A farm boy whose construction-foreman dad taught him the value of honest, hard work and who learned the skill of talking with just about anybody from his mom, is the new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recreation warden for several northern counties.

Justin Bender says the conservation warden career has been his goal since seventh grade — and he has witnesses, as any good investigator would.

“If you ask either of my parents, they will tell you that I never gave up on my dream to be a conservation warden in Wisconsin,” Bender said, also an enthusiastic silent sports athlete. “Not only am I proud and excited to have this opportunity, but we are a direct extension of our parents. So, it is refreshing knowing this also makes them proud.”

A UW-Stevens Point graduate with a bachelor’s degree in general resources management and a minor in environmental law enforcement, Bender went to work for the Wisconsin State Patrol where he excelled as an accredited crash/crime scene reconstruction specialist.

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities and experiences to become an expert in the field of crash/crime reconstruction while working on the Wisconsin State Patrol’s Technical Reconstruction Unit,” he said.

In addition to the passion for the outdoors instilled in him by his father, it was the State Patrol work that fine-tuned his experience and steered him toward the recreation warden position.

Last May, the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement established a team of 10 recreation wardens. The primary role of these wardens is training, law enforcement, safety education and investigations related to recreational vehicles and hunting incidents.

Bender’s service area covers Vilas, Oneida, Lincoln, Langlade, Forest and Florence counties. 

To contact Bender, email  JustinD.Bender@wiscon­sin.gov. He also encourages anyone who has information concerning a possible violation to contact the DNR Violation Hotline at 1-(800) TIP-WDNR (847-9367). The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained staff relay information to conservation wardens.