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Sullivan County ECO named as top wildlife officer

ECO Ricky Wood (right) is honored with the Wildlife Officer of the Year award.
August 24, 2018 10:00 pm

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Ricky Wood was recently honored with the “Wildlife Officer of the Year” Award from Shikar Safari Club International.

Commissioner Seggos said, “Throughout his career, ECO Wood has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment that has justifiably earned him the respect of the public and his peers. I extend my congratulations to him on this well-deserved honor.”

The Shikar Safari Club award is among the most coveted by New York state ECOs. It is awarded to officers who particularly excel in fish and wildlife enforcement.

Recipients typically embody the traditional work of our first “Game Protectors,” as they were known back in the day. Formed in New York in 1880, Game Protectors almost exclusively focused on fish and game enforcement and are the forerunners of modern day Environmental Conservation Officers.

ECO Ricky Wood definitely fits the bill as a top-notch fish and wildlife crime fighter as he consistently demonstrated throughout his career successful focus on serious hunting and fishing enforcement arrests and investigations. I recall some quality arrests for deer jacking (shooting deer at night with a light) that fall right into that category, plus much more, in his extensive body of work in effective fish and wildlife enforcement.

The Shikar Safari International Club Award for Wildlife Officer of the Year was created to recognize such outstanding performance in the protection of our fish and game. Based on the inception in 1952 by an international group of hunters interested in exchanging ideas about the sport and to promote the ethical and conservation-minded hunting of big game animals primarily in Asia and Africa, in 1966, the Shikar Safari International Club formed the Shikar-Safari International Foundation to support wildlife conservation throughout the globe.

Each year, the club sponsors an award for the Wildlife Officer of the Year in all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, and the territories of both nations.

ECO Wood graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in 2002. He attended DEC’s 17th Basic School for Uniformed Officers at the DEC Training Academy and graduated in 2007. After graduation he was assigned to patrol Suffolk County in Long Island and has been stationed in Sullivan County, where he has been on patrol for the past 10 years. In 2013, ECO Wood was selected as a K-9 officer.

DEC aptly described ECO Wood as “…a self-motivated professional who fully embraces his role as an ECO. His work ethic and enthusiasm set an outstanding example for other officers to follow. He often volunteers to speak at hunter education classes to promote ethical and safe hunting practices. He is routinely requested by the community to attend and speak at large events, including outreach sessions to educate the public on conservation and hunting laws. ECO Ricky Wood represents the Division of Law Enforcement with courage, pride and professionalism.”

Officer Wood was dedicated to the safe pursuit of hunting prior to his days as an ECO when he served as a Sportsmen Education Instructor at the Wawarsing Sportsman Club in Ulster County.

ECO Wood enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors with his family. He also likes to spend time training with his partner K-9 Deming. ECO Wood resides in Hurleyville with his wife April and two children, Ashlin, 16 , and John, 10.

News and Notes

— The Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club is holding an “Open House” on Sept. 30. All ranges will be open free of charge except the trap range, which will only cost $4 per round. There is a 28-target bow, rifle and pistol range. Those who wish to shoot pistol must possess a valid NYS Pistol Permit. Club Grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event with breakfast and lunch available with a chicken barbeque at 4 p.m.

— The Columbia-Greene Sportsmen’s Association is holding its annual banquet on Sept. 15 at Kozel’s Restaurant in Ghent. Doors open at 5 p.m. Dinner tickets are available from any member or you can contact Michele at 518-758-6807.

— The Kalicoontie Rod & Gun Club is holding a firearms Hunter Safety Course at their club on Oct. 6. You must register for this class through DEC’s website ( and complete the homework prior to attending. Use this website to locate the many gun and bow classes being offered now so you can take advantage of the fast approaching 2018-19 hunting season.

— The Roe Jan Creek Boat Club presents its annual Beef Barbeque on Sept. 16. It’s an “all you can eat” affair. In addition to the beef barbeque, hot dogs and soda are included for the one price of $14 for adults and $7 for kids 12 and under. For tickets and more information call 518-828-7173 or leave a message on the club phone at 518-828-5954.

— The Catskill Mountain Fish & Game Club has trap shooting open to the public on Tuesdays starting at 6 p.m. at their club at 167 Hylan Road in Hunter. Cost is $10 per round of 25. For more information, call Bob Monteleone at 518-488-0240.

— Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

Happy hunting and fishing until next time.

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