How to Become a Fish and Game Warden

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Fish and Game Wardens are environmental resource managers, working on the front lines of the local, state and national parks and refuges. Fish and game wardens enjoy an outdoors-based, active job that includes close contact with different types of wildlife and ecosystems. Their job — like a police officer’s — is to protect and serve, which they achieve through maintaining a balance between the needs of the creatures in the park systems they monitor, and the desires of the millions of humans who visit these parks every year.


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What do fish and game wardens do?

The main responsibility of a fish and game warden is to enforce the fish and wildlife regulations in their jurisdiction, as well as to uphold all applicable federal statutes. Wardens are also tasked with the enforcement of fishing, hunting, and boating laws as they pertain to these local, state, and federal regulations. Typically, fish and game wardens are commissioned as state peace officers, meaning that they have a uniform, badge, and firearm. Many live on-site at the parks they manage.

As part of their duties, fish and game wardens take part in daily patrols of the lakes, beaches, rivers, wetlands, back country, and coastlines within their jurisdictions. They have the authority to seize game, fish, or equipment that have been used in violation of the fish and wildlife codes of their jurisdiction. Poaching – unauthorized hunting or fishing – is a common offense. Wardens also assist with public health and safety in the event of human emergencies such as injuries, missing persons, or the presence of dangerous animals in areas frequently populated by humans, such as campsites and hiking trails.

Fish and game wardens have frequent contact with the public, both in the general commission of their duties and through outreach and educational programs. Click here to find out how to become a fish and game warden.

What kind of training do fish and game wardens need?

Minimum educational requirements for fish and game wardens may vary from state to state. An Associate degree in Law or Criminal Justice, combined with at least two years’ experience in either law enforcement or fish and wildlife management may be acceptable. However, most states require a Bachelor degree. In addition, some states have minimum age requirements, ranging from 18 to 21, and all require potential employees to be physically fit and active.

What are the prospects for a career as a fish and game warden?

While significant increases are not anticipated between now and 2016, prospects for fish and wildlife jobs remains steady. The majority of employment (99%, or about 7,900 jobs) can be found at the state government level. (1) Click here for a list of online fish and wildlife programs.

How much do fish and game wardens make?

Entry-level fish and game warden salary starts around $35,500. Advancement to senior positions, fish and wildlife salary increases to a high of $63,600. (2)

The fish and wildlife careers are active and diverse. The need to endure many different types of physical and environmental conditions, work independently, and uphold the spirit of resource conservation make this an exciting and satisfying employment opportunity. Click here to find your path to a fish and game career.

Joshua T Osborne

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