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Honoring a Conservation Stalwart

The National Wild Turkey Federation celebrates the life and accomplishments of conservation stalwart Joel Glover (May 9, 1962 - April 6, 2024), who served the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as a wildlife biologist and conservation enforcement officer for the past 37 years, as well as an NWTF Technical Committee representative. Glover was able to harvest one last turkey this spring before his passing.

April 18, 20243 min read
Photo courtesy of Steve Barnett.
Photo courtesy of Steve Barnett.

“We are deeply saddened by Joel’s passing,” said Mark Hatfield, NWTF national director of science and planning. “Joel radiated a love for the wild turkey and conservation throughout his service to Alabama’s natural resources, the NWTF’s Technical Committee and the numerous other positions he served. We are praying for solace for his friends and family during this difficult time.”

The NWTF Technical Committee is comprised of wild turkey biologists from nearly every state natural resource agency who act as liaisons between the NWTF and state natural resources agencies. The Technical Committee continues to be the leading force in bolstering turkey populations, creating hunting opportunities and addressing wild turkey management challenges throughout the U.S., and it is thanks to the dedication and passion of people like Glover that make the committee so successful.

Glover served the NWTF’s Technical Committee during the mid-2010s alongside Steve Barnett, who currently serves in a retired, part-time position as an ADCNR wildlife biologist.

“Joel was very innovative pertaining to new ideas that promoted wild turkey conservation,” Barnett said. “With his encouragement, we launched the Alabama Wild Turkey Hunter Survey in 2014. It is an annual report that highlights gobbling activity, wild turkey observations and harvest data, to name a few.”

But before his role on the NWTF Technical Committee, Glover had an establish history working as both a wildlife biologist and conservation law enforcement officer for the ADCNR.

“Being hired by the ADCNR as an area wildlife biologist in the 1980s and 1990s meant having a dual role as a wildlife biologist and conservation officer,” Barnett noted.

Glover was both a highly knowledgeable wildlife biologist and excelled above and beyond in his enforcement abilities. Enforcing the laws that sustain Alabama’s natural resources was immensely important to him.

In addition, Glover served on the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Directors Wild Turkey Working Group, where he would help provide a state wild turkey status report.

When Glover retired from his full-time position as a technical assistance wildlife biologist from ACDNR, he returned back to the state agency to serve the citizens of Alabama in a retired, part-time role in the Special Task Force. Glover also served as the secretary for the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.

Photo courtesy of Steve Barnett.
Photo courtesy of Steve Barnett.

In 2011, Glover was awarded as ADCNR Wildlife Biologist of the Year, and in 2019, he was awarded the prestigious Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award as Conservation Enforcement Officer of the Year.

He was a prolific writer and penned many wildlife articles for numerous publications.

“His writing skills were surpassed only by his story telling,” Barnett said. “No one could present a power point in the manner that always provided humor. When Joel retired, he began writing several books, the first one entitled ‘Parables From Poachers.’ In it, he recounts encounters as an enforcement officer and weaves a Christian message.”

Glover also regularly contributed articles to Outdoor Alabama, Alabama Treasured Forests, Alabama Wildlife, Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer Association and the Coosa County Sheriff's Journal. He has spoken at hundreds of public events and served as a guest lecturer at Mississippi State University for many years.

The magic of the wild turkey often followed Glover. In November, he sent a question for NWTF Turkey Call magazine’s Dr. Tom to answer (published in the May/June issue):

“This past season, I witnessed something that I had never seen in 35 plus years of turkey hunting. I had four gobblers out in front of me in a hayfield at about 80 to 100 yards. They were gobbling as I called occasionally and were all in a strut. As I watched, one of the birds in full strut sat down in the field in full strut. He just sat there looking around. He eventually stood up and strutted around and then sat back down. He did that four times. I had never seen one do it before. I've talked with all of the veteran turkey hunters around here and none have seen anything like it. Any thoughts?

“Unfortunately, I have melanoma cancer with a short time left. I'm thankful for the many turkey hunting memories I carry with me. Thank you for what you do for the wild turkey.”

Before his passing, Glover had one more faithful encounter with the wild turkey.

“He shared with me of his prayer to be able to spend one more spring in the turkey woods,” Barnett said. “I’m sure many of us were praying the same prayer. I recently found out that he not only got to hunt but harvested a fine gobbler on March 28. March 28 was my birthday. My best birthday gift was one I didn’t [physically] receive.”

The Alabama NWTF State Chapter is making a donation to the NWTF’s mission delivery in memory of Glover.

"As a member of the Alabama State Board for more than 10 years and now acting president, I had the privilege of working alongside Joel during his time serving on our NWTF Technical Committee,” said Scott Brandon, Alabama NWTF State Chapter president. “Joel had a passion for conservation and habitat enhancement for the wild turkey. Joel always took his role very serious and strived for excellence in whatever capacity he was serving. Joel, I know you are at peace with your Lord and Savior. We will miss you.”

Filed Under:
  • Hunting Heritage
  • Wild Turkey Research
  • Wildlife Management