Wildlife blog

Blog contributors

A look at the writers who make this blog possible.

The following DWR staff have shared their personal wildlife stories with you on this blog. Here you can find out a little bit more about who they are and what they do on the job. Click their image avatars to see a list of their posts.

Aaron Cox

Aaron Cox is a guest contributor to the DWR blog. He has been in the DWR's Dedicated Hunter Program since 1998. Aaron is from Milford and enjoys being a dedicated hunter because he can do the things he loves while spending time with family and friends.

Adam Brewerton

Adam is the Conservation Wildlife Biologist in the Northern Region. He enjoys working with bats and pelicans but focuses on the multitude of non-game birds and mammals found north of Salt Lake City.

Alex Hansen

Alex Hansen is the Outdoor Recreation Specialist for DWR's Northeastern Region. Fueled by his love of the outdoors, Alex is an avid hunter and fisherman who enjoys sharing and promoting outdoor adventures.

Ashley Green

Ashley Green is the Habitat Section Chief for the Division. He loves to do about anything in the outdoors as well as traveling with his family.

Avery Cook

Avery Cook is the Upland Game Project Leader out of the Salt Lake office. He helps coordinate programs to manage upland game birds and rabbits within the state.

Ben Nadolski

Ben Nadolski has been an Aquatic Biologist for the Northern Region of the UDWR for over ten years. His education and professional training have focused on fisheries biology and stream habitat restoration. The protection and restoration of Utah’s rivers and fisheries is his life’s work.

Bill Bates

Bill Bates is the wildlife section chief in the Salt Lake office. While working for the DWR, he's had the chance to restore river otter populations, research endangered fish, crawl into bear dens, and transplant big game animals.

Blair Stringham

Blair Stringham is the Migratory Game Bird Coordinator for UDWR. He oversees the management of waterfowl, cranes, band-tailed pigeons and doves in Utah. In his free time he enjoys hunting waterfowl and spending time with his family.

Bob Walters

Bob Walters is the DWR's Watchable Wildlife program coordinator. He is an avid birder who loves Utah's amazing wildlife, particularly Salt Lake City's resident peregrine falcons.

Brent Stettler

Brent is the DWR's conservation outreach manager for southeastern Utah. He loves wildlife and the outdoors and spends his free time exploring the backcountry.

Bryan Engelbert

Bryan is the Northeastern Region cutthroat trout biologist for the UDWR. He enjoys the great diversity of outdoor activities that Utah has to offer, from the driest desert landscapes to the highest mountain peaks. He spends many of his weekends fishing, hunting and hiking with his family.

Calvin Black

Calvin Black is the DWR's Aquatic Biologist in southeastern Utah. He helps coordinate the region's sport fish and Aquatic Invasive Species Programs. He is an avid hunter and angler.

Carmen Bailey

Carmen is a trained biologist and program coordinator. She spends most of her time in the Salt Lake City office managing a variety of programs, including species mapping, sensitive species databases and NEPA review.

Channing Howard

Channing is the Wildlife Recreation Program Specialist for the Division. She has a Master’s degree in wildlife biology studying mule deer translocation and public perceptions. Channing enjoys hiking, ice fishing, hunting deer and small game, gardening and spending time with her chickens.

Chris Crockett

Chris Crockett is an aquatic biologist who specializes in native amphibians. When he isn’t working, Chris enjoys fishing for native cutthroat trout, hunting forest grouse and kayaking with his wife, Emily, on the Great Salt Lake.

Chris Penne

Chris Penne is an aquatics biologist in the DWR's Ogden office, where he specializes in reservoir and lake management. He works with a crew of six other biologists and is responsible for fish and amphibians in seven counties of northern utah.

Darren DeBloois

Darren DeBloois is the game mammals coordinator for the Division. He was previously the biologist who managed all hunted species on the Cache and Ogden Wildlife Management Units in northern Utah. Darren received his Masters degree in Wildlife Management from Utah State University.

Dave Rich

Dave has worked for the DWR for the past 22 years, and has held a variety of positions in both northern and southeastern Utah. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys spending time with his family.

David Lee

David Lee works in the Habitat Section as a project leader, implementing habitat improvements on wetland and upland habitats on wetland mitigation lands in central Utah. David enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife and kids.

Dean Mitchell

Dean Mitchell is the Conservation Outreach Section chief for the DWR. He oversees the agency’s Communication, Education, Volunteer and Watchable Wildlife programs.

Drew Cushing

Drew Cushing is chief of the Division's aquatics section. He works with other DWR personnel and angling groups to ensure appropriate and consistent program direction. Drew is an avid angler and hunter.

Dustin Schaible

Dustin is a wildlife biologist in southern Utah. His district includes the Panguitch Lake, Zion and Kaiparowits WMUs.

