic wasting disease task force, drafting the new CWD management plan, and for his public outreach on CWD. 

BJ Kratz, southeast district fisheries supervisor, Jamestown, was recognized for access projects using district fisheries resources and his relationships with landowners and local groups. 

Scott Gangl, fisheries management section leader, Bismarck, was recognized for his willingness to accept additional assignments to assist in improving the state’s fisheries resources, his data analysis, management responsibilities and dedication to the department and resource.  

Judd Jasmer, wildlife resource management biologist, Dickinson, was recognized for his efforts in coordinating easements in the Killdeer Mountains, which included numerous on-site visits, contractor oversight and minimizing the impacts to the wildlife resource and its habitat. 

In addition to special recognition recipients, Kylor Johnston, district game warden, Hazen, was named North Dakota’s Boating Officer of the Year. His district includes the state's largest reservoir, Lake Sakakawea. Chief game warden Scott Winkelman said warden Johnston is an asset to the department and the boating public he serves and is an outstanding example of professionalism to those he works with. 

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