Idaho Fish and Game’s George Fischer (third from left) received the 2016 Shikar-Safari Club International “Officer of the Year” award, in recognition of his work as the Grangeville-area district conservation officer. The award, which includes a certificate, a pewter plate and a pin, is a prestigious recognition of conservation officers’ professionalism.
As of Monday, June 5, 2017
This spring, district conservation officer George Fischer received an award he called “the pinnacle of recognition for wildlife officers” — the 2016 Shikar Safari Club International “officer of the year” award.
It reflects Fischer’s long tenure in the area, his professionalism and the work he has done to promote hunting in the Grangeville area.
Beyond his law enforcement duties, and beyond being an avid hunter and fisherman himself, Fischer helps organize hunter education courses and helps keep up a positive place in the public eye for these traditional sports.
While other law enforcement awards follow mainly from a particular enforcement action, the Shikar Safari Club International award factors in an officer’s professionalism in relationships with hunters, anglers and landowners, their dedication to wildlife resources and their participation in activities outside of daily enforcement work.
Fischer credited relationships with landowners, hunter education instructors and his fellow officers for making him look good — and said the award is also a credit to the part his wife, Jennie, and his daughters, Sarah and Laura, have had in his work.
“You’re on-call 24/7/365, and while you do as much as you can as far as making it to volleyball games and graduations, you miss some of those things,” Fischer said. “That’s the hardest part for me. And when you have enforcement that has to happen, sometimes people will look at them the same way they look at me. So it’s like they’ve been officers of the state right along with me. This award is the biggest honor I can imagine for me and my family and it’s very humbling.”
Fischer joined the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in 1989 and has risen to the position of supervising patrol of thousands of square miles that span the southern end of the Clearwater Region — an area that extends from Riggins to Winchester, from the Snake River to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Beyond hunter education, Idaho Fish and Game keeps up a youth hunt program, for which Fischer and a legion of volunteers have partnered with local landowners to give youth opportunities to carry hunting and conservation into the future.
“It’s so rewarding to see kids become part of the conservation movement and not become poachers,” Fischer said.
The club was founded in 1953 for the advancement of knowledge concerning the wildlife of the world, independently and in cooperation with the zoological societies, universities and museums through collection of wildlife for scientific or educational purposes, the making of still and motion pictures of wildlife to be used for scientific and educational objectives, the collection and dissemination of information concerning wildlife, and the preservation of nearly extinct species of wildlife by encouraging and promoting the enforcement of conservation laws and other appropriate means.
"One of the conversation programs supported by the club is the SSCI Wildlife Officer of the year program," Shikar Safari Club International vice president Eric Stumberg said. "We’ve been administering this for 40+ years. It is supported by all 50 states and 13 Canadian Provinces and seeks to recognize conservation excellent in the field. It is a peer-awarded recognition and includes a pin that can be worn on the officer uniform, a certificate, a brass nameplate and a $20,000 death benefit paid within 48 hours of notification."
About Fischer's nomination
In November 2016, Idaho Fish and Game's enforcement division sent Stumber a letter nominating Fischer for the award. The nomination highlighted not only his enforcement work -- 502 license checks, 52 investigations, 120 nuisance animal complaints and more than 1,500 non-enforcement contacts. It noted his work supervising the Grangeville district, and highlighted Fischer's role as point man on nine youth hunting events with 115 youth, including hunts for pheasants, turkeys and deer. The nomination letter also notes his work with the NRA's Women On Target event and the Wounded Warrior program.