March 9, 2011
Nashville, Tennessee - Daryl Ratajczak has been named Chief
of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Division of Wildlife
and Forestry. His new appointment is effective immediately.
Ratajczak moves into his new position after serving as the TWRA
Big Game Program Coordinator since 2004. As the TWRA Wildlife and
Forestry Division Chief, he is responsible for the TWRA’s wildlife
and forestry programs. He replaces Greg Wathen who is now serving
as Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation
Cooperative (LCC) Coordinator.
While he was the TWRA Big Game Program Coordinator, Ratajczak
oversaw all aspects of the TWRA’s white-tailed deer, black bear,
and wild hog programs. He also assisted with the agency’s
fledgling elk program. During his tenure, he served as the liaison
to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission to present agency
recommendations on big game hunting seasons. He was also involved
in the development and implementation of several research projects
which investigated new ways for estimating big game populations.
Along with other agency professionals, Ratajczak was able to
combine cutting-edge technology with time-tested methods to
develop new survey protocols. These protocols are now being
implemented and tested on a statewide level.
Other projects include the development and design of the
electronic big game harvest reporting system, the Hunter’s
Toolbox, and the Tennessee Deer Registry website. These systems
and interactive tools are designed to provide the Tennessee
Sportsmen with the information needed to make the most of their
big game hunting experience.
Prior to becoming TWRA’s Big Game Coordinator, Ratajczak joined
the agency in 2002 and was a wildlife manager at the Hunter
Education and Range Facility in Bartlett. Along with a team of
dedicated volunteers and co-workers, he was responsible for the
daily operation of a state-of-the-art hunter education and
shooting range. More than 1,200 students graduated from his Hunter
Education class while he served as manager of the facility.
A native of Buffalo, New York, he received his Bachelor of Science
degree in wildlife management from the SUNY College of
Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Ratajczak moved to
Tennessee in 1997 to manage the newly formed Appalachian Bear
Center in Townsend. After sinking his family’s roots in Tennessee,
he briefly moved to Gaithersburg, Md., where he assumed the role
as the Outdoor Ethics Program Coordinator for the Izaak Walton
League of America. His main responsibility while at the League was
writing an outdoor ethics segment which aired nationally on the
ESPN Outdoors television network. It wasn’t long before the lure
of Tennessee brought him back to his newly adopted home.
Ratajczak has been involved in several training seminars,
conferences, and volunteer efforts. He is also a regular on many
radio shows throughout the state promoting Tennessee’s big game
program and is a frequent guest of the Tennessee Wildside Weekly
television show. Among the awards he has received includes being
named the Tennessee Conservation League’s Wildlife Conservationist
of the Year while at the Appalachian Bear Center. He was also
awarded a Shikar-Safari Club International’s Mid-South Chapter
award for teaching handicapped children the necessary requirements
for their hunter education certification.