Arizona wildlife officer wins NWTF award

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January 15th, 2009

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has announced that Rick Langley, game specialist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Pinetop region, will be honored as NWTF’s “Arizona Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” for his efforts in conserving America’s wildlife.

Langley, who lives in Pinetop, will be recognized during the federation’s 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show, held Feb. 19-22 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

By earning the State Wildlife Officer of the Year award, Langley and other state winners are eligible for NWTF’s National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award, which will be presented at the annual awards banquet on Feb. 21.

Langley has worked for the Arizona Game and Fish Department for 15 years. He served for three years as a wildlife manager in Game Management Unit 15D (based in Bullhead City) and for nine years in Unit 12B (based in Page). He has been the game specialist in the Pinetop regional office for the past three years.

“I had a strong interest in working for the department because the work scope involves a combination of field biology and law enforcement,” says Langley. “I enjoy the hands-on work of wildlife conservation.”

Langley was instrumental in writing plans, coordinating manpower and equipment, and leading several captures of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Morenci Mine area that provided animals for translocation to the West Clear Creek area of Unit 6A to establish a new sheep population in historic sheep habitat.  A core group of animals is currently doing well there well.

He also played a lead role in planning, coordinating, and conducting four captures of Merriam’s turkey in Region I in 2007 and 2008 that provided more than 200 birds for translocation to Regions III and VI to enhance existing wild turkey populations and establish new populations in suitable habitats.

NWTF initiated the State Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award in 2000 to highlight the contributions from wildlife officers across the country. In addition to playing a crucial role in helping to convict wildlife criminals, many wildlife officers volunteer their own time to help educate youth about the importance of wildlife, conservation and our hunting traditions.

NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation organization that was founded in 1973 and has worked with wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations from 1.3 million wild turkeys to nearly 7 million today. NWTF’s volunteers raise funds and work daily to improve critical wildlife habitat, increase access to public hunting land, and introduce people to the outdoors and hunting.

For more information about NWTF’s law enforcement award winners or its efforts to support wildlife law enforcement, call (800) THE-NWTF, or visit

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