Sheridan Regional Wildlife Supervisor Joe Gilbert to retire

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — Joe Gilbert, Sheridan Regional Wildlife Supervisor, will retire from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department this May. Gilbert spent 36 years working for Game and Fish at several locations around Wyoming. Joe Gilbert grew up near the Missouri River in Falls City, Nebraska, just across the river from the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge. While in grade school, Joe dreamed of working at a large waterfowl refuge like the one across the river where thousands of snow and blue geese would stop over for a while on their journey north in the spring and south in the fall. Lorenzo’s Gun Shop in Falls City was a gathering place where “locals” would stop by to tell hunting and fishing stories. Joe liked to go to Lorenzo’s to admire the guns while listening to those stories. Lorenzo’s was also the place Joe traded his pump-up BB/pellet gun for a lever action .30-30 Winchester, the one rifle every kid dreamed of having. It was at Lorenzo’s that Joe remembers meeting Jim Newcome, the Nebraska Conservation Officer that worked the area while Joe was in junior high and high school. On one occasion, Officer Newcome gave Joe an old “law book”. After paging through that book, Gilbert became more interested in wildlife management and law enforcement. Gilbert majored in Wildlife Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduating in 1980. While attending college, Joe worked two summers for the Bureau of Land Management in Worland. After those two summers, Joe knew Wyoming was where he wanted to spend his career. He worked the summers of 1980 and 1981 as a seasonal employee with the Game and Fish Department working on the Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMA) in southeast Wyoming. In the spring of 1981, Joe took the Wyoming Game Warden exam. Later that year his wildlife law enforcement career began when he was assigned the game warden trainee position in Green River. In June of 1982 Joe was transferred to Medicine Bow where he was the game warden until 1989 when he accepted the game warden position in Torrington. In 2005 Joe was promoted to the Wildlife Supervisor position in Sheridan. During his career Joe has held a number of offices in law enforcement related organizations and has been recognized several times for his accomplishments, including: Wyoming Game Wardens Association - Vice President (1994-1996) and President (1996-1998) North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association – Wyoming State Representative from 1999 to present. Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy – Peace Officers Memorial Committee 1988 to present. Shikar-Safari Wyoming Officer of the Year in 1995 Wyoming Game Wardens Association Officer of the Year in 2002 Wyoming Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year in 2003 Wyoming Game and Fish Department Sheridan Region Peer Recognition Award in 2008 Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director’s Award in 2012 During his career there are two things that stand out that Joe is proud to have been involved with that have greatly benefited the sportsmen of Wyoming. Both of these legacy endeavors are associated with gaining and expanding public access to hunting and fishing areas. While stationed in Medicine Bow, Joe was instrumental in making the initial contacts with an area landowner to gain public access to the north side of the Medicine Bow arm of Seminoe Reservoir. Today that access area is called the Seminoe Bow Arm Public Access Area. It has a concrete boat ramp and is the only public access area on the north side of the Medicine Bow Arm of Seminoe. Before Joe was stationed in Torrington, there was no public access to the south side of the Rawhide WHMA that straddles the North Platte River in southeast Wyoming. Realizing the benefits to sportsmen of having an access to the south side of the Rawhide WMHA, Joe approached the area landowner and discussed the access issue. Today a public road leads to the south parking lot allowing waterfowl hunters and other sportsmen to more easily access the east end of the popular WMHA. “Joe is known as an exceptional wildlife manager, wildlife law enforcement officer and public ambassador. Most importantly, he is an exceptional leader respected by his subordinates, peers and superiors alike. He has been a key member of the Wildlife Division leadership team and has been a big part of mentoring and training many of our existing employees. His departure will certainly leave a void and he will be missed,” said Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik. Joe, and his wife Lin, plan to make the Sheridan area their retirement home after his retirement May. They will be able to spend more time fishing their favorite waters, hunting upland birds and big game in several areas across Wyoming. With more time now available during the fall hunting seasons, Joe may take that .30-30 Winchester that he got at Lorenzo’s Gun Shop nearly 50 years ago out of the gun cabinet and try to harvest a deer. *Feature photo h/t Wyoming Game and Fish / Pitchengine Communities* #dally #news