Dick Bodenhorn

Dick Bodenhorn with his book, “Investigations and Divine Interventions.”

Dick Bodenhorn served as our area’s game warden for decades, as he has seen it all when it comes to the outdoors of Elk County. He shared all of his career experiences in a new book titled “Investigations and Divine Interventions.” 

Bodenhorn talked about what to expect in the book and gave a snapshot into his career. 

“I started in 1976 in what they called a ‘Game Protector’ in Jefferson County, and that interest increased which led me to take the deputy test in the spring of ‘77. I eventually became and worked as a deputy in Northern Jefferson County until 1985. I was accepted into Game Commission's training school in Brockway, and ultimately upon graduation I was sent here to Elk County and have been here ever since.” 

Bodenhorn added his title changed from “District Game Protector” to “Wildlife Conservation Officer” and retired in 2012 after “an interesting and fulfilling career.” 

Bodenhorn expressed that this occupation was an excellent match for him. 

“It was a perfect career for me as far as I’m concerned. I just had some of the most interesting and bizzare investigations that you could ever encounter. When you read through the book and some of the chapters, it’s pretty obvious to me that there was someone with a lot more authority than a game board that had a hand in bringing some of these violators to justice.”

He went on to express that he always gravitated towards the outdoors all of his life. 

“I’ve always been a very outdoor oriented person, even in my very young years. I was a country boy and grew up with it. At first, I wasn’t into reading much, but I eventually fell in love with it. I was reading anything I could get my hands on, specifically outdoor oriented things such as the life of game wardens, forest rangers, outdoor guides, and more. I knew early on I wanted to have an outdoor career, and I soon realized that my heart was of a game warden, and that is what I pursued.” 

Bodenhorn couldn’t pinpoint exactly one fond memory he has as a game warden, but he had many experiences with different animals and investigations that he won’t forget. 

“Every day was different. If I had to start a career over again, I would in  an instant do it all over.  I just had so many different experiences working with eagles, bears, elk, fisher, otter. These are animals most people don’t even get to touch. I had the opportunity to handle them and do research as well. As for law enforcement investigations, I sure did enjoy them. The part I enjoyed the most was trying to figure it all out and seeing how all of the puzzle pieces fit together. It was challenging but yet rewarding.” 

Bodenhorn prided himself on protecting the land here and bringing people who violated game laws to justice. 

“Protecting the resource was always important to me. A lot of people think that game law violations are a victimless crime, and I never saw it that way. When someone goes out and kills something illegally, they’re stealing from every honest citizen, and they should be seen in the same light as a person that commits any other crime.”

Bodenhorn’s book details some of the cases he has handled throughout his career. 

“I hope people enjoy the book. I made fictitious names for everyone except the officers. Local people will figure out who some of them are simply because of remembering the cases when they were active. Nothing is meant to be derogatory towards any particular individuals, but I think the public has a right to know the other side of the story of what they heard through the rumor mill. I tried to keep everything as accurate as I could.” 

Bodenhorn’s career was filled with exciting adventures that are worth reading about, especially for people who enjoy the outdoors in our area. 

He shared that there will be a second book of his coming in the spring of this year. If you are interested in picking up a copy, you can get the book from Bodenhorn himself, or at the Ridgway Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center and Cliffe’s. 


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