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What is a Fish and Game Warden?

A fish and game warden is a peace officer focusing on the natural world. While regular police are taking care of the general public, these officers are charged with taking care of fish, wildlife, and natural resources. This also involves working with the people who are interacting with wildlife, whether they be hunters, fishermen or just people enjoying nature. They have different titles in different states, and the duties may be a little different state to state, but this is the answer to what game wardens do.

What is a game warden?

A game warden is essentially a policeman out in nature, whether that be the woods or on a body of water. They enforce laws related to hunting and fishing for their state as well as any federal laws that might apply. The job is different state to state. In Alaska, for instance, game wardens are a part of the state law enforcement division and are interchangeable with state troopers.  A game warden is there to protect the natural world, whether that be plant, animal or fish.

What does a fish and game warden do?

A wildlife officer spends a lot of time outside, but there is a lot to the job. A game warden might check boats, or hunters, to make sure they do not have over the limit of wildlife that can be taken, and to make sure it was taken properly. From there they might take part in preparing a case and go to court to be a witness in a trial.  Game and Fish officers carry weapons and may make arrests when needed. In some states, they can enforce other laws as well, such as traffic laws. They might help with conservation efforts and worth with other agencies on related matters. Game wardens also give educational programs on hunting, fishing, and conservation.  

What do you have to do to become a fish and wildlife officer?

States have different requirements for fish and wildlife officers, so you must contact the state where you want to work to get fish and game warden career information. In general, many states require a four-year college degree in criminal justice, biology, or environmental science. Some states require only a two-year degree in one of those areas.  For a person to become a wildlife officer they must show they are physically and mentally able to do the job, which does require a lot of physical activity. The person must be knowledgeable about fish and wildlife, biology, as well as state and federal laws related to fish and wildlife.

What other names are used for a fish and game officer?

In many cases, it depends on the terminology used in a specific state. Some states call this area of law enforcement  “Game and Fish Commission,” or “Department of Fish and Wildlife,” or “Department of Natural Resources.” When it comes to conservation officer vs game warden, the terms are interchangeable. Some names for this position include:

  • Wildlife Officer
  • Wildlife police officer
  •  Natural Resources officer
  • Game Warden
  • Fish and game warden

What is the job description of a game warden?

One of the biggest perks of a game and wildlife officer is that they get to be outside most of the time.  If you like the great outdoors and can put up with any kind of weather, this might be a good fit for you. Game and Fish officials must know the law as any law enforcement officer would. They often issue hunting and fishing licenses, as well as enforce hunting and fishing laws. They teach classes on hunter safety and hunter education. These officers also manage wildlife, keeping track of how many animals there are in a given area, and how they are doing. They may have to get involved when there are conflicts between wildlife and humans. An example would be a bear ravaging a campground. They may also take part in search and rescue operations for people in danger. Often officers are assigned to a specific area and must learn that area in great detail.

It is not all outdoors, however. There are jobs at the state headquarters where the officers are more in an administrative role. There is a lot of paperwork involved regardless of where they are, as all their activities must be logged. There is a lot to what is a fish and game warden, but it centers around taking care of life in the outdoor world.

How much to game and wildlife officers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, game and fish officers can expect to make $55,000 in annual salary. They would make more as they move up the ranks, or to different jobs within that department.

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