After one month on the job, Kaitlin Kernosky is settling into her new role as the area’s newest conservation warden.
Kernosky, originally from central Wisconsin, is taking over the position recently held by Bryan Lockman and is responsible for the townships of Little Wolf, Lebanon and Mukwa in eastern Waupaca County and the townships of Deer Creek, Maple Creek and Hortonia in western Outagamie County.
A graduate of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, Kernosky has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and about three years of experience as a warden.
“Prior to coming to this area, I worked as a part-time warden in the Water Guard Program,” she said. “I worked mainly with aquatic invasive species in the Wisconsin Rapids area. I also did an internship with a warden and it really solidified my desire to become a full-time warden. I have a passion for being outdoors and protecting natural resources.”
While serving as a warden in the Milwaukee area, Kernosky helped catch a citizen who had trapped a deer and put an orange T-shirt on the animal before releasing it back into the wild.
“That was very odd,” she said. “I caught the person and they did receive a fine.”
Despite the odd, frustrating and disappointing issues many wardens must deal with, Kernosky said she enjoys the variety her job provides.
“The work changes from day to day,” she said. “I get to meet lots of people, especially other professionals within the DNR. I’ve worked with people from the water, air, fish and game divisions. We’re all working for one common goal. It’s also fun to meet members of the public. I really enjoy being involved and meeting new people.”
Kernosky has a large area to cover and said area rivers will be a main focus.
“I’m just going to try to break the area down into smaller pieces and do what I can,” she said. “Obviously, there is lots of river to cover. I’ll respond to complaints when they come in, but it can be tough to keep up during the many busy seasons. There are lots of hunters and fishermen in this area.”
The hardest part is trying to be everywhere at all times, according to Kernosky.
“It’s tough because I know there’s so much to do, but there’s just not enough time to do it,” she said. “I could work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and still not cover the whole area. I can’t be everywhere at once, but I wish I could be.”
While Kernosky’s main goal is to protect natural resources, she also wants to be accessible to the public.
“I’m here to answer questions and help the community however I can,” she said. “I’m available to help with any natural resources issues that may come up.”
In her spare time, Kernosky enjoys hunting deer, turkey and waterfowl. She is also a big musky fisherman and enjoys a good game of hockey.
“What I’ve seen since coming to this area is a phenomenal walleye fishery and some great sturgeon habitat,” she said. “Lots of people come here to fish or watch the sturgeon. The white bass fishery is pretty good, too.
“The Wolf River is the bread and butter of this area,” she added. “There are so many opportunities for waterfowl hunting in fall, as well as deer and turkey hunting. There is a lot of state-owned land in the area, which is open for trapping and hunting. The citizens of this area are fortunate to have such plentiful game.”
Kernosky said outdoorsmen can call the DNR hotline – 800-TIP-WDNR – to report a violation. That hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Kernosky can be reached at email@example.com or 920-505-0162.