Every year, the National Wild Turkey Federation chooses to recognize a California Wildlife Officer that truly goes above and beyond the ever-challenging and nuanced role of a Game Warden. An individual that not only exhibits a passion for the resource, but also a desire to further and advance the traditions of our hunting heritage. And Lt. Alan Gregory exemplifies exactly that. “Lt. Gregory not only displays strong leadership in the enforcement arena through the number of wild turkey poaching cases he’s tackled in his career with the department, but his ingenuity and ability to think outside of the box while at the helm of the Advanced Hunter Education program has absolutely led to an increase in retention of new hunters in California.” Says NWTF’s Pacific Coast District Biologist, Kevin Vella. “Alan is the perfect example of who this award is intended to recognize, and we at the National Wild Turkey Federation could not be more proud to have him as our 2020 Wildlife Officer of the Year for California”
From CDFW’s Nomination Letter for Lt. Gregory:
Lieutenant Alan Gregory began his admiration for hunting turkeys shortly after being hired as a Warden in Calaveras County in 2006. As a new Warden, he organized numerous turkey decoy operations that resulted in the apprehension of many turkey poachers. Additionally, he completed numerous investigations for the unlawful take of turkeys out of season, over-limits, and baiting. In 2015, he promoted to the Lt. Specialist within Hunter Education Program, Advanced Hunter Education. During his tenure with the program, he coordinated 18 turkey hunting clinics across California teaching approximately 750 students with the basics of turkey hunting. He worked these clinics with numerous members of the National Wild Turkey Federation, wildlife officers, biologists, and turkey aficionados to provide enough basic information to help new turkeys hunters feel comfortable pursuing wild turkeys in California.
In 2019, Lt Gregory worked with the USFWS and the National Wild Turkey Federation to initiate a mentored spring turkey hunting program at two National Wildlife Refuges. The hunters were randomly selected by drawing from the students who attended the turkey hunting clinics. As the Advanced Hunter Education Coordinator, Lt. Gregory coordinated approximately 100 clinics on a wide range of topics that included deer hunting, upland game, wild pig, waterfowl, land navigation, marksmanship, backpack hunting, game processing, cooking, and more. During that time, he registered nearly 3,000 students into the program, most of which were new to hunting. He also coordinated and instructed numerous basic Hunter Education classes for employees within CDFW, legislators and staff, and his home community.
In 2020, Lt Gregory promoted to the Supervising Lieutenant for Sacramento, Yolo, and Solano Counties, and within the first few months in his new role, he made two wild turkey cases. He investigated a report of a turkey that was found dead in a residential neighborhood during the youth-only turkey season. During his investigation, he learned the homeowner had been contacted by an unknown male inquiring about turkey hunting opportunities. Using a parcel mapping application, Lt Gregory located a nearby home that matched the description provided by the reporting party. Lt Gregory contacted the individual and interviewed him. The subject denied shooting the turkey. Lt. Gregory used available technology, to confirm the identity of the shooter with the reporting party. After the reporting party positively identified the suspect, Lt Gregory returned to the suspect’s residence and confronted him about the incident. Through excellent interview skills, the subject confessed to shooting the turkey with a pellet gun. The subject was issued a citation for the take of wild turkey out of season, no hunting license, no upland bird validation, and for hunting too close to other houses.
The following weekend, during the general turkey season opener, Lt Gregory observed a vehicle had been parked in an odd location during predawn hours. After learning there was public accessible hunting area nearby, and finding gun cases in the backseat, he decided to wait for the subjects to return to the vehicle. Later, he noticed two subjects on bicycles riding towards the parked vehicle. As the subjects reached the vehicle, they loaded their bikes. Lt. Gregory contacted the subjects. Upon inspecting their backpacks, Lt Gregory found they were in possession of three turkeys. The subject initially claimed the extra bird belonged to a friend who was lost. Lt Gregory asked them to call him. The suspects told Lt Gregory, the lost individual, didn’t have his phone and he was on a different radio channel. Not believing their story, Lt Gregory inquired deeper. One of the suspects later changed his story and confessed to Lt Gregory for shooting two birds with one shot. A closer inspection of the birds showed inconsistent thermal temperatures. Lt Gregory explained the evidence to both subject. Eventually, one subject confessed to shooting two turkeys and was issued a citation for an over-limit of wild turkeys.
During Lt Gregory’s off time, he enjoys taking hunters, new to turkey hunting, out to try for their first turkey hunting experience.
Lt. Alan Gregory transferred into the Northern Enforcement District this year. He brings positive leadership to his squad and this district. His level of energy and enthusiasm is high, which is very contagious. His passion for apprehension of poachers and protecting our resources is intense. Lt Gregory constantly collaborates with others and offers fresh ideas and new concepts to catch potential violators. He is willing to take risks and think outside the box to protect our resources.
Anyone who has been around Gregory would agree he is a dedicated Fish and Wildlife Officer! We are honored to nominate Lt. Alan Gregory for the 2020 National Wildlife Turkey Federation Officer of the Year.