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Conservation Officer of the Year award presented at today’s Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing

Cpl. Mike Hearn, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer from Kalkaska County, was recognized as the 2021 Shikar Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year at today’s Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting at the Lansing Community College West Campus in Lansing.

The award is the highest state honor for conservation officers, awarded annually.

“As a true fish and game warden, it’s my privilege to celebrate Cpl. Hearn as the 2021 Conservation Officer of the Year,” said Chief Dave Shaw, DNR Law Enforcement Division.  “Hearn has a consistent, impressive case record in all natural resource topics, including recreational safety, community relationships and general criminal activity. His positive, organized, teamwork philosophy makes him a valuable asset to the DNR Law Enforcement family. We look forward to the many more career accomplishments he surely has ahead of him.”

A 2004 graduate of the DNR’s Conservation Officer Recruit School No. 3, Hearn patrolled Oscoda County for four years before transferring to Kalkaska County, where he patrolled for 13 years. Hearn gained valuable experience, serving as the only conservation officer for the two counties for several years. His ability to create excellent relationships with constituent groups, the court, landowners and local law enforcement agencies made him an essential community asset.

Early in his career, Hearn was successful in investigating a case where two hounds were killed during the 2008 Youth Hunt, which resulted in $20,000 restitution to the owner of the dogs.

During 2020, Hearn received a hunter harassment complaint and was able to connect the patterns to an individual he encountered in 2013 for illegal hunting. The 2013 case resulted in revocation of the suspect’s hunting license and more than $16,000 restitution to the state. For the recent case, Hearn collected evidence at four remote hunting locations that belonged to the same person. Based on the amount of evidence collected, Hearn obtained an 11-count warrant for the individual’s arrest.

In 2018, Hearn safely located two teens and took into custody their armed kidnapper, when the juveniles were reported missing after not returning home from school.

In 2021, Hearn was promoted to his current position as a corporal with the DNR Law Enforcement Division’s Recreational Safety, Education and Enforcement section. His strong resume of recreational education and enforcement initiatives as a field officer made him a qualified candidate to oversee the DNR’s snowmobile and off-road vehicle programs.

Hearn was the 2016 Michigan Boating Officer of the Year. In northern Michigan, he led marine patrol efforts at popular boating festivals, such as Bud Bash and Torchfest. He continued to advance his patrols by attending a national Boating Under the Influence enforcement training and an Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection training for Operating Under the Influence.

Hearn’s knowledge has been instrumental in training new officers, and for collaborating with other officers on speed radar programs to analyze snowmobile and ORV crash patterns to plan advanced patrols.

He resides in Kalkaska County with his wife and three children.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who protect natural resources, ensure recreational safety and protect residents by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Due to the nature of their job, these officers often work with federal, state and local law enforcement officers to ensure public safety. Learn more at

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, unless otherwise noted.

Award (left to right): Gunnar Klarr, Shikar Safari International Club, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers Cpl. Mike Hearn, Chief Dave Shaw, Capt. Jen Wolf, Lt. Tom Wanless.

Contact: Lt. Tom Wanless, 810-577-6887