SHAFTSBURY — Receiving the Vermont Game Warden of the Year Award has always been a career goal for Sgt. Travis Buttle. This year, he reached his goal.
The Shaftsbury local was nominated by his peers and received the award in recognition of his excellent service.
“To be selected by my coworkers really makes it an honorable thing because they see the hard work that you put in,” said Buttle.
His colleagues and supervisors like Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter had only good things to say about Buttle.
“Sergeant Buttle was chosen for his integrity, professionalism, and high motivation in all of his work duties, and because he has earned respect from other wardens and the public,” said Porter.
Buttle admits that after 24 years as a game warden in the Bennington District, he thought he wouldn’t get the award, making his win this year even more special.
As a game warden, he has seen quite a lot covering Shaftsbury, Glastenbury, Bennington, Woodford, Pownal and Stamford. Last summer, Buttle and his team were called in to take care of a gaggle of hooded mergansers that were loitering at the post office. The team collected the birds with the help of a good Samaritan and brought them to a rehabilitation center where they were taken care of.
Buttle has also been tasked with difficult situations, such as saving alligators from the illegal exotic species trade in Vermont.
“You’re removing them from a place they don’t belong and potentially dangerous situations. The resources are getting abused and a lot of time without consequence. That’s what gives us energy towards doing the job,” said Buttle.
Buttle loves his job because of the variety of work it allows and the opportunity it gives him to be a protector of Vermont’s natural resources.
“We help speak up for the population that doesn’t have a voice, the animals…the wildlife, the flora and fauna,” said Buttle.
From the age of 15, Buttle knew he wanted to be a game warden. The spark of interest was lit one day when he and his father were hunting for elk in Colorado, where Buttle grew up, and a game warden came to check their hunting license.
As the game warden rode away on his horse, Buttle knew it was the job for him.