Laclede County conservation agent wins state award

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Agent Jarad Milligan's commitment to promoting good conservation practices in the state goes far beyond regulation enforcement. Though enforcing the state's game and fishing laws is the primary focus of the Laclede County conservation agent's job, Milligan's approach to informing citizens about Missouri's great fish and wildlife resources is definitely multi-faceted.

The Dixon native has been with MDC as a full-time employee six years, all as a conservation agent in Laclede County. Milligan's wide-ranging dedication to the outdoors has earned him the National Wild Turkey Federation's (NWTF) Missouri Wildlife Officer of the Year award. He received this honor Jan. 9 at the NWTF's annual state convention at Lake of the Ozarks.

"Jarad has shown an overwhelming desire to serve both the public and the Missouri Department of Conservation in his position as conservation agent," said MDC Protection Division Field Chief Randy Doman. "Jarad has a balanced program of resource law enforcement, public relations, outreach, handling nuisance wildlife and wildlife damage complaints and all other aspects of a conservation agent's job duties."

In the area of enforcement, Milligan's numbers show his diligence. In 2015 he documented 182 violations that directly involved fish and wildlife resources, documented an additional 51 violations for incidents that didn't directly involve fish and wildlife resources; made 131 arrests, assisted in 75 other arrests and issued 18 written warnings. Included among his 2015 enforcement duties was catching the shooter of a black bear, which is a protected species in Missouri.

However, there's much more to Milligan's commitment to conservation than pursuing game violators. In 2015, Milligan helped organize the first-ever NWTF-sponsored youth dove hunt in Laclede County and personally mentored a youth hunter in the event. He also helped organize the first-ever youth antler-less hunt in Laclede County and mentored a young hunter in that event, too.

Jarad also assisted with the annual NWTF JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) event in Laclede County, which was attended by more than 1,000 children and their parents. Jarad recruited more than 120 JAKES memberships through hunter education courses he taught in Laclede County.

"Jarad definitely supports our hunting heritage," Doman said. "He's an avid hunter and shares his vast knowledge with hunters of all ages."