Conservation and Trapping Science

Newspaper article about Rich Rogers (Furbearer Biologist)
Feb 28, 2022 06:37 ET

[Reprinted from original]

ROMNEY, W.Va. — A man who cast a long shadow in West Virginia wildlife management has died. Rich Rogers, wildlife biologist for the Division of Natural Resources in Romney died suddenly and unexpectedly this week.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Rogers received his Masters Degree from West Virginia University and worked for the West Virginia DNR for more than 37 years. He started his career as the superintendent of the Fork Creek Wildlife Management Area in Boone County in 1984. He was promoted to Assistant District Biologist for District 2 in Romney in 1987 and became the District Biologist in 2001 for the eastern panhandle.

During his tenure, Rogers was lead member of the state’s Chronic Wasting Disease Management Team, but he was best known for his work with trapping and furbearing critters in the state.

Rogers was the state’s Furbearer Biologist for many years and was passionate about his work. He coordinated the state’s programs for furbearer and trapping regulations. He represented West Virginia as a member of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Furbearer Technical Committee as well as the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Furbearer Technical Committee. He was the state’s go-to authority among questions of any kind of trapping or furbearer issue.

He was a frequent guest on West Virginia Outdoors and during his most recent appearance talked about wrapping up research on the bobcat population in West Virginia. Rich had helped coordinate the research through graduate students at West Virginia University. He concluded through the research the cat population was stable in West Virginia, but was uncomfortable with allowing an increase in the annual bag limit for bobcats.

He was a liaison to the state’s trapping community. The West Virginia Trappers Association posted this message on their Facebook post following his death:

Our hearts are heavy and filled with sadness following the sudden passing of Rich Rogers. There are no words that can describe our enormous loss of a mentor, sportsman and above all, a friend.

For those who didn’t know Rich personally, he was the WVTA liaison with the DNR. He was the one who answered all our questions, made sure our cats were sealed at each auction, and went above and beyond in his capacity as the head of the state’s furbearer program.

He was a true sportsman in every way – he was an angler, hunter, houndsman and trapper. He was one of us.
A devoted and caring family man, Rich often brought his loving wife, Kathee, to our WVTA events. Like Rich, she jumped right in to help whenever she could. While Rich sealed the cats, and led his team in aging muskrats, she spent long hours as my grader’s secretary, helping wherever she was needed. The two of them were a team in every sense of the word.

Rich’s presence will be sorely missed by all of us. Let us lift up his family in prayer. May you Rest in Peace, Rich.

Rogers’ contributions will stand for many years to come and his loss is immeasurable to the sportsmen and women of West Virginia.

“He cut a wide swath, touched many people, and made a significant impact throughout his career. The citizens of West Virginia, the state’s wildlife resources, and the wildlife profession across the country were well served by this fine gentleman,” said Paul Johansen, Wildlife Section Chief for the West Virginia DNR.