WINSLOW — Game Warden Joe McBrine of the Machias district was honored as the Maine Game Warden of the Year at the annual Maine Warden Service Awards Ceremony at the Winslow VFW June 15. McBrine patrols the Downeast region and is stationed in Division C in Bangor.
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso was the featured speaker at the awards ceremony, which was held in person for the first time since 2019. The awards ceremony gives special recognition to game wardens for exceptional performance during 2021. It also recognizes the Game Warden Supervisor of the Year, the Legendary Game Warden of the Year and highlights individuals and groups who assisted the Maine Warden Service.
“It is an honor to recognize the outstanding work of those protecting Maine’s natural resources, and protecting those that enjoy them,” Camuso said. “The outstanding work of the men and women in the Maine Warden Service is well known not only in Maine, but beyond our borders as well.”
The Game Warden of the Year Award is presented to any member of Warden Service “who, consistently in the past has conducted themselves in such a manner as to display an exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement, management, community and public relations and all aspects of a game warden’s duties and during the past year has performed in a manner that reflects continued performance in this manner.”
McBrine has served as a Maine game warden for 27 years. He was assigned his first district in western Maine, where he spent a short period of time before transferring to Downeast Maine, where he has remained. Warden McBrine spent the majority of his career in the Lubec patrol and has recently transferred to the Machias patrol, where he has spent the last five years.
During the 2021 fall hunting season, McBrine was the top performer statewide when it came to apprehensions during the months of September, October and November. He had a total of 52 cases during these months and several high-profile convictions, including cases on exceeding the bag limit on deer, false registration of deer and night hunting.
McBrine was also recognized for his work as a warden training officer. He also was involved in establishing a DNA program at University of Maine in Machias. McBrine served as the liaison for the Warden Service and worked closely with Dr. Gerry Zeger in laying the blueprint for what was needed to establish a DNA program to assist in providing DNA evidence in wildlife crimes.
Over the last few years, McBrine has been influential in establishing a conservation law enforcement degree program at the University of Maine at Machias. He is the conservation law expert called upon by faculty at UMM and also taught the search and rescue class for the conservation law program on his own time.