Peterson looks to find both science and interactions as Conservation Officer

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Posted: Friday, April 12, 2019 10:21 am

Having grown up in Sioux City, IA, Sully County Conservation Officer Dylan Peterson says that summers spent at his grandparents’ home along the Bad River taught him appreciation for a rural setting and the outdoors.

"I learned to love the outdoors," said Peterson about the eight or nine summers he spent visiting his grandparents. "I grew up hunting and fishing – the whole nine yards.

Love of the outdoors inspired him to pursue degrees in Wildlife Fisheries and in Natural Resources Law Enforcement. "The game wardens were the people I grew up admiring," said Peterson. "They’d check ya, and they had the badge on, of course. It’s what a kid looks up to, and what I always thought was a dream job."

In pursuit of his dream job, Peterson has served three internships. "I was a fisheries intern in Pierre," said Peterson explaining that he worked on Lakes Sharpe and Oahe checking and surveying anglers. In Watertown, Peterson interned in a wildlife damage position, and last summer, he did his Conservation Officer field training in Rapid City and Salem, "learning all the tricks of the trade."

During his studies at South Dakota State University, Peterson says that he enjoyed science classes like mammalogy and ichthyology and getting background on why animals do what they do. "I like science, and I like people," said Peterson. "If you see me, definitely stop to say ‘Hi.’" Peterson says that he plans to hold a community cook out when the weather improves.

Having grown up and done internships in more populous places like Sioux City, Rapid City, and Watertown, Peterson says that serving as a Conservation Officer in Sully County appeals to him because "there is more wildlife and less people."

He’s looking forward to "getting out and meeting people, landowners and members of the public. Checking guys is going to be awesome. I like to hear their stories, how their hunt went. Socializing is a lot of it."

Peterson will be returning to his internship stomping grounds and open water fishing for his first season as Conservation Officer. "My first couple of weeks I’ll spend driving around, learning the area."

"There are a lot of preserves here to check out, and I’ll definitely go check out the river."

After his graduation from SDSU last May, Peterson went for Law Enforcement Training and followed that with his field training. He completed the hiring process begun last spring when he presented a paper to his Board of Evaluators regarding "landowners, issues they face, and how I would prevent and resolve issues." Working on the paper helped Peterson step out of his comfort zone, and "go out and meet people, mayors, sheriffs, landowners. It makes you get comfortable getting out and meeting people, which is a big part of the job."

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