National Wild Turkey Federation Honors GFP Conservation Officer

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has named Conservation Officer Adam Geigle as its 2018 Wildlife Officer of the Year.

Officer Geigle has served as a Wildlife Conservation Officer for 11 years with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP). Adam started his career in Wall and is currently stationed in Rapid City.

Officer Geigle’s patrol district includes two recreational reservoirs which see large degrees of use. He conducts a boating safety program on these waters to ensure the public’s safety while on the water. Geigle is very proactive with Boating Under the Influence detection and apprehension. 

Officer Geigle has made numerous arrests for illegal possession, tagging and taking of antelope, deer and turkeys as well as several for illegal baiting involving turkeys in the Black Hills.

“Adam has built a strong law enforcement program in his district which his peers admire,” said district conservation officer supervisor Jim McCormick. “He has a reputation of having a hard work ethic, and he always gives 110 percent on and off the job.”

Officer Geigle will be honored by the NWTF at its State Convention in January 2019. In addition, the State Chapter will forward his name to compete for a national award at the NWTF’s national convention in February 2019.

“The State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is grateful to wildlife conservation officers across South Dakota who continue to do an outstanding job,” said Mike McKernan, president of the State Chapter. “We have had and continue to have a great relationship with the Game, Fish and Parks Department. The NWTF has a high priority to conserve the wild turkey and connect our youth, physically challenged and men/women to outdoor activities and our hunting heritage. Adam Geigle is a credit to these goals. We are pleased to honor John and know he will do a great job in representing South Dakota at our National Convention next February.”

This is the 18th year the award has been presented by the South Dakota State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

McKernan elected to NWTF National Board of Directors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mike McKernan, of Twin Brooks, South Dakota, has been elected to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Board of Directors.

McKernan is the South Dakota State Chapter President and has been an NWTF member since 1999. He has served on the state board of directors since 2004. He currently serves as the district director for eastern South Dakota, in addition to his position as state president.

“I’m looking forward to serving on the board, working with everyone, to help keep our organization going in the right direction,” McKernan said. “The main thing is to promote our initiative, Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.; that’s really important. And I’m looking forward to helping keep us the number one conservation organization in the country.”

Since becoming a member of the NWTF, McKernan helped to start the Whetstone Gobblers chapter, which is one of the top chapters in the state, and he currently serves as chapter president.

He was involved with Eastern wild turkey releases in Grant County, South Dakota, where he resides, and is currently assisting with a study of Eastern turkeys by a student from the University of West Virginia. McKernan has been instrumental in getting 501 Auctions, the online NWTF banquet accounting system, off the ground in South Dakota.

McKernan, a retired Grant County Sheriff, also serves on the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ Turn in Poachers Board of Directors and the state board of directors for the South Dakota Grassland Coalition.

McKernan is an actively involved volunteer in his county with the 4-H Shooting Sports Program and is a hunt safe instructor. He was the 2004 South Dakota NWTF Volunteer of the Year and a 2013 inductee into the South Dakota NWTF Hall of Fame.

“Mike will make an excellent addition to our board of directors,” said Becky Humphries, NWTF CEO. “His passion for the wild turkey and his intimate knowledge of our on-the-ground volunteers give him a unique perspective as we move forward to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.”

 The South Dakota State Chapter provides a SD Jakes Hunt of a Lifetime each spring. Each South Dakota chapter gets to put one youth in state drawing for each 25 kids they sign up at their banquets. One lucky Jakes member is drawn and they get the hunt guided by Dr. Don Massa, one of the SD State Board members and a very good turkey hunter. The youth also receives a shotgun, full set of camo clothes, turkey decoy, calls, and other turkey hunting gear. This spring the winner was Zachary Wilson, 11 years old, and he shot this beautiful Merriam's gobbler at 20 yards.

The South Dakota State Chapter provides a SD Jakes Hunt of a Lifetime each spring. Each South Dakota chapter gets to put one youth in state drawing for each 25 kids they sign up at their banquets. One lucky Jakes member is drawn and they get the hunt guided by Dr. Don Massa, one of the SD State Board members and a very good turkey hunter. The youth also receives a shotgun, full set of camo clothes, turkey decoy, calls, and other turkey hunting gear. This spring the winner was Zachary Wilson, 11 years old, and he shot this beautiful Merriam's gobbler at 20 yards.