Big Piney Game Warden wins 2006 Officer of the Year
Brad Hovinga wins award from the Wyoming Game Warden’s Association
by Wyoming Game & Fish Department
April 6, 2007
The complete wildlife law enforcement package of investigative skill, public rapport, biological insight and untiring work ethic have earned Big Piney Game Warden Brad Hovinga the "2006 Officer of the Year" award from the Wyoming Game Warden's Association.
"Brad has an incredible ability to work with all types of people both within the department and among the publics he serves," said Brian Nesvik, game warden in the neighboring South Pinedale District. "He works to develop solutions that are amiable to all involved without breaking from his true convictions as an advocate for the wildlife he manages."
Hovinga began his Game and Fish career in April 1992 as a reservoir crew officer patrolling Flaming Gorge, Alcova, Pathfinder and Seminoe reservoirs. After serving as game warden trainee in Lander for 18 months he was promoted to the Big Piney District in June 1995.
Nesvik, who nominated the 38-year-old Richfield, Utah native for the award, also cited Hovinga for his investigative skills, among many other attributes. "Brad has tremendous field presence and outstanding investigative abilities that have proven to protect the wildlife he manages," Nesvik said. "He relentlessly pursues the most serious and intentional violators and shows understanding and concern for the person who makes an honest mistake."
Hovinga earned a bachelor's degree in wildlife management from Utah State University and previously worked for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. His father is a Utah conservation officer.
Publicizing noteworthy poaching cases and helping with hunting season field work earned the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Cheyenne Information Officer Jeff Obrecht the association's "Support Person of the Year Award."
"Jeff actively pursues law enforcement stories to report," said Mark Nelson, Cheyenne game warden and association president. "He understands the importance of enforcing Wyoming's wildlife statutes and regulations and the vital role reporting these poaching incidents plays. How much of a deterrent it is when a potential poacher reads one of Jeff's articles may never be known, but the deterrent is real and has made a great impact in helping protect the wildlife resource."
Obrecht is a 21-year Game and Fish veteran, who earned a bachelor's degree in wildlife management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In addition to presenting both awards at their annual meeting March 23-24 in Cody, the association presented 14 $350 college scholarships to Wyoming high school seniors. Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank was the meeting's keynote speaker. The association has a membership of 149 current and retired Wyoming wildlife officers.