My name is Steve Hubbard, and I was the winner of your first annual photo contest. The prize for winning was a ride-a-long with a California Fish and Wildlife officer. I’m writing you today to express my gratitude and share my ride-a-long experience. My hope is that through my experience more Californians will recognize what an asset Fish and Wildlife officers are to our state.
My family and I are avid outdoors people and huge fans of the show Wild Justice. Though the show I learned that Fish and Wildlife officers have more jurisdiction and enforcement responsibility than any other law enforcement officers in the state. They often work alone, in very remote areas with little or no support from other officers. I was a little nervous when I got in the truck.
My ride-a-long was scheduled with Warden Adam Kraft on Sunday 6/19/13. Warden Kraft picked me up in Loomis, CA and we patrolled the I-80 corridor east of Loomis for about 9 hours. Trout season had just begun and our mission for the day was to patrol areas around lakes and streams. We checked areas around Dutch Flat, Indian Creek, Fordyce Lake and Immigrant Gap. Warden Kraft engaged people fishing, checking for valid fishing licenses, over limit violations and many other potential violations.
What was interesting to me was the amount of conservation and environmental protection the Warden engaged in. It was revealed through the ride-a-long that the California Fish and Wildlife Officers do much more than enforce wildlife laws. Warden Kraft was constantly on the look-out for illegal dumping, littering and hazardous materials as well as invasive plant and animal species. A wardens Job is much more than writing tickets. They conduct ongoing investigations much like a detective in a city police department would.
It’s my observation that the public plays a huge role in the success of Fish and Wildlife officers. Most people respect and appreciate fish and wildlife regulations. We have the understanding that these regulations are in place to secure the future of our environment in the State of California. It’s a sad few that ignore the rules and act selfishly in regards to wildlife. As I noticed time and time again average people would approach Warden Kraft with information about a possible violation. Many of these people Warden Kraft knew on a first name basis. He is a part of the community where he works and the residents there saw him as such. It seemed to me that by helping Warden Kraft the people in the community understood the value of his work.
I have 2 sons, age 10 and 12. My 12 year old passed the hunter safety course last summer. We participated in several special youth hunts sponsored by CDFW last fall and winter. As we all know the life lessons learned in the outdoors are carried with us throughout our life time. I hope to hunt someday with my grandchildren. To all of you in the CDFW, thank you for what you do. Thank you for your commitment to our states resources. I saw firsthand that it’s not just a job to you guys, it’s personal.