A new conservation officer has joined Vanderhoof’s hunters and fishers, both two- and four-legged, in the bush this spring.
Graduated from the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy on Feb. 19, Ontario-born Bryan Kettles takes over the duties of Cameron Hill, who has retired after 21 years in the field.
Having last worked in Alberta for three seasons before becoming a conservation officer, Kettles is liking Vanderhoof so far, as he came from a small community of 500 in Ontario, he said.
An avid outdoors enthusiast, he enjoys running, hiking, rock climbing, hunting, and fishing in his spare time.
Kettles is currently focussing on integrating and learning about the community, with Hill easing the transition by life lessons and introductions to members of the community, he said.
“Having the community see a friendly face that they can approach as well…having the open door policy,” Kettles said. “If you notice things, it’s okay to call the officer.
“The officer is there on their side.”
Before finishing the second half of the four-month WCLEA training in northern Saskatchewan, Kettles conducted on-site learning in Vanderhoof last December.
“You want to make sure you’re educating yourself on the areas of your new district,” Kettles said, “If somebody gives you a call and they need you on this road, you don’t want to be confused as to where that is.
“You want to make sure that you’re geographically set with your surroundings.”
It’s the first year for the academy to conduct its courses — including firearms, defensive tactics, swift water rescue, emergency vehicle operation, 4×4, snowmobiling, interview and interrogation, chemical immobilization, conflict wildlife mitigation, and ice rescue — in Saskatchewan. In the past, training took place in Alberta or Victoria, British Columbia.