Game Warden Employment
Busting illegal grizzly bear hunters in a wilderness area. Investigating a shipment of smuggled rhino horns. Checking fishing licenses at a popular mountain lake. Running check stations during elk season. Searching for a rogue mountain lion in a neighborhood. Monitoring coyote populations in wild meadows. All of these tasks are just part of the job when you’re a game warden.
Game wardens are sworn and commissioned peace officers who protect wildlife and preserve the environment on public lands. Game wardens ensure that outdoor recreation users follow state and federal laws in their region or district. It’s their job to monitor hunting, fishing, and boating activities in the great outdoors. It’s a demanding job that keeps them in the field or on the case year round.
Game wardens work on lakes, rivers, beaches, wetlands, coasts, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, mountains, offices, and courtrooms. They cover this terrain by boats, planes, canoes, ATVs, horses, hiking boots, skis, snowmobiles, trucks, and other modes of transportation. It’s their duty to ensure that animals like bears, lions, coyotes, cougars, moose, elk, duck, falcons, and mountain goats have a safe home.
Game wardens do a variety of things including limiting illegal trade, stopping habitat destruction, and preventing environmental contaminants. They provide education, assist government agencies, address animal issues, investigate reports and violations, patrol areas, check hunting and fishing licenses, operate hunter check stations, bust litterbugs, enforce bag limits of hunters and anglers, assist with animal surveys, monitor migration patterns, and so much more. As you can tell, protecting wildlife and preserving the environment is a massive task.
Enforcing laws in remote places keeps you busy. Game wardens must be in shape. They are authorized to carry a gun and have the ability to arrest people at trailheads, on mountain peaks, or on a snowmobile if they violate the law. Not many other jobs can do that. It’s not all fun and games though. Game wardens also have to follow up with appropriate paperwork and court dates.
To become a game warden, you need to have a 4-year degree focusing on wildlife management, criminal justice, environmental science, conservation, or a related topic. Next you need to get your foot in the door and gain experience with the local game department or law enforcement agency. Networking is important because becoming a game warden is very competitive. There aren’t many jobs that combine law enforcement, wildlife, and nature.
You can search for game warden jobs with government agencies like the State Game Department or the Department of the Interior’s US Fish & Wildlife Department. Since this is a government job, you must be a US citizen and hold a valid drivers license to be consider. When you get hired, you must complete 20 to 30 weeks of training that covers academic knowledge, fieldwork, and law enforcement.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 6,640 game wardens working in the US. The states that employ the most game wardens are TX, GA, CA, NY, and TN. The highest concentration of game wardens is in MT, WY, SD, ME, and ID.
For aspiring game wardens, the states with the highest game warden wages are IL, NY, CA, MD, and NV. On average, game wardens make $24.27 per hour or $50,470 per year. Are you ready to apply? Do your research first. Pick up the book, “Wildlife Wars: The Life and Times of A Fish and Game Warden” by Terry Grosz to get an insider’s look at this cool career.
Are you keen to be part of nature’s law enforcement? Why not apply to be a game warden today?
Quick Facts About Game Warden Employment
Job Title: Game Warden or Fish and Game Warden or Wildlife Officer
Description: Protect wildlife and preserve the environment on public lands
Certifications/Education: 4-Year Degree, Game warden training
Necessary Skills: People person, Resource management, Wilderness rescue, Law enforcement
Potential Employers: State or Federal Government
Pay: $24.27 per hour or $50,470 per year