Fish and Game Warden Career Profile

If you are someone who is interested in nature and making sure that wildlife is preserved, you might want to check out the following career profile for a fish and game warden.

Duties

As a fish and game warden you will patrol your assigned area to make sure your state’s wildlife laws aren’t violated. You will locate fisherman or hunters who are acting without the appropriate permits, seizing the equipment of these violators. You then will determine what to do with the fish or game that have been illegally killed. You will also serve warrants and make arrests of repeat offenders. In addition, you will be asked to testify in court about the offenders you have caught. As a result, you will want to keep detailed, written records of these various. You will also be expected to keep track of any property, crop, or habitat damage in your jurisdiction.

If there are any commercial operations relating to fish or wildlife within your territory, you will have to inspect them in order to make sure that they are operating within the specified guidelines. You’ll also be expected to keep track of protected and recreational areas. And if there happens to be a fire in your zone, you will be participating in both the firefighting efforts and the search-and-rescue operations.

In addition, you could be asked to repair or maintain various facilities or structures and to implement a plan that will control pests and overgrowth in your area. Sometimes you will conduct classes or provide training in order to promote hunter and trapper safety. You might also be called upon to speak to school children, civic groups, sporting club members, and media representatives in order to give them important information about wildlife conservation and regulations.

Education/Qualifications

Fish and game wardens must earn their high school diplomas and be certified as police officers since they are allowed to carry firearms. Each state has its own requirements for fish and game wardens. Most require you to be a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, be in good physical shape, and have no felonies. Some will require a 2-year associates degree with either law enforcement experience or previous fish and wildlife credentials. But to be competitive, you might want to go ahead and get your bachelor degree in something like Biology, Environmental Sciences, or Criminal Justice. Also, some states will require that you pass an exam, so you need to contact your state’s department of fish and game to see what qualifications you need.

Salary/Advancement

The greatest number of game wardens work in Wyoming, South Dakota, Maine, Idaho, and West Virginia. But the states that pay the highest salaries (over $50,000/year) are California, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Colorado. The nationwide mean salary for fish and game wardens is between $40,000 and $45,0000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a fish and game warden you will have opportunities to advance your career to positions like detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief, and chief.

Since there is a great deal of competition for jobs as fish and game wardens and since very little job growth is projected for this particular occupation, you want to do everything you can to make sure that you have all the qualifications and experience you can possibly get in order to improve your chances of making this your career.