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    Familiar face takes on role as wildlife biologist at Fort McCoy

    Fort McCoy holds 2022 Meet and Greet event for deer hunters at installation

    Photo By Scott Sturkol | Wildlife Biologist Kevin Luepke speaks with people planning to deer hunt in the 2022...... read more read more

    Kevin Luepke just finished working his first gun-deer season as the Fort McCoy wildlife program manager and wildlife biologist with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch (NRB).

    Luepke began his duties Oct. 1 — shortly after his predecessor longtime Fort McCoy Wildlife Biologist David Beckmann retired in late September. But Luepke is no stranger to Fort McCoy's natural resources management environment.

    Prior to his current position, he worked in the NRB as a natural resource specialist. In that position he supported the invasive plant species, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, and prescribed burn programs at Fort McCoy.

    And before that, Luepke worked for many years with the Colorado State University (CSU) Center for the Environmental Management of Military Lands, which completes work through a cooperative agreement directly supporting Fort McCoy’s natural and cultural resources programs.

    “During my time with CSU, I worked as part of the field crew for two years before moving into the field crew leader position, which I held for roughly nine to 10 years. I became very familiar with Fort McCoy, its wildlife, and invasive plant species,” Luepke said. “From there, I moved into the wildlife coordinator position with CSU for roughly two years, which strictly dealt with the planning and coordination of wildlife projects in coordination with Dave Beckmann. I then applied for and was selected for my previous position as part of the NRB team.”

    Luepke is a native of Shawano, Wis., where he graduated from high school in 2000. He later attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management in 2005.

    “From an early age, I enjoyed being in the outdoors,” Luepke said. “When I needed to start thinking about a career field to pursue, I heard from teachers, guidance counselors, and others that ‘if you enjoy your work, you will never work a day in your life.’ I knew I wanted to pursue a career in natural resources, specifically a career in wildlife management.

    “During my time in Shawano and Stevens Point, I became very accustomed to the rather flat ground with the occasional rolling hills in the Wisconsin countryside,” Luepke said. “After I moved to the Fort McCoy area in 2005, I fell in love with the Coulee Region with the steep ridges and beautiful bluffs.”

    Luepke said protecting natural resources is important.

    “Protecting and conserving natural resources is very important to me for many reasons, but the main reason is that even though many natural resources are renewable resources, they still need to be conserved and managed for future generations to enjoy and use,” he said.

    Luepke said he also enjoys working with a very experienced staff within the NRB.

    “Over the years of working on Fort McCoy, I have gotten to know the Natural Resources Branch staff very well,” Luepke said. “The folks within the NRB are always very team oriented, easy to work with, and very willing to pass along the knowledge they have accumulated over the years. The NRB team is very dedicated to protecting the natural resources on the installation and doing their part for the Fort McCoy team that makes it possible for Fort McCoy to continue to provide many great training opportunities for the Army and the Department of Defense.”

    Luepke said building on the accomplishments of what Beckmann did in the NRB is an honor, and he said he was thankful to have had his previous experience of working with him.

    During the 2022 gun-deer season, Luepke helped coordinate all aspects of the nine-day season where the installation held its first Meet and Greet event at Whitetail Ridge Ski Area with hunters since 2019, and the harvest of 464 deer was the highest in years.

    “I'll admit it was a bit nerve-racking over the gun-deer season, but that comes with the territory with anything new,” Luepke said. “Getting this first season out of the way is HUGE! I enjoy the job up to this point and believe I will continue to do so.

    “It was great getting to chat with a lot of the hunters at the Meet and Greet as well as at the check station over the opening weekend,” Luepke said. “I have known a lot of these hunters for a lot of years already, but it’s always nice to chat with some of them who I don't know or who are new to hunting on McCoy. I look forward to continuing my work with the hunters and the natural resources of Fort McCoy.”

    Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.

    The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.

    Learn more about Fort McCoy online at, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”



    Date Taken: 12.09.2022
    Date Posted: 12.09.2022 01:19
    Story ID: 434817
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 

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