The Saratoga Sun -

'Red shirt' of the year

Self-effacing game warden, Biff Burton, named WYOGA Agency Personnel of the Year

 

Joshua Wood

A fixture around Saratoga for 30 years, Biff Burton has been honored as the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association as 2018 Agency Personnel of the Year.

In small Wyoming towns, the local game warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is one of the more recognizable officials. The green truck and red shirt have become iconic. Biff Burton has worn the red shirt for 39 years, entering the WGFD as a seasonal employee in 1978 following his graduation from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor's degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management.

Burton worked in a number of places before accepting a position in Saratoga in 1989, where he has stayed for the last 30 years and raised his three children with the help of his wife, Lisa. Whether he's been seen at the grocery store, post office or gas station, Valley locals have known for years that Burton can be approached with any number of questions about wildlife, big game or hunting areas.

This year, Burton was awarded for his efforts and was named the 2018 Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association (WYOGA) Agency Personnel of the Year. Burton was nominated by Outfitter Jim Schell of Rough Country Guides and Outfitters out of Glenrock.

"I didn't ever see his letter of nomination, but apparently he thinks highly of me and thought I should be recognized. I don't feel like I did anything special to deserve it. I'm just doing my job," said Burton.

Those who have known Burton for any amount of time are aware of his humility. He is not one who is quick to heap praise upon himself, but rather give accolades to those he believes deserve it. The seasoned game warden was quick to point out the benefits that outfitters provide to wildlife management.

"Hunters know there are outfitters and many businesses know there are outfitters, but nobody knows what they do other than book hunters and take them hunting," Burton said.

While booking hunters and taking people hunting is a large part of what outfitters do, there is more to their involvement in their communities and wildlife management than that.

"They do so many neat things, that's why it's an honor to be recognized by them, because they perpetuate this professionalism. Not just the sport of hunting, but the professional side of hunting and they carry our message to the public. They go to places around the country and sell Wyoming. They sell Wyoming to people all over the world," said Burton. "They take people with terminal illnesses hunting and show them a good time. And you see that, at their banquet, they display all that. They put those happy faces out. They show kids in a hunt, killing their hunt, maybe their last, big game animal. Or their only animal."

As part of being named Agency Personnel of the Year, Burton and his wife attended the WYOGA Banquet on April 6 in Casper where he was presented the award in front of over 200 outfitters, hunters, guides, and past and present department heads.

 

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