Three staff members of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) were honored at the annual banquet of the West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), held Jan. 10 in Flatwoods.
Robert Cutright, who is stationed at the Otter Creek and Beaver Dam Wildlife Management areas on the Monongahela National Forest, was named “Outstanding Wildlife Manager of the Year” for his work with the management of wild turkeys in the state.
Recently-retired Wildlife Biologist James Evans of Fairmont was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of his 38 years of service and for his efforts with the research and reintroduction of wild turkeys.
Conservation Officer Kevin Bingaman, who is stationed in Braxton County, received the NWTF “Sharp Spur Award” in recognition of his work to improve hunter safety, especially among area youth, and for his law enforcement efforts to prevent turkey poaching.
The West Virginia State Chapter of the NWTF is one of the state’s largest and most active sportsmen’s organizations. Its primary goal is to support and promote the sound management and use of the state’s wild turkey resource. The NWTF is also committed to delivering conservation education and outdoor skills training to women and children throughout the country.
Robert (Bobby) E. Cutright, DNR Wildlife Manager, received the prestigious Outstanding Wildlife Manager of the Year Award from the West Virginia State Chapter of NWTF. This award is presented annually by the NWTF to recognize and honor a wildlife manager in West Virginia who has demonstrated outstanding efforts in the management and conservation of the wild turkey and other wildlife resources of the state.
In presenting this year’s award, NWTF Regional Director Bob Farkasovsky congratulated Cutright for his many years of service to the sportsmen and women of West Virginia. “The National Wild Turkey Federation is proud of the work accomplished by Wildlife Managers throughout the country,” said Farkasovsky. “Here in West Virginia, our hunters are most appreciative of the dedication and hard work that Bobby and many other wildlife managers demonstrate every day.”
Serving as a Wildlife Manager on the Monongahela National Forest’s Otter Creek and Beaver Dam Wildlife Management areas, Bobby Cutright has been active in the management of the wild turkey while serving the citizens of West Virginia. These efforts include major contributions to the state’s Wild Turkey Restoration Program, Wild Turkey Population Dynamics Study and Wildlife Management Area Program. Throughout his career, Cutright has trapped numerous turkeys for both restocking efforts and wildlife research purposes. These research and management efforts, which have been funded in large part by the NWTF, have allowed the DNR to establish and maintain one of the strongest wild turkey programs in the mid-Appalachian region of the United States.
In addition to his work with wild turkeys, Bobby has been very involved with the recently completed Appalachian Cooperative Grouse Research Project and the ongoing Black Bear Research and Monitoring Program.
“Bobby Cutright has made notable contributions to the state’s wildlife management program and the sportsmen and women that enjoy these abundant wildlife resources,” said Curtis Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of DNR. “In addition to his numerous professional accomplishments, Bobby has been extremely active in a wide range of conservation education activities such as providing wildlife programs to local schools, Glenville State College and West Virginia University. Bobby has also been actively involved in the Outdoor Youth Challenge associated with the National Hunting and Fishing Days Celebration.”
James Evans of Fairmont was honored by the West Virginia State Chapter of NWTF with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Chapter President Charlie Nichols and NWTF Senior Regional Director Bob Farkasovsky recognized Evans for his 38 years of distinguished service to the sportsmen and women of West Virginia and for his 26 years of service on West Virginia’s Wild Turkey Technical Committee. This is only the fourth time in the history of the organization that the prestigious award has been presented by the West Virginia State Chapter of the NWTF. Previous recipients of this award include retired DNR Wild Turkey Biologist Wayne Bailey, retired DNR Wild Turkey Biologist Jim Pack, and renowned wildlife photographer and motivational speaker Glenn “Tink” Smith.
Evans retired from the DNR Wildlife Resources Section on October 31, 2008. He received the first Masters Degree in Wildlife Management awarded from West Virginia University in 1968. He began his professional career as District Game Biologist in Fairmont and led that District’s game management efforts for 30 years. In 2000, Evans was promoted to the position of Supervisor of Game Management Services, where he led the DNR’s wildlife research efforts for the remainder of his long and productive career.
Curtis Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section, lauded Jim’s career and accomplishments. “Jim’s knowledge, dedication and commitment to West Virginia’s wildlife programs will certainly be missed by our agency and the citizens of West Virginia,” said Taylor. “His professionalism, sound judgment and effective leadership will serve as an excellent role model for those biologists who follow in his footsteps.”
Senior Conservation Officer Kevin Bingaman, who is stationed in Braxton County, was presented with the “Silver Spur Award” by the West Virginia Chapter of NWTF for his wildlife law enforcement activities during the year.
“Officer Bingaman has worked Braxton County for several years and, through his efforts, the citizens and other law enforcement agencies have come to know and trust him, “ said Lt. James Vance of the DNR Law Enforcement Section. “He is very level headed and uses patience and tact when dealing with any situation.
Bingaman is especially active with young people in the Hunter Education Program, teaching about safe and ethical turkey hunting. He also participates in youth fishing events, 4-H Camps teaching boating safety, and JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) Day.
Officer Bingaman also is very active scouting for pre-season turkey hunters, locating illegal bait sites, collecting information on illegal hunters, and making arrests. His efforts helped in the apprehension of two adults who thought they would take advantage of the one-day youth turkey hunting season without taking any youth with them, and also illegally killing a hen turkey.
Public Information Officer
(304) 558-2003 ext. 365
Contact: Curtis Taylor
Wildlife Resources Section
Contact: Lt. Col. Jerry Jenkins
Law Enforcement Section