Wildlife biologist Bob Massey’s career spanned decades and affected people as well as wildlife

As we spoke, Bob Massey was fishing with his son in the Iroquois County Pond.

why not? After nearly 34 years with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Department of Conservation), Massey retired last month as a county wildlife biologist (Kankakee, Grundy, and Iroquois counties) with plenty of other roles.

He was a wildlife disease specialist when vacant, had a leadership role in dealing with chronic wasting disease (CWD), was on saw crew after Hurricane Katrina, and among many firefighting/burn roles described, he traveled throughout the West.

“The largest was in Utah, just under 400,000 acres of sage, turf, and chaparral,” Massey said.

Retired biologist Bob Massey just had a described burn.  image provided

Retired biologist Bob Massey just had a described burn.

He received his bachelor’s degree in science education from Southern Illinois University, then began graduate work at the Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University. His career as a wildlife technician began at Dixon Springs State Park in Golconda in October 1988.

“I was going to stay there, but to get a promotion I had to move and go back to my home area,” he said.

Massey, who grew up in Frankfurt and went to Lincoln Way Central, moved in the winter of 1990 to become a biologist, his “ultimate goal.”

He has been collecting geese in Hudson Bay in Canada for three weeks (‘all done by helicopter’), conducting aerial surveys and directing.

Wildlife biologist Stephanie Fitzsimmons wrote: ‘Bob Massey was the first person I met at the Wilmington Game Farm on my first day as a DNR intern. “He immediately took me under his wing and has become my mentor ever since! In the 11 years of knowing Bob, there were very few days that I didn’t speak to him on the phone to ask questions.”

Notable memory features include deer checking stations.

He said: “You should visit successful men. “There are people I used to know whose parents and children now hunt. These are really good.”

Retired wildlife biologist Bob Massey has just been surveying deer in northern Illinois from a helicopter.

Retired wildlife biologist Bob Massey has just been surveying deer in northern Illinois from a helicopter. image provided

Massey held key roles in CWD, which changed the dynamics.

“The biggest thing that has changed is [the public] He thinks of DNR as an opponent now, not the people who are there to help,” he said. That has changed a lot since I started. We are not enemies. I think a lot of that is related to CWD. People think we’re out to eliminate deer hunting. It’s been a complete storm of CWD, other diseases and deer management changes. Things will get better, we just have to get over that hump.”

Forrester State Tom Gargrave shared a 32-year office with wildlife biologist Joe Rogos and Massey at the Game Publishing Center in Des Plaines in Wilmington.

‘We worked a lot in the early mornings and very late nights,’ said Gargrave, ‘and laughed our way through most of them. “Working in the field biology of IDNR does not conform to normal business rules, descriptions, business negotiations, or regulations. It is shaped by passion.”

For those considering a similar path, Massey advised, “You should get a master’s degree, because that’s the only thing they’ll look at. Be willing to take the time and prepare to move around to look for a job. I can’t expect an 8 to 4 job, because you All hours work.

Just retired wildlife biologist Bob Massey (left) works with an owl chick while keeping an eye on his lab lambo.  image provided

Just retired wildlife biologist Bob Massey (left) works with an owl chick while keeping an eye on his lab lambo.

When I asked about the wildlife sightings, Massey admitted, “It’s a chore sometimes. for quantity [cougar] The sights we get, you might think we’re in the Black Hills of South Dakota. If you thought you’ve seen one, this is what you saw.

Take the sight of the cougar who was the neighbor’s dog or the “woman` in Chicago who reported on a mountain lion sitting on the roof eating a raccoon. I had two drinks.”

He landed a 2 1/2 pound largemouth bass, caught on a small Rapala.

“We are multitasking, another thing I learned with the state,” he said.

It was time.

Just retired wildlife biologist Bob Massey holds a caiman and an alligator.  image provided

Just retired wildlife biologist Bob Massey holds a caiman and an alligator.