Thermopolis Game Warden Spencer Carstens receives international recognition


2/21/2023 8:45:52 PM

Cheyenne - Thermopolis Game Warden Spencer Carstens has been selected by the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA) as a recipient of the 2022 Torch Award. 

The Torch Award is presented to newly appointed wildlife officers who have demonstrated exceptional ability and initiative in the performance of their duties. Each year NAWEOA selects an officer from seven regions across North America to receive the award. Carstens was selected from Region 4, which includes Wyoming an 11 other western states. 

David Ellsworth, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Laramie Region Warden Coordinator, nominated Carstens. Ellsworth supervised Carstens, who was serving as the Cheyenne warden at the time of nomination. 

“Carstens is most deserving of this recognition and exemplifies all that we hope to see in the next generation of wildlife law enforcement professionals,” Ellsworth said. “He is a team player and has quickly made a favorable impression among his peers by having a knack for placing himself in position to observe wildlife violations, and his willingness to dig into more complex cases.”

In Wyoming game wardens wear many hats. In addition to learning wildlife law enforcement, they learn to become expert wildlife managers, respond to human-wildlife interactions and develop statesman-like public-relation skills. 

“Spencer has excelled with these challenges: collecting wildlife data from a helicopter and fixed winged aircraft, surveying sage grouse, immobilizing wildlife in conflict situations and working with private landowners to mitigate damage caused by wildlife,” Ellsworth said. “He clearly demonstrates dedication, determination and hard work, which encompasses the criteria for the Torch Award.”

Carstens began his career as a game warden in South Dakota. In 2020 he moved to Wyoming where he served as a game warden in Cheyenne. In June 2022 Carstens transferred to Thermopolis where he now serves. 
“Being a Wyoming game warden is the job of my dreams and I'm honored to be recognized for protecting a resource that I’m passionate about,” Carstens said. 

(Breanna Ball, Public Information Officer - (

- WGFD -

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