Garn Birchell

Garn Birchell is an Aquatic Biologist in the DWR's Northeastern Region. He helps coordinate the sportfish, aquatic invasive species and Colorado River cutthhroat trout restoration programs in the region. He enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking and growing a vegetable garden.

Gary Bezzant

Gary is the Habitat Program Manager for DWR's Southern Region. He oversees the Wildlife Management Areas and Habitat Restoration program and works closely with federal agencies to ensure their actions are in the best interest of wildlife. He has a wife and six children.

Gary Cook

Gary grew up in northern Utah and obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Utah State University. He's married and has three kids. He started with the Division at the front counter in the Salt Lake office. He's now a Wildlife Program Coordinator over the statewide hunter education, shooting sports a shooting range programs.

Ja Eggett

Ja works as the Lee Kay Public Shooting Range building and grounds supervisor, and he's been with the Division since 2010. He enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and "froggin" with his wife and four kids.

Jason Robinson

Jason Robinson is the Upland Game Program Coordinator for UDWR. He has a Master's in wildlife studying greater sage-grouse in Utah's west desert. When Jason isn't at work, you'll find him hunting upland game and big game, and spending time with his wife April and dogs, Trigger and Gauge.

Jim Lamb

Jim Lamb began working for the DWR in 1992 as a conservation officer. In 2005, he transferred into the Wildlife section to work in Loa as a district biologist.

John Fairchild

John is currently the regional supervisor for the Central Region. He's spent most of his 35-year career in the Habitat Section. He attended graduate school at BYU and received a MS and Ph.D. in Wildlife and Range Resources. John enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking and camping with family and friends.

John Luft

John Luft is the Great Salt Lake ecosystem program manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He enjoys hunting in his free time.

Josh Pollock

Josh has been a conservation officer for UDWR since 2008. He works hard to protect the wildlife in Piute, Wayne and Garfield counties. He grew up in southern Utah and loves spending time hunting and fishing.

Justin Dolling

Justin Dolling is the regional supervisor for DWR's Northern Region. During his career, he’s had the opportunity to be involved with the management of wetlands, upland game, waterfowl, river otter, big game, bear, cougar and furbearers.

Justin Hart

Justin Hart is the DWR's Aquatic Program Manager in southeastern Utah. He helps coordinate the region's sport fish, native fish, and Aquatic Invasive Species Programs.

Justin Shannon

Justin is the Wildlife Program Manager in the DWR's Southeastern Region.

Justina Parsons-Bernstein

Guest contributor Justina Parsons-Bernstein, PhD, has worked on public history projects for governmental agencies, universities, non-profit organizations and museums around the West. She now serves as the Heritage, Interpretation and ADA Resources Manager for Utah State Parks.

Keith Day

Keith has been employed by DWR for 20 years and has spent all that time in non-game management. He started out working with terrestrial and aquatic species, bears, cougars and furbearers. The past 14 years he's supervised the terrestrial Sensitive Species program for our Cedar City office.

Kenny Johnson

Kenny Johnson works in the division's administrative section as the Business Analyst. His team oversees online sales, AR for license sales revenue and vendor partnerships. He enjoys serving the public and is a life-long Utah hunter, fisher, sportsman and outdoors enthusiast.

Kirt Enright

Kirt has worked for the DWR for 30 years and has spent the last 15 as a wildlife biologist. He enjoys upland game and waterfowl hunting, along with walleye and bass fishing.

Lisa Graham

Lisa is the Division's Native Aquatics Office Manager. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree and loves spending time outdoors hunting and boating with family. She seeks adventure, enjoys playing piano and travels as much as she can.

Lynn Chamberlain

Lynn Chamberlain has been a professional outdoor photographer for over 30 years. His photos frequently appear on the DWR website and in a variety of publications. He lives in southern Utah and is the Conservation Outreach manager for the DWR's Southern Region.

Makeda Trujillo Hanson

Makeda is the habitat program manager in the Southeastern Region. She is a Utah native who enjoys sharing her passion for the outdoors, hunting and fishing with her husband, two young daughters and their pudelpointer, Flint.

Mark Hadley

Mark Hadley is a member of the DWR's creative team, a team he affectionately refers to as "the best communications team in state government." When he isn’t writing a news-related item or helping a reporter, you might find him chasing ducks in a marsh or casting a worm or a jig for bluegills and crappie.

Matt Bartley

Matt is the event coordination specialist for the Division. He coordinates and evaluates statewide events to ensure we are providing the public with meaningful experiences that support the adoption of outdoor recreation, ultimately improving the quality of life for Utahns. In his spare time, he can be found somewhere outside climbing, mountain biking, hiking or canyoneering.

Matt McKell

Matt McKell is the Northern Region cutthroat biologist for the Division of Wildlife Resources. He enjoys the outdoors, spending time with his family and combining the two as often as possible.

