June 16, 2022

MDIFW NEWS: Game Warden Of the Year Honored, Other Wardens Recognized At Annual Awards Banquet

Editor's Note: High resolution photos of the Warden of the Year, Joe McBrine; and Game Warden Supervisor of the Year Bruce Loring can be downloaded here.

WINSLOW, Maine - Game Warden Joe McBrine of the Machias district was honored as the Maine Game Warden of the Year at the annual Maine Warden Service Awards Ceremony at the Winslow VFW yesterday. McBrine patrols the Downeast region of Maine and is stationed in Division C in Bangor.

Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso was the featured speaker at the awards ceremony, which was held in person for the first time since 2019. The awards ceremony gives special recognition to game wardens for exceptional performance during 2021. It also includes the recipient of the Maine Game Warden of the Year Award, and recognizes the Game Warden Supervisor of the Year, the Legendary Game Warden of the Year and highlights individuals and groups who assisted the Maine Warden Service.

"It is an honor to recognize the outstanding work of those protecting Maines natural resources, and protecting those that enjoy them," said Camuso. The outstanding work of the men and women in the Maine Warden Service is well known not only in Maine, but beyond our borders as well.

Achievements that were recognized included incidents where human lives were saved, and other awards highlighted the conservation of Maines fish and wildlife resources in ways deserving of special recognition. The following were recipients of this years annual awards.

2021 Maine Game Warden of the Year: Game Warden Joe McBrine, Machias District Game Warden Joe McBrine has served as a Maine Game Warden for 27 years. He was assigned his first district in western Maine, where he spent a short period of time before transferring to Downeast Maine, where he has remained. Warden McBrine spent the majority of his career in the Lubec patrol, and has recently transferred to the Machias patrol where he has spent the last 5 years.

McBrine was recognized for multiple accomplishments including his work in 2021. During the 2021 fall hunting season, Warden McBrine was also the top performer not only in his division, but statewide as well when it came to apprehensions during the months of September, October, and November. Warden McBrine had a total of 52 cases during these months, more than anyone else. He had several high-profile convictions, including cases on exceeding the bag limit on deer, false registration of deer, and night hunting.

McBrine was also recognized for his work as a Warden Training Officer. McBrine has a vast amount of experience to offer to new Game Wardens, and his dedication, his thoroughness, and his skillset in apprehending intentional violators has made him an ideal member of the WTO team.

Another example of Warden McBrine going above and beyond was the work that he did in establishing the DNA program at University of Maine in Machias. Warden McBrine served as the liaison for the Warden Service and worked closely with Dr. Gerry Zeger in laying the blueprint for what was needed to establish a DNA program to assist in providing DNA evidence in wildlife crimes. Warden McBrine was on the forefront of obtained DNA samples for Dr. Zeger to establish a baseline, which was needed to get the program on its feet. In late 2020, the program became operational.

Over the last few years, Warden McBrine has been influential in establishing a conservation law enforcement degree program at the University of Maine at Machias. He sits on meetings and committees at the university to guide faculty in the right direction with this program. He is the conservation law expert called upon by faculty at UMM. Warden McBrine has also taught the search and rescue class for the Con-law program on his own time.

For these and many other outstanding attributes, Maine Game Warden Joe McBrine was named the 2021 Maine Game Warden of the Year.

*The Game Warden of the Year Award shall be presented to any member of Warden Service who, consistently in the past has conducted themselves in such a manner as to display an exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement, management, community and public relations and all aspects of a game wardens duties and during the past year has performed in a manner that reflects continued performance in this manner.

2021 Maine Game Warden Supervisor of the Year: Sergeant Bruce Loring, (Division D, Greenville; supervises wardens in Piscataquis County) Sergeant Bruce Loring has been a Maine Game Warden since 1995, is a valuable member of several specialty teams, a cadre at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, and a strong leader throughout his career. His outstanding work as a Sergeant in Division C in Bangor and most recently in Division D in Greenville made him a natural choice for this award Bruce was lauded for his work with operation Stonegarden in Washington County, and his ability to work with partners such as the Department of Homeland Security, US Border Patrol and Customs Enforcement. Bruce was also commended for his supervisory skills with fish and game enforcement details and search warrants. Loring participates in multiple search and rescue operations, including organizing and assisting in a carry out rescue of an injured hiker on the Bold Coast Trail in Cutler, as week as an extended search for a missing person in Enfield. The Enfield person was located deceased, and the family of the missing person was so impressed with Loring, they sent a letter commending Lorings dedication, perseverance and kindness. For those reasons and those more detailed in his nomination form, Sergeant Bruce Loring was named the 2021 Maine Game Warden Supervisor of the Year. *The Outstanding Supervisor Award is presented annually to the supervisory officer who has demonstrated superior knowledge and leadership in conservation law enforcement supervision and by doing so has gained the respect of administrators, supervisors, fellow officers, other Department employees, other agencies and the public regarding expertise and performance in the field of supervision.

