A Department of Fish and Game (DFG) warden stationed in Los Banos has been named as the 2011 National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Officer of the Year. Lt. Shawn Olague is a 12-year veteran DFG warden who spent the first seven years of his career in the field and the last five educating the next generation of hunters. Olague has a passion for the outdoors both on and off the job, and today works in the same community where he grew up.

Olague currently coordinates California’s hunter education program, which includes 190 volunteer instructors in 13 counties. His instruction has led many youths and adults, most with little or no hunting experience, to a level of comfort and proficiency they never dreamed they could obtain. His efforts further DFG’s mission to help wildlife conservation efforts while promoting the safe and responsible pursuit of the hunting tradition.

Olague has helped with the development and implementation of California’s online Hunter Education Course, including overseeing the technological aspects of making the course available and ensuring that its content is compatible with both the traditional hunter education test and state law.

One of Olague’s teaching priorities is to teach new hunters how to serve as ambassadors to the non-hunting community of California. He represents the program at many community events, always explaining that the purpose of hunter education is not just to license new hunters, but also to educate the public about the reasons why hunting and hunters are important for conservation efforts.

The NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation and hunting organization that, along with its volunteers, partners and sponsors, has worked for the conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of our hunting heritage. When the NWTF was established in 1973, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than 7 million birds throughout North America and hunting seasons have been established in 49 states, Canada and Mexico.

Every year, NWTF honors a California game warden who serves as an outstanding example of their mission on behalf of wild turkeys, turkey hunting and wildlife conservation.

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