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Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : February 14, 2006


Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381

Contact: Curtis Taylor , Wildlife Resources Section Chief (304) 558-2771


DNR Wildlife Manager Bob Smith, DNR Conservation Officer Aaron Clevenger Recognized by WV Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation


  Two wildlife and law enforcement professionals of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) were recognized with awards presented by the West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTWF) during that organization's annual banquet January 21, 2006 .


   Robert (Bob) W. Smith , DNR wildlife manager, received the prestigious Outstanding Wildlife Manager of the Year Award , which is presented annually to recognize and honor a wildlife manager in West Virginia who has demonstrated outstanding efforts in the management and conservation of the wild turkey and other wildlife resources of the state.


  In presenting this year's award, NWTF Regional Director Bob Farkasovsky congratulated Smith for his many years of service to the sportsmen and women of West Virginia . “We are very proud of the work accomplished by wildlife managers throughout the state,” said Farkasovsky. “The hunters of this state can be most thankful for the dedication and hard work that Bob and many other wildlife managers demonstrate every day.”


  Working as wildlife manager on Nathaniel, Short, Allegheny and Fort Mill Ridge Wildlife Management Areas, Smith has been most active in the management of the wild turkey while serving the citizens of West Virginia . Throughout this career, Smith has trapped and radio-tracked more wild turkeys for various projects in DNR District II than any other wildlife manager or wildlife biologist. These projects include trap and transfer activities associated with past wild turkey restoration efforts, recently completed wild turkey population dynamics research focusing on hen mortality, and ongoing research dealing with gobbler behavior and mortality. These research efforts, which have been funded in large part by the NWTF, are considered to be the defining work in wild turkey population dynamics studies for the mid-Appalachian region of the United States .


  “Throughout his 34-year career, Bob Smith has made notable contributions to the state's wildlife management program and the sportsmen and women that enjoy our abundant wildlife resources,” said Curtis Taylor , Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section. “Bob's dedication to the wild turkey resource is evident by his involvement with NWTF events, including fundraising dinners, turkey calling contests and the ‘JAKES' (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sporstmanship) program that benefit the state's young people. As an avid turkey hunter himself, Smith has called numerous birds in for both novice and experienced hunters and never hesitates to introduce new hunters to the wild turkey hunting experience.”

  DNR Conservation Officer Aaron Clevenger was recognized by the West Virginia chapter of NWTF as the West Virginia Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the year at the annual state chapter banquet, and he will represent the state and be recognized at NWTF's 30th annual Convention and Sport Show February 23-26 in Nashville, Tennesee. Each year NWTF presents the awards to acknowledge top officers such as Clevenger across North America. Clevenger and the other state winners are eligible for NWTF's National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, which will be announced during the Nashville show.


  According to DNR Major Jerry Jenkins, Officer Clevenger, who is stationed in Hampshire County , works tirelessly to apprehend wildlife law violators and continually works on new ways to bust poachers. In addition to enforcing game laws, Clevenger works patiently with future hunters to teach them ethics and sportsmanship as well as proper firearms safety and survival as parts of the Hunter Education classes.


  “Officer Clevenger is truly dedicated to the protection of the wild turkey resource,” said Jenkins. “He has performed numerous patrols attempting to apprehend pre-season turkey poachers. Officer Clevenger has been extremely instrumental in establishing a decoy program using different styles of turkey decoys. He assisted in building a turkey gobbler decoy with struts and gobbles. He has, with the help of other officers, assembled a ‘flock' of both movable and stationary decoys, which has led to more than 20 arrests of turkey poachers. He also is active in the NWTF and plays a lead role in the JAKES program in Hampshire County , and is to be commended.”


  The West Virginia State Chapter NWTF is one of the state's largest and most active sportsmen's organizations. Its primary goal is to support and promote the sound management and use of the state's wild turkey resource. The NWTF is also committed to delivering conservation education and outdoor skills training to women and children throughout the country.


Left to right: DNR Wildlife Resources Section Chief Curtis Taylor, DNR Wildlife Manager Bob Smith, DNR Conservation Officer Aaron Clevenger, and DNR Director Frank Jezioro

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