Maureen Frank

Guest contributor Maureen Frank is a PhD student at Utah State University studying migratory waterbirds at Great Salt Lake. Her research will provide DWR and other managers with useful information about keeping the lake healthy for eared grebes and phalaropes.

Micah Evans

Micah lives in Panguitch and has worked as a conservation officer for eight years. He's been a resident of Southern Utah for most of his adult life. In his free time he enjoys hunting, hiking, martial arts and competition shooting.

Mike Canning

Michael "Mike" Canning serves as the Division's assistant director and has spent most of his career working on wildlife habitat and land management issues. Prior to becoming assistant director, Mike worked as GIS Coordinator and Habitat Section chief.

Morgan Jacobsen

Morgan is the conservation outreach manager for the Southeastern Region of the UDWR. He is a former journalist, and enjoys writing and helping people discover Utah's extraordinary wildlife.

Nicole Nielson

Nicole is a habitat biologist in the Southeast Region who works with the impact of oil and natural gas.

Parker Jones

Parker Jones works diligently on the website for the DWR. He also travels around Utah assisting with video production that ranges from creeping into bear dens to jumping on pronghorn. He spends his free time recovering from these escapades.

Patricia Engel

After working as an environmental scientist in Florida, Tricia left her beaches for Utah's mountains in 2008. She loves the beauty of the state and now works as DWR's Events Coordinator.

Paul Birdsey

Paul is the aquatics manager in the DWR's Southeast Region. He describes himself as the world's only limnologist, planner, database programmer, hypersaline system ecologist, financial manager and fisheries administrator. In his free time, Paul can usually be found fishing.

Phil Douglass

Phil Douglass is the DWR's conservation outreach manager in northern Utah. He is an avid videographer who works closely with the public and the media to highlight Utah's great wildlife opportunities.

Phil Tuttle

Phil Tuttle is a native aquatics biologist in the DWR's northern region. He's an avid angler and enjoys watching wildlife.

Randall Thacker

Randall has been a Wildlife Biologist in the Division's Northeastern Region since 1995. He has a Master’s Degree in Wildlife and Range Management from Brigham Young University. He loves Utah’s wild animals and wild places.

Randy Oplinger

Randy is the Sport Fisheries Coordinator at the Division. During his time with the UDWR, Randy has conducted studies that have helped improve the management of Utah's fisheries. He specializes in aquaculture, invasive species control and fisheries management.

Richard Hepworth

Richard Hepworth is the aquatics manager with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Southern Region office. He enjoys fishing and hunting.

Robin Cahoon

Robin is the DWR's marketing coordinator and spends much of her time working to get — and keep — people excited about fishing. She is also heavily involved with legislative issues important to the DWR.

Ron Stewart

Ron is the DWR's conservation outreach manager in the Northeastern Region. From wrestling bighorn sheep to banding ospreys, he loves the chance to be part of wildlife projects around the state. In his free time he enjoys traveling and wildlife photography.

Ryan Mosley

Ryan is a fisheries biologist whose work focuses on both the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir. He loves to hike, hunt, fish and play in the surrounding hills when he's not at work.

Scott Root

Scott is the DWR's conservation outreach manager in central Utah. He works with the public, the media and anyone who has questions about wildlife. He enjoys hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, especially with his kids.

Shauna Leavitt

Shauna Leavitt is a guest contributor to the DWR blog. She writes for the Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University and has written for many regional and national wildlife magazines including, The Mule Deer Foundation, The Wildlife Professional and People, Land & Water.

Therese Meyer

Therese Meyer has been with UDWR for over ten years. She works in the Habitat Section focusing on land and water asset management. On vacations she enjoys looking at native plants (“botanizing”), sailing, river rafting, and traveling to new places.

Tony Wright

Tony Wright is the Conservation Wildlife Biologist in the Southeastern Region. He works with a wide variety of birds and mammals, all the way from Soldiers Summit to Monument Vally.

Tonya Kieffer

Tonya Kieffer is a former DWR community fisheries biologist.

Trina Hedrick

Trina has worked for the Division for almost nine years. She worked in native aquatics for much of that time, but is currently the Northeastern Region's Aquatics Manager. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, fishing and skiing.

Troy Davis

Troy works for the DWR's Wildlife Health Program. His years in the federal system and in Utah have allowed him to work with species ranging from spotted owls and sea turtles to jaguars and chukars. Troy likes to camp, hike, read and explore.

Wayne Gustaveson

Wayne Gustaveson is the DWR's project leader at Lake Powell. His 34 years at the lake have given him unique insights into this popular fishery. He shares his fishing tips and reports at

Wyatt Bubak

Wyatt grew up in northern Utah and obtained a Master's Degree in Natural Resources from Utah State University. He's married and has two kids. He started with the Division as an officer in Davis County. He's now a Lieutenant over statewide training.

Thanks to the blog contributors for taking time to write their stories. If you are a DWR employee and have a story to share, please e-mail

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