Pennsylvania Game Commission officers honored

In Pennsylvania, it’s turkey season.

And the National Wild Turkey Federation Pennsylvania State Chapter recently honored two Pennsylvania Game Commission officers for their work in wildlife conservation.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Land Management Group Supervisor Jerry A. Bish, of Conneaut Lake, was named recipient of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award for his work managing wildlife habitat.

And Wildlife Conservation Officer Daniel Murray, of Milesburg, was named the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 2016 Conservation Officer of the Year.

Each honor recognizes the officers’ service during 2016, and was presented at the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners’ recent meeting.

Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award

The award Bish received is named in honor of a former Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife chief for his leadership and the vital role he played in improving wildlife management. Kurz also was a prominent figure in wild turkey trap-and-transfer programs across North America.

Bish manages the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, a high-profile and complex area on State Game Lands 214 comprised of more than 8,000 acres. Public-hunting opportunity for a variety of game species, including wild turkeys, can be found on the game lands.

Bish applies scientific management principles and keen observation to land-management strategies at Pymatuning. He manages the lands under his control for wildlife habitat through wetland water level manipulations, invasive-species control, timber management, planting food plots and maintaining nesting boxes, just to name a few.

He has worked with the NWTF Lakefront Gobblers Chapter on State Game Lands 101 to eradicate reed canary grass and replace it with forbs for wild turkey escape and brood-rearing cover.

Conservation Officer of the Year

Murray has become involved with sportsmen’s clubs, the county envirothon and Hunter-Trapper Education classes, and in 2015, was in the top 20 percent in the North-central Region for prosecutions and warnings, with fines from his cases totaling $17,175.

Murray took the lead in getting a concentrated law-enforcement effort in the region organized that included air support from the Pennsylvania State Police. He also has served as a region defensive tactics instructor and a Taser instructor for the region.

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