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Riley Receives Wildlife Officer of the Year Award

EDGEFIELD, S.C.—The National Wild Turkey Federation presented Tanner Riley of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources with the Wildlife Officer of the Year Award for his outstanding work with the SCDNR. 

“I am very honored and thankful to receive this incredible award from the National Wild Turkey Federation,” Riley said. “I am blessed to be able to wake up every morning and go do a job that I love. I have always had a passion for the outdoors and have grown up hunting and fishing in South Carolina. I have had an incredible role model in my father, who is a captain with our department and has been a game warden for over 26 years. He taught me at an early age what it means to be a conservationist and how to appreciate the game that we hunt. I have grown up seeing the joy this career has brought my dad and knew that I wanted to be a South Carolina game warden.”

Riley received the Wildlife Officer of the Year Award at the 45th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show held virtually in 2021. 

The Wildlife Officer of the Year Award is given to individuals that have excelled and demonstrated exceptional performance in the following areas: teamwork and innovation, excellence and innovation, attitude and leadership and achievements and accomplishments.

Riley has been with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources since 2017 and currently serves as the vice president of the South Carolina Wildlife Enforcement Officers’ Association. 

Riley has a passion for working with youth and getting members of the community involved in the outdoors. Riley recorded 26 public presentations in 2020 for a variety of initiatives geared toward engaging the community, including Take One Make One hunts, Outdoor Dream hunts and Shop with a Cop during Christmas. 

In addition to engaging the local community, Riley distinguished himself as a wildlife officer, logging 448 hours of night patrol including involvement in 245 individual cases, many of which had to do with individuals egregiously abusing wildlife laws. 

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources awarded Riley its Officer of the Year Award in 2020.

“I am lucky to have such an incredible wife who has supported me as I started this career and is always understanding when I’m out late or gone early working on cases,” Riley said. As a game warden, we are often called on to help other law enforcement agencies with search and rescue operations, natural disaster assistance and to help with big events across the state.”

“Wildlife officers are devout stewards of our natural resources,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “Tanner enforces the laws that are vital to the protection of wildlife and its habitat, and exceeds the call of duty by working to introduce people of all walks of life to the outdoors.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit

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Source: Huntinglife