GRAY — Game Warden Josh Smith of Division A in Gray, a game warden of nearly 20 years, was honored by his peers on April 26 when he was selected as the Maine Game Warden of the Year.

The awards ceremony gives special recognition to game wardens for exceptional performance during 2023.

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso, the featured speaker for the annual awards ceremony, discussed the accomplishments of the Warden Service and the department from the past year, as well as the warden service response and actions during the Lewiston shooting.

“In the Conservation world, we often talk about Conservation heroes,” Camuso said. “People who inspire others, who push the boundaries, take risks, and move the field in a positive direction. You are those heroes.”

Smith of Division A in Gray, a game warden for nearly 20 years, was honored as the Maine Game Warden of the year for his many accomplishments.

Smith was recognized for his work on challenging cases that included missing persons, prohibited persons possessing firearms, illegal fish stocking, illegal possession of exotic species, commercial bait dealers, and fatal crashes.


He was praised especially for two of his investigations, one where 15 deer were killed illegally, and another for his work to bring closure to a family of someone missing for over 10 months.

Along with his accomplishments as a law enforcement officer, Smith was lauded for his work and place in the community, where has worked hard to develop a rapport with landowners, outdoorsmen, and other agencies.

He also was praised for the ways he has found to give back to the community, including donating flies that he meticulously tied for raffles and benefits, helping with veterans’ hunts, or bringing neighbors kids out on turkey hunts.

In addition to Smith’s own investigations, it was noted he makes himself available to help area wardens working illegal activity, investigating incidents, reviewing search warrants, or covering calls to allow other wardens to continue their work.

Smith was also praised for his work on the night of Oct. 25 for his part in assisting officers investigating the Lewiston shooting. While not actively on call, Smith was one of the first officers to arrive at the second shooting scene. He went into the scene, and started helping any way he could, including transporting a critically injured person to the hospital in his truck after he learned there were no more ambulances available.

Among the others honored were Game Warden Sergeant Josh Beal of the Downeast region of the state as supervisor of the year, and longtime retired chief pilot Roger Wolverton as Legendary Game Warden of the Year.

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