Albuquerque, NM – Jim Lane, chief of the Department of Game and Fish Wildlife Management Division, was selected as the agency’s new director Thursday by the State Game Commission.
Lane will be responsible for overseeing a department with more than 300 employees and an annual budget of more than $34 million. His duties will begin Oct. 29, continuing the pursuit of the Department’s mission to conserve, protect, enhance, manage and propagate the state’s wildlife and its habitat for public recreation and food supply.
Lane will replace current Director Tod Stevenson, who announced plans to retire this month after having worked 33 years with the Department, including three as director.
As chief of the Wildlife Management Division, Lane was is responsible for a staff of 17 and an annual budget of $4.1 million. His division is in charge of big-game, habitat enhancement, wild turkey, small game, migratory bird, furbearer, bear and cougar programs.
In three years with the Department, Lane has helped increase numbers of big-game licenses, improved communication within the agency and with sportsmen and landowners, established a four-year rule process to improve big-game and small-game management decisions, and initiated the process to delist endangered desert bighorn sheep. He previously worked with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as an environmental scientist, wildlife division director, wildlife program coordinator and other positions. He holds a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky, and is a current member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited.
Lane currently lives in Rio Rancho with his wife, Beth, of 19 years; and children Allison and Christian.
“I’m extremely humbled to have this incredible opportunity to lead an agency of extremely talented professionals dedicated to the hunters, anglers and wildlife of New Mexico,” Lane said. “I look forward to working with everyone with a passion for our state’s natural resources and the recreation opportunities they provide.”
The Commission interviewed four finalists for the position Thursday in executive session, and then selected Lane in public session. Other finalists included:
Dan Brooks, of Santa Fe. A 20-year employee with the Department of Game and Fish, he currently is chief of Law Enforcement, a position he has held for the past 10 years. He also has worked as a wildlife specialist, game warden and public information officer. Many people also know Brooks as the “Cast Iron Ranger,” for his appearances on the Department television show as an outdoor chef. A graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in renewable natural resources, he also serves as a legislative representative for the Department and as a certified Department of Public Safety law enforcement trainer. He previously worked for the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a wildlife biologist and for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as a range technician and biological aide. His research on Coues white-tailed deer led to publication of a book, “Coues White-tailed Deer in Arizona.”
Dale Hall, of Albuquerque has worked for the Department of Game and Fish for 22 years, the past 11 as coordinator of the Habitat Stamp Program and a $1 million annual budget for enhancing wildlife habitat on federal lands. He also has been coordinator of the Landowner-Sportsman Program, guide-outfitter registrar, Northwest Area fisheries manager and assistant Hunter Education coordinator. He previously worked as a wildlife manager for private ranches in Texas and Colorado, and as a big-game damage aide for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Colorado State University and a master’s of agriculture degree in wildlife sciences from Texas A&M University.
Tim Frybarger, of Los Alamos, recently retired after 23 years with the Department of Game and Fish, including the past three as assistant chief of the Wildlife Management Division. He also worked as district wildlife supervisor in northwestern New Mexico, landowner-sportsman coordinator, guide-outfitter investigator, and district wildlife officer in Quemado. He holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife science from New Mexico State University and is a member of the New Mexico Conservation Officers Association and the Wildlife Society.
Floyd Acord, of Oklahoma City, was the only out-of-state applicant for the position. He currently is a security guard. He previously worked as chief of police in Cedar Lake, Okla., and as an oil field worker. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in education from southwestern Oklahoma State University.