McMinn County Wildlife Officer Mike Buckner has retired after more than 30 years of dedicated employment. Well known throughout the county, Officer Buckner became the county wildlife officer in 2007 and served its citizens wholeheartedly, officials said.
Officer Buckner started his career in Bradley County in 1990 after receiving degrees in wildlife and chemistry from Tennessee Tech University. He received advice that remained with him throughout his career. His grandfather David Crockett Brannon’s gift of a book reminded him to take care of the people for whom he worked. A fellow officer encouraged him to take the best advice from everyone and make his own way. Officer Buckner practiced these things and it reflected throughout his career.
Beyond general wildlife officer duties, Officer Buckner’s early years included restoration efforts of turkey, otters and bald eagles. He also helped stock trout, taking a regular route along the Hiwassee River. Throughout his career Officer Buckner was involved in community education, teaching hunter education to more than one generation in the county. Officer Buckner was awarded Hunter Education Instructor of the Year on two occasions.
Officer Buckner was known as a good partner and he is described as reliable, often helping officers in other counties. “Mike is very community oriented. He’s very intelligent and was sharp on the job. Mike was slow to speak, but when he shared his thoughts, we listened,” stated Captain Jeff Bishop.
At the start of his career, TWRA Major CJ Jaynes worked with Officer Buckner. “Mike was an old school game warden. I appreciate him taking me under his wing over 20 years ago. I wish him well in retirement and thank him for being my first partner,” said Major Jaynes.
Officer Buckner said he greatly enjoyed working with good people and felt blessed to work in his community. When asked what he most looked forward to, he said, “I’m happy to step away from the phone and the duty of being on call at all times. I look forward to quality time with my wife.”
Officer Buckner will continue teaching hunter education in the community. TWRA thanks Officer Mike Buckner for his dedication to wildlife and service.