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WVDNR Staff Honored by State Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) recently honored three DNR staff members for outstanding service during 2012. The awards were presented during the organization's banquet on January 12, 2013.

Lee Strawn was recognized as the 2012 Outstanding Wildlife Manager of the Year. This prestigious award is presented annually to a wildlife manager in West Virginia who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to excellence in the field of wildlife management, including conservation of the wild turkey.

Lee Strawn began his career with the Wildlife Resources Section in 2001, working as wildlife manager on the Pleasant Creek, Teter Creek Lake and Upper Deckers Creek Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). In 2006, he was transferred to Romney and assigned to the South Branch, Nathaniel Mountain and Fort Mill Ridge WMAs. Strawn initiated a wide variety of wildlife habitat enhancement projects on these WMAs, including wildlife plantings, mowing of wildlife clearings, active timber management, and installation of road closures. He also made significant contributions to DNR's Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance and management efforts.

In his nomination letter, District Wildlife Biologist Rich Rogers wrote, "Lee Strawn is an extremely competent and resourceful wildlife manager."  Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section, said "The sportsmen and women of West Virginia are very well served by this knowledgeable and hardworking wildlife professional."

Also at the banquet, Natural Resources Police Officers Jason Hudson and Andy Lyons were honored with the prestigious "Sharp Spur Award." This award is given yearly by the state NWTF chapter to the officer who does the most on wild turkey-related enforcement and activities. This year, Officers Hudson and Lyons were both nominated because of an unusual case in Summers County in the spring of 2012.

"This case involved two individuals who were killing multiple turkeys out of season, videoing the hunts and putting some of them on YouTube," explained Capt. Larry Case of DNR District 4. "This was a lengthy investigation, and resulted in more than 16 convictions on the two subjects on charges of illegally taking turkeys and more than $4,000 in related fines and costs. This case involved some complicated issues with the Internet and YouTube, and I'm proud the officers were recognized for their exemplary actions and results."

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