2021 Legendary Game Warden Award: Retired Game Warden Phil Dumond After starting his warden career on Mount Desert Island, Game Warden Phil Dumond moved to the Estcourt Station Patrol in 1958, and stayed their until he retired 37 years later. At one point his district comprised nearly 40 townships from Estcourt Station to St. Pamphile, and over 1,000 miles of unpaved logging roads. Phil was a woods warden, known for his backcountry skills and his relentless effort. He often would sit for several days on illegal traps, or poached moose or other illegal activities, intent on catching these poachers. He was noted for stepping out from behind trees in places no one ever dreamed they would see a game warden.

Dumonds career accomplishments include catching numerous night hunters, moose poachers, and an angler who had caught over 300 trout. Dumond served the state for 39 years, retiring in 1995. He was the second game warden ever to be honored as Warden of the Year, earning the award in 1976. It is for his dedication to protecting Maines natural resources, and the legacy that he left behind that he is the 2021 Legendary Maine Game Warden.

*The Legendary Game Warden of the Year award shall be presented to any retired member of the Maine Warden Service who, consistently in the past, conducted themselves in such a manner as to display exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement and since retiring has continued to provide a passion for meeting the goals and mission of the MWS.

2021 K9 Search and Rescue of the Year Award: Game Warden Chad Robertson and Storm (Skowhegan District) The team is recognized for a July 2021 search and rescue for an 80-year-old man with dementia who was found in a ditch, unable to get up, severely hypothermic. The man made a full recovery.

2021 K9 Conservation Case of the Year Award: Game Warden Jake Voter and K9 Koda (Norridgewock District) The team is recognized for their efforts during a November 2021 illegal deer hunting case in the town of Norridgewock that resulted in summonses for hunting deer after having killed one, hunting with bait, hunting without hunter orange and operating a motor vehicle after suspension.

2018 Exemplary Service Awards: Game Wardens Charles Brown, Scott Martin, Seth Powers, Preston Pomerleau and Kale OLeary Recognized for their teamwork in perseverance in apprehending a night hunter who killed two deer one evening in Aroostook county.

Game Wardens Harry Wiegman, Cody Lounder and Josh Theriault Recognized for going above and beyond their normal course of duties in stopping a runaway motorboat that was spinning in circles and getting closer to camps on shore on Thompson Lake in Poland.

Game Wardens Marc DElia and Nic Johnson Recognized for their outstanding efforts regarding a case where traps were illegally set on private land without permission, and their work on recreational vehicle OUI enforcement.

Game Warden Alan Curtis Recognized for his outstanding work as a K9 handler in training a new dog, and the successes in several searches and locating evidence.

Game Warden Charles Brown Recognized for his actions in saving a local man who lived off the grid and had severely cut his leg with a circular saw.

Game Warden Kayle Hamilton Recognized for his efforts in the 2021 open water fishing season in the Eagle Lake area and issuing summonses for 17 fishing violations.

Game Warden James Gushee
Recognized for his outstanding work and perseverance in summonsing a man for killing a moose without a permit.

Game Warden Dave Chabot
Recognized for his incredible efforts in attempting to save the life of a 13-year-old girl on Cherry Pond in Greene.

Game Wardens Mark Hutcheson and James Gushee; and Allagash Waterway Ranger Jay Young Recognized for their work in rescuing two canoeists in May 2021 whose canoe had capsized and the pair were drifting in the frigid, stormy water on Chamberlain Lake for over 90 minutes.

Game Wardens Camden Akins and Kevin Anderson Recognized for their extensive work on a poaching case that resulted in summonsing five different people, with one person receiving 63 summonses with fines over $38,000.

Game Warden Jake Voter Recognized for his work in solving a night hunting case utilizing his K9 Koda, as well as his work on a theft by deception case where an individual was charged for entering a fish in a derby that was caught on a different body of water at an earlier time.

Game Warden Sergeant Mike Joy, and Game Wardens Kale OLeary, Kayle Hamilton, Ed Christie and Game Warden Pilot Jeff Spencer Recognized for their work on a search and rescue operation where two elderly men had gone missing while fishing. This group searched through the night, and located them at 2:00 a.m. Both were suffering from severe hypothermia and dehydration.

Game Warden Evan Ackley Recognized for his extensive work during the 2021 fall hunting seasons, where he issued over 30 summonses for resource-related violations including hunting deer after having killed one, false registration of a deer, hunting under revocation and night hunting among others.

Game Wardens Will Shuman and Will Gormely Recognized for their work in apprehending a felon who was night hunting with a crossbow, and for the subsequent search warrant that yielded illegal deer meat and illegally possessed firearms.

Game Warden Brad Richard Recognized for his quick thinking, team-oriented efforts in rescuing a man who ended up in the water after the man had attempted to rescue a deer that had gone through the ice. His body temperature was 90 degrees when rescued.