Texas wildlife lost a longtime supporter yesterday.
Vernon Bevill was tragically killed in an automobile accident near his home in Kyle.
TPWD’s Executive Director Carter Smith released a letter this morning detailing Bevill’s life and accomplishments:
It is with deep regret that I write to inform you of the passing of our former colleague and friend Vernon Bevill. Vernon died in a tragic car accident yesterday near his home in Kyle. He had just returned home from his 50th high school anniversary, where he had been honored as the Chairman of the Reunion Committee.
For those of you who knew and worked with Vernon, you will not soon forget him. A native son of Louisiana, he shared his ample southern homespun wit, wisdom, and colloquialisms with all around him. He was a graduate of Louisiana Tech, where he studied wildlife biology and conducted his master’s work on waterfowl. Before coming to Texas, Vernon worked as a turkey biologist in South Carolina, where I must say, the stories still abound about his time and tenure there! Vernon went on to work for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, as well as the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, where he served as the agency’s executive director.
Vernon arrived at TPWD in 1993 as the Director of the Small Game Program, which included our Resident and Migratory Game Bird programs. Later, the Habitat Assessment Program was added to his program oversight responsibilities. Vernon remained Program Director until his retirement in March 2010. During his tenure at TPWD, Vernon served proudly, tirelessly, and actively as Texas’ representative on the Central Flyway Council for his entire career. He was also the Central Flyway Consultant to the USFWS Service Regulations Committee from 1994-1999 and 2006-2008, where he worked diligently to promote additional hunter opportunity in our state. He was the author of the agency’s strategic plans for Upland and Migratory Game Birds and was a significant force behind the creation of the Department’s Quail Council. Upon his retirement from TPWD, Vernon joined his friend and former Louisiana Tech classmate, Jim Willis, to work for the Wildlife Habitat Federation, a non-profit organization focused on enhancing quail and upland bird habitat on private lands.
Vernon loved his chosen profession, and all that came with it. As a biologist, he worked on an array of species from waterfowl to dove to quail to deer to black bear to his beloved turkeys. His happiest days were with good friends on good hunts in good habitat. That was particularly so if it involved an opportunity for him to make his music while on a chase for long bearded toms on a Texas spring morning.
Vernon is survived by his beloved and cherished wife, Mary, and their youngest son Clay, his mother, and his granddaughters, who brightened every corner of his life. We will keep you posted on funeral arrangements as we know them. Until then, please keep Mary and the Bevill family in your thoughts and prayers.
All my Best,