The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Tennessee Wildlife Officer’s Association have recently presented Greene County Wildlife Officer James McAfee with multiple law enforcement awards.
Officer McAfee’s colleagues within the TWRA have selected him as the District 42 Wildlife Officer of the Year. The annual award recognizes an officer for outstanding efforts in teamwork, public outreach, excellence and innovation, attitude, leadership, and for achievements and accomplishments.
Although assigned to Greene County, Officer McAfee routinely works in any of the ten counties within District 42. He selflessly assists others and is the first to volunteer to work with officers in other counties. His passion for educating the public and providing opportunities to hunters and fishers is unsurpassed. He annually coordinates lease agreements with local farmers to provide access for dove hunters and conducts a youth dove hunt in cooperation with the UT Agricultural Experiment Station. His public outreach efforts alone annually reach over 4,600 people.
Officer McAfee has recruited the majority of Greene County’s 16 hunter education instructors and works closely with them to educate new hunters. He is also successful in implementing the Scholastic Clay Target Program and the National Archery in the Schools Program within the County’s school system.
Officer McAfee said, “I have always let my profession as a wildlife officer reflect who I am and exemplify the work effort that I was raised with. The job has a broad spectrum of responsibilities and I have always tried to work equally as hard on each one. While I may not write as many tickets as some officers do, I feel like educating the public on the biology and background behind the laws is important. Sometimes, a little education is all that is needed to solve the problem.”
Officer McAfee also received the NWTF Region 4 Wildlife Officer of the Year Award. Each year, the NWTF recognizes a TWRA officer from each region for outstanding efforts in law enforcement and for continued restoration of the wild turkey. Officer McAfee’s family and several coworkers joined him recently at the annual banquet of the local NWTF Three River’s Longbeards chapter when he was presented with the award. While this award honors Officer McAfee for his recent efforts, his career as a TWRA employee speaks volumes for wild turkey conservation.
While working as a wildlife technician in 1994, Mr. McAfee was responsible for trapping and relocating wild turkeys to Greene Co. “The first year, I wasn’t that good at it,” said Mr. McAfee. “But by the second year, I was done by December and had placed turkeys all over the county.”
Officer McAfee points out that over two decades ago, Greene County was 75th out of 95 counties in annual spring turkey harvest but now consistently ranks in the top five.
The Tennessee Wildlife Officer’s Association has also honored Officer McAfee with the Outstanding Service Award. The TWOA Board of Directors chose Officer McAfee at a recent meeting for outstanding achievement or service in the field of Wildlife Law Enforcement. TWOA president Joe Campbell saidd, “There’s not another Wildlife Officer in the state with as much passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to the job than James McAfee. We are truly proud to present him with this award.” Officer McAfee will now be considered for the same award within the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officer’s Association.
Officer McAfee is humbled by the notoriety and is mostly grateful to his coworkers for their recognition, saying, “To be chosen by my peers means more to me than any award.”