Wildlife Protector

04 Nov 2019

Game Warden Career a Natural Fit for Lash

Summer 2019

Written By: Christopher Bancroft | Images: Madison Webb and Courtesy Mark Gocke

Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash spends his time responding to all sorts of different calls. One frigid winter morning, he freed a fawn deer trapped in a white picket fence, bringing the deer inside to help it warm up and recover. Other days, he’s enforcing the law. All that he does is to protect wildlife, and his adoration for these animals is only surpassed by his affection for his wife, Layne, 1-year-old daughter, Landrey, and 3-year-old son, Mac.

Lash was born in Thermopolis, Wyoming, or “the sportsman’s paradise” as he proudly refers to home. It was here in the Bighorn Basin that he developed a love of Wyoming wildlife. From a young age, he hunted and fished for every legal species he could until it was time to attend the University of Wyoming, where he earned his degree in wildlife biology and fisheries.

After graduation, Lash took various Wyoming Department of Game and Fish jobs across the state, working in Jackson, Cody, Green River, and Cheyenne, until he was promoted to game warden in Kaycee. He learned the ropes of his new job in the antelope-packed prairies of the state. Then, in 2013, a game warden position opened up in Jackson, and he jumped at the opportunity, embracing the idea of moving to the mountains. The new
job meant he was one of two wardens responsible for covering all of Teton County and portions of three surrounding counties.

Lash’s office desk may as well be outside. He says he spends 99 percent of his time engaged with the landscape and the people who use it. A typical work day for him could include hiking a trail to check fishing licenses, patrolling remote areas on horseback, riding a snowmobile into
the mountains to address wildlife disturbances, or flying in a helicopter to conduct wildlife research.

His profession can be challenging at times, and it’s certainly not a 9-5
job. “When a moose is struck at three in the morning, I am the first one called to respond,” Lash says.

As one of Jackson’s game wardens, Lash finds little downtime in his work schedule. Each season invites outdoor enthusiasts to engage with the landscape and wildlife. With 2,400 square miles in his jurisdiction, Lash relies on the public for assistance.

“For such a large area with so much wildlife, we heavily rely on the public for enforcement help and an extra set of eyes,” he says. Lash spends time fostering strong relationships with the community. He aspires to be, above all else, accessible to the public and hopes people feel comfortable calling on him for assistance. According to Lash, local citizens make his job easier. “The public is so passionate and caring about wildlife,” he says.

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