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Game Warden


How to Become a Game Warden
Job Duties of a Game Warden
Skills and Qualities of a Game Warden
Game Warden Salaries
Influential Professional Game Wardens
Leading Organizations for Game Wardens
Top Cities for Game Warden Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Game Warden

Many states require game wardens to hold a bachelor's degree in criminology and forestry/wildlife preservation. Professionals must have an educational background in both public safety and biology. Some states require professionals to attend a state-certified police academy to secure employment, or to pass a written and physical examination.

To become a fish and game warden an individual must be familiar with the criminal justice system and state regulations concerning hunting, fishing, environmental protection, and recreational pursuits.

What does a Game Warden do?

Game wardens, also referred to as conservation officers or wildlife officers, enforce fishing, hunting, and boating laws. They patrol hunting and fishing areas, investigate complaints and accidents, conduct search and rescue operations, and aid in prosecuting court cases.

Game wardens are state, federal or local law enforcement agents responsible for enforcing laws pertaining to the hunting, fishing, and trapping of wild animals. They enforce laws and regulations designed to protect and conserve fish and wildlife. Officers collect information and report on the condition of fish and wildlife in a specific area.

Game Wardens investigate wildlife crop damage and advise owners of preventative measures. Officers inspect commercial fishing operations, canneries, processors, and fish markets.

Professionals conduct hunter safety training, assist in controlled hunt planning, and investigate coastal water pollution. Occasionally, officers are asked to speak at civic, sporting and conservation events.

Game wardens have broad duties within the law enforcement spectrum that include ensuring that licensing requirements are met by hunters, trappers, and fishermen, to having general law enforcement authority that allows them to effect arrests for most crimes including traffic, and other general violations of the law.

In some areas, officers are responsible for conducting investigations of hunting related homicides and boating accidents. Officers also make arrests of individuals driving or boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Detailed investigations are conducted to solve wildlife crimes. Officers use ballistic evidence, DNA, fingerprints, and any comparative evidence to prosecute people who illegally kill wildlife or commit other crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of a game warden.

Officers can also assist with wildlife management duties such as surveys to count game animals like elk and deer. Professionals assist landowners in finding solutions to wildlife damage. Individuals in this field teach hunter education classes and operate other programs to teach children, and the public, the importance of wildlife management and habitat conservation.

Conservation officers can, and routinely do, seize fishing equipment, firearms, vehicles, watercraft, and other equipment and property used in the commission of fish and game crimes with and without warrants. In many states, game wardens do not need warrants to conduct checks on places that they suspect taken animals or fish to be located, whether on private or public property.

Game wardens are called to perform facilities maintenance work, e.g., constructing or repairing structures, and controlling weeds and pests.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Game Warden?

Game wardens must be able to work with the public and have good judgment and integrity. They must think fast and be willing to undergo continuing education.

How much do Game Wardens make?

Compiled in 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded the annual median pay for game wardens to be $47,830. The more lucrative sources of employment were held in federal government positions, with officers earning $45,303 annually (recorded in 2002).


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

The president of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA) is Marion Hoffman. The vice president of this organization is Kevin Schoepp.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association, or NAWEOA is an organization comprised of officers from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. They support conservation and the interest of wildlife enforcement officers.

Many states also have their own game warden associations. For example, the Texas Game Warden Association (TGWA) help educate Texans - children and adults - about wildlife and land. The Oklahoma State Game Warden Association exists to preserve and protect wildlife. The Wyoming Game Wardens Association provides fellowship for game wardens in the state of Wyoming.

What are the top cities for Game Warden jobs?

Maryland and Washington held the top paying positions for game wardens, with hourly earnings reported: $32.46 and $26.45, respectively.

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