NWTF Recognizes Efforts Of WCO BURNS and LMGS Bills
HARRISBURG, PA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Rodney Burns and Land Management Group Supervisor (LMGS) Scott Bills recently were recognized for their efforts in wild turkey conservation by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
WCO Burns, who serves in the western district of Greene County, was selected as the NWTF Officer of the Year. LMGS Bills, who manages State Game Lands in Dauphin and Lebanon counties, was selected as the NWTF’s Outstanding Land Manager of the Year.
WCO Burns began his Game Commission career with his appointment to the Ross Leffler School of Conservation, in 1998, as a member of the 24th Class. Upon graduation, in 1999, he was assigned to his present district in western Greene County, where he, his wife and two daughters reside.
WCO Burns’ association with the NWTF began with his involvement with the Warrior Trail Gobblers Chapter in Greene County. He has been active in all facets of NWTF activities, including attending local chapter meetings, habitat projects, presentations and fundraising activities. Burns also has been actively involved with both the Game Commission and NWTF-sponsored wild turkey trap-and-transfer programs, in which he has done the grass-roots legwork and secured permission from many landowners whose properties are both open to public hunting and those that are posted to gain access to live trap turkeys.
“WCO Burns is continually challenged in dealing with a district that boasts some of the highest numbers of wild turkey and deer populations in the state and an influx of high numbers of transient hunters, as well as residents,” said Matt Hough, Game Commission Southwest Region director, who nominated Burns. “He has done an excellent job in designing his programs and efforts to deal with the hunters, wildlife related problems and the ever-present constant exposure to the news media and the public image.”
LMGS Bills began his service with the Game Commission in 1981, when he was admitted to the 18th Class of the Game Commission’s Ross Leffler School of Conservation. In 1982, upon graduation, Bills spent 16 years as the WCO in northern Dauphin County.
In 1998, he was promoted to his current position, which supervises land management activities in Group I of the Southeast Region, which includes Lebanon and Dauphin counties. He presently supervises a crew of eight food and cover employees, and is responsible for the habitat work on eight State Game Lands totaling 79,295 acres. On these areas, he has worked with two NWTF chapters – the Stoney Valley and Lykens Valley chapters – in developing numerous habitat projects. Although all of the projects have created positive habitat results, one in particular deserves special note.
“LMGS Bills’ role in the acquisition of a 35-acre parcel on SGL 211 and the creation of a new food plot in the memory of Jerry Zimmerman, the late NWTF senior region director, shows his dedication to the Game Commission and NWTF,” said Doug Killough, Game Commission Southeast Region Director, who nominated Bills for the award. “When the NWTF was looking for a project in memory of Jerry Zimmerman, Bills immediately stepped up, did the on-site land examination for the 35-acre tract and submitted his report to get the ball rolling.”