Randy Wuertz, a Fish, Wildlife & Parks game warden based in Gardiner, has been named the 1997 recipient of the prestigious Shikar-Safari Club International's Wildlife Officer of the Year award for Montana.
An 18-year veteran of FWP's Enforcement Division, Wuertz began his career with FWP in Billings in 1980 and was later transferred to the warden position at Rosebud Battlefield near Decker in 1981. He moved to his current Gardiner assignment in 1987.
The Shikar-Safari award winner is selected by the director of FWP from among nominations submitted by warden captains in each of the agency's seven administrative regions. Award winners are selected on a basis of their professional relationship with hunters, anglers and landowners in their districts, their performance of duty and dedication to the wildlife law enforcement profession and their participation in activities outside of daily enforcement work.
Wuertz was recognized for his outstanding backcountry law enforcement skills, his dealings with large, corporate landowners, his involvement with the Gardiner late season elk hunts and endangered species and his involvement in the center of the Yellowstone bison controversy. Wuertz also was noted for his exceptional skills in working and training horses for law enforcement efforts in the backcountry; he has taught fellow game wardens and other FWP employees his techniques.
Most recently, Wuertz coordinated a television video production project in helping a private company publish a pilot video on Montana game wardens that was sold to major television networks and will air nationwide in September.
"Randy Wuertz is an exemplary model of what a field game warden should be," said Warden Captain Jim Kropp of Bozeman. "We are fortunate to have such a dedicated wildlife professional working for our state."