Texas Game Warden Ryan Hunter has only been a warden for a little more than two years, but he has already made a huge impact.
For those efforts, Hunter has been named Texas “Officer of the Year” by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Director Carter Smith presented the award to Hunter at the quarterly meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission last Thursday.
Hunter began his career with TPWD on Jan. 4, 2010 as a member of the 55th cadet class at the Texas Game Warden Training Academy. Since graduation that summer, he has been assigned to Moore and Sherman counties in the Texas Panhandle.
As a state game warden, Ryan has encountered a variety of law enforcement scenarios.
“His strong work ethic, positive attitude and professional demeanor have served him well when working with fellow employees and constituents,” Smith said of Hunter.
When a child was sexually assaulted, Hunter and his wife were called on to assist the Texas Rangers with the investigation. Ryan’s wife volunteered as an interpreter and the couple provided temporary housing for the child until the family members could be located by Child Protective Services.
After recognizing that hunting and fishing violations were excessively high among the Burmese residents in his area, Hunter collaborated with the community to conduct outreach events dealing with hunting and fishing regulations in their native language. Since then, violations have declined substantially.
In another case, when he received information from a National Park Service ranger about possible illegal fishing activity on Lake Meredith, Hunter and the ranger were able to apprehend four individuals who had used a homemade gill net to catch more than 200 pounds of catfish, walleye and carp. After further investigation, the subjects were linked to an illegal fish selling/ purchasing operation.
Hunter also handled a case involving the illegal sale of game animal meat. After working with other law enforcement agencies for several weeks, the suspect was brought to justice.
Warden Hunter has also been recognized as the Public Service/Involvement Officer of the Year by the Moore County 4-H for his community outreach efforts involving local youth.
His efforts, along with other public service and law enforcement personnel, helped bring to life a Law Enforcement Explorers Club for youth and young adults in the Moore County area.
A magna cum laude graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Hunter is currently pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice-public safety.