Senior conservation officer Jeff Day, based in Elmore County, is the Safari Club International Conservation Officer of the Year.
Day received the one-of-a-kind award earlier this month at the Safari Club's convention in Reno, an event attended by about 2,000. He was nominated for the award by the Deputy Chief, Division of Enforcement, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Day started his career with Idaho Fish and Game in 1988. He was nominated by his peers as class president at the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Academy. In 11 years as a conservation officer, he has one of the department's highest volumes of public contact, license checks, and violation detections with no substantiated public complaints.
The nomination for the Safari Club award noted that Day works many hours outside his normal working hours, works closely with Owyhee County and Elmore County deputies and has good working relationships with area landowners. He has been called out four times in recent years to assist the local sheriff on jail escapes, recently capturing one escapee 15 minutes after the escape. Day received a commendation in 1990 for his part in saving the lives of two injured elk hunters in remote central Idaho mountains.
In addition to his role as a conservation officer, Day has served as commission chairman and commissioner in the Idaho Conservation Officers Association. He was appointed by the Elmore County Commission to oversee the county's waterways budget, maintenance of docks and the activities of one marine deputy in a county with many reservoirs, the Snake River, and a large number of water recreation users. He recently initiated a process to bring together the Forest Service, Fish and Game, Parks and Recreation, and Elmore County to build a new campground, boat ramp, and docks at Little Camas Reservoir.
Day is in his fourth consecutive year as chairman of the Mountain Home chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, is a committee member of the local Pheasants Forever Chapter and is a Ducks Unlimited member. Last year, he participated in a radio fundraiser for the Wishing Star Foundation, a group that grants the wishes of seriously ill children.
Day also works on many projects with Fish and Game reservists including the annual free fishing day, teaches Hunter Education classes and is a frequent speaker at gatherings of many organizations. He also writes articles for the local newspaper to inform the public about fish and wildlife.
Throughout his career, Day has worked with biologists and groups including the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep on numerous wildlife projects. He collected samples for disease research on bighorn sheep, the sightability study for sheep in Owyhee County and was a "mugger" jumping from helicopters to capture bighorns for transplant.
Day is a physical fitness instructor for Fish and Game and maintains a high fitness rating. He was named Southwest Region Conservation Officer of the year in 1995.
He and his wife, Jackie, have two young children.