Timing and consistent tracking lead to an arrest in a long-standing turkey poaching case and help provide an edge for Cpl. Mark Patterson in his recent selection as the Georgia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) "Officer of the Year" award.
Cpl. Mark Patterson, a conservation ranger with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, is assigned to Wilkes County. This recent statewide recognition makes him eligible to receive the national award from the NWTF.
“Cpl. Mark Patterson is the embodiment of professionalism. He is self-motivated and thoroughly believes in the value of the work that he does,” says Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Eddie Henderson. “These characteristics help keep him dedicated to his work to catch turkey poachers in order to protect the resources for future generations.”
Cpl. Patterson, having more than 15 years of service with Wildlife Resources Division, spends many hours annually on dedicated patrols and directed enforcement activities with the focus of detecting and prosecuting violations involving wild turkeys. One particular case, under investigation for more than a year, required him to hike several miles into a remote area dozens of times to check a baited site. Patterson’s dedication ultimately resulted in the apprehension and prosecution of two poachers. This case, along with multiple other turkey poaching cases, led to his nomination for “NWTF Officer of the Year.”
Cpl. Patterson is a leader in his work section and also works with the state’s Counter Terrorism Task Force and the Critical Action Team. He is routinely called upon by other conservation rangers and wildlife biologists to assist in additional activities and considers himself on-call 24 hours a day. Cpl. Patterson is an avid outdoorsman who teaches others about the outdoors, sportsman’s responsibilities and the hunting heritage.
For more information about NWTF, visit www.nwtf.org . For more information on turkey hunting in Georgia, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations .