The consistency, diligence, and professionalism displayed by New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Corporal Curtis Coburn resulted in his being named the 2015 Shikar Safari Club Officer of the Year.
“I am grateful that I was nominated and selected,” Coburn said. “It is special. Nearly 12 years ago, as a new hire, I walked by the plaque in the Santa Fe office with my parents and I told them one day my name would be on it.”
Coburn, who was also named New Mexico Officer of the Year by the National Wild Turkey Federation, was involved in many facets of wildlife conservation and law enforcement throughout the year. Two projects in Lincoln County alone encompasses over 27,000 acres of public lands.
These projects currently involve: removing encroaching piñon-juniper and cat claw to reinvigorate herbaceous plants, grasses, and woody shrubs; increasing the nutrient value of plant species, and; creating more edge effect to benefit all wildlife species utilizing the area.
Coburn also led a habitat fence modification with local ranchers and land management agencies. The primary focus was to develop wildlife-friendly fences to allow wildlife, especially pronghorn, the ability to roam in an area historically inaccessible since the inception of sheep fencing in those areas.
Approximately 30 modifications have been made, spanning 27.5 miles, and pronghorn in the area are now seen in areas previously inaccessible.