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WGFD, WLSB awards presented

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

This year’s AccessYes and Law Enforcement Recognition honorees were announced at the annual awards luncheon, held during the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Winter Roundup Convention and Trade Show in Casper on Dec. 6.

Each year, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) recognizes landowners who are enrolled in the department’s AccessYes Program, contributing significantly to the hunting and fishing tradition of the Cowboy State.

Additionally, WSGA and the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) partnered to recognize state law enforcement officers who have provided outstanding services to their local communities and livestock producers during the event. 

AccessYes awards

The AccessYes Program is comprised of hunter management areas (HMAs), walk-in hunting areas (WIHAs), walk-in fishing areas (WIFAs) and the Hunter/Landowner Assistance Program, and this year four families from each corner of Wyoming were honored.

WGFD Southeast Wyoming Access Coordinator Kelly Todd began the ceremony by thanking everyone involved in the program for caring for the great state of Wyoming and introduced the Southwest AccessYes Award recipients, the Hanks family.

The Hanks family reside in Uinta County and provide WIHAs for antelope, elk and deer, while enhancing the public land around them for hunting.

Clyde Hanks, who has since passed, wanted to enhance the land and provide hunting opportunities to others.

Today, his family continues to fulfill his wishes by providing generosity and great stewardship to Wyoming.

The Northwest AccessYes Award recipient is Dennis Horton of Horton Farm. Horton moved to Fremont County in 1979 and was honored for keeping hunting heritage alive and valuing conservation.

The Horton Farm provides great habitat for many animals and walk-in opportunities for hunters to harvest deer in an area where many cannot access. 

Receiving the AccessYes Award for the northeast area was the Shane family of Niobrara County.

For over 70 years, Jimmy and Carmen Shane have been farming and ranching on the Eastern Plains of Wyoming and integrated a rotational grazing system which has become very valuable during years of drought.

The Shane Ranch provides great hunting opportunities for antelope in the area, and the family has encouraged other local ranches to join the AccessYes Program and increase hunting access.

The AccessYes Award recipient from the southeast corner of the state was Harris Ranch, who was unable to attend.

Law enforcement honorees

Additionally, two law enforcement agents were recognized by WLSB for their exceptional work in the industry during the awards luncheon.

WLSB Director Steve True stressed the importance of having memorandum of understandings between the livestock board and sheriffʼs offices in seven Wyoming counties who are dedicated to assisting producers. True said it is important to note WLSB works closely with all counties, and their coordination is invaluable.

“Livestock law enforcement officers partner with other departments on cases and can work across county lines as they collaborate with other state investigators,” True said.

The first honoree, Crook County Under Sheriff Alex Jessen, was nominated by WLSB Senior Investigator Chris Strang and selected for his efforts to protect producers and work with his local community. 

“Jessen is being honored for his investigation skills, ability to interact with individuals compassionately and uphold the mission and values of the Crook County Sheriff’s Office,” True stated. “He has made considerable contributions to Crook County’s goal of protecting the Wyoming livestock industry and has collaborated with Strang on multiple investigations ranging from neighbor disputes to missing livestock.” 

WLSB Investigator Joel Senior nominated the second honoree, Laramie County Deputy Sheriff Andrew (Drew) Harrison.

“Harrison has been engaged with the sheriff’s office from the beginning, and he requested further livestock law and investigation training,” True said. “Harrison has demonstrated dedication not only to the state of Wyoming but his country as he served a year deployment, but was willing to jump right back in on his return.”

True continued, “He takes the initiative to gain valuable knowledge, he upholds the WLSB mission and he is a valuable asset to the board.”

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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