Master Officer Steve Bullins with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been named by the North Carolina chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation as the state’s 2012 Wildlife Officer of the Year.

This award honors top wildlife officers for their dedication to conserving wildlife and upholding the law. All wildlife officers who were chosen for their state were recognized in February during the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 36th annual National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn. Bullins received his award on March 2 at the North Carolina chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation meeting during the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh.

“Steve Bullins embodies what a wildlife officer should be,” said Col. Dale Caveny, chief of the Wildlife Commission’s Law Enforcement Division. “Steve is not only an exemplary officer; he is an active member of his community. Our division’s core values — professional, fair, integrity, dedicated and trustworthy — apply to Steve in all aspects of his life.”

In presenting the award, the Federation recognized Bullins for being instrumental in catching poachers in Surry County; beneficial in providing public-relations assistance in the community by establishing good rapport with sportsmen and general public; and, influential in working positively with youth, 4-H and church groups, always promoting hunting safety and conservation.

“Master Officer Bullins also has a great reputation for working with other law enforcement agencies, among whom he is known as a consummate professional they can work with and rely upon,” Caveny said. “He is a great representative of our agency and division, and deserving of this recognition.”

The North Carolina chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has been a valued partner to the Commission in the reintroduction of the wild turkey in North Carolina. Before the 1970s, wild turkeys were scarce in North Carolina, with only about 2,000 birds. Today, there are more than 150,000 birds from the mountains to the coast, and wild turkeys are one of the most popular game animals. The partnership with the Wildlife Commission has benefitted wild turkeys and hundreds of other species, including quail, deer, grouse, pheasant and songbirds.

There are more than 200 sworn, full-time wildlife officers across the state with arrest authority for any criminal offense committed in their presence, including state and federal violations. They enforce hunting, trapping and inland fishing regulations and boating laws to protect the resources of the state and the safety of its citizens. The public can assist them by reporting wildlife violations to 1-800-662-7137.

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