From the Kentucky Game Commissioner’s Desk

From the Kentucky Game Commissioner’s Desk

Kentucky Elk
Kentucky Elk
Kentucky Department Fish Wildlife
Kentucky Department Fish Wildlife

Kentucky –(– Well, we have made it through another year with our skin (mostly) intact!

It’s not nearly often enough that I convey to each of you how much I appreciate all that you do for the fish and wildlife resources of the Commonwealth and for the outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy them. I am truly proud to lead such a talented group of individuals who share my same passion for the great outdoors. Our department is nationally recognized as one of the few that consistently rises to the occasion when it comes to taking care of our resources, our customers, our citizens, and our employees.

I attribute these accolades to the hard work that each and every one of you do on a daily basis. Conservation officers, biologists, grant specialists, technicians, engineers, administrative specialists, accountants, outdoor writers, information specialists, directors, program coordinators, and yes, even deputy commissioners all keep our organization functioning in a manner that is second to none.

In the midst of a global recession, once again we have chosen not to rest on our past accomplishments but to continue to improve our resources and enhance opportunities for our customers. Our first bear season starts this Saturday – what a monumental achievement! Our public access program is accelerating rather than declining – this translates to more satisfied customers! We are stocking fish species that have been extirpated from Kentucky for years, and we remain THE destination for trophy trout, smallmouth, musky, and striped bass. We will shortly complete a milestone with our elk herd – 12 years, 10,000 animals, 1,000 permits.

Who ever thought we would have the 10th largest elk herd in the country? We continue to expand our partnerships to create opportunity for our customers at state parks, national forests, Corps of Engineers lands, and on private property. This expansion of partnerships also means that we leverage more of the sportsman’s dollar to give back more than we receive. Even in a time of economic turmoil, when many of our conservation partners that depend on fundraising are suffering, our relationship with them has never been better. We will strive to assist them in every way possible, just as they would do for us.

I mention all of this because I am proud of all that we have accomplished, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that we continue to function at the highest level without spending more than we take in. Our budget has remained balanced over the past five years, and with some aggressive marketing to recruit and retain customers, we will remain fiscally sound into the foreseeable future.

You all continue to do more with less; you guard your budget allotments like a jealous bulldog; and you leave the woodpile bigger than you found it. For that, I am truly thankful!

As we move into the New Year, we and our fellow state employees will face challenges that many will say are insurmountable.

I would tell those that feel that way: “You haven’t met my folks at KDFWR yet!”

We will meet our obstacles of customer recruitment, funding, expanding access, user conflict, and legislative challenges with the professionalism and determination that I see from each of you on a daily basis.

In the immortal words of the great conservationist and our 26th president Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.“

My friends: continue to dare mighty things, as you have in the past and we will continue to turn our past accomplishments into even greater successes in the future. Happy holidays to each of you and your families!

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, has an economic impact to the state of $4.5 billion annually. For more information on Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, visit our web site at