Fish and Game Wardens are basically conservation officials, commissioned by the state to ensure the optimum obedience of Fish and Wildlife Codes. People involved in the practice of fishing, boating and hunting are kept in check through these officers. They ensure that federal laws and regulations are followed by everyone. If you wish to understand how to be a Fish and Game Warden, here is some information that might help you.

Who is a Fish and Game Warden?

A Fish and Game Warden is someone who protects the wildlife from illegal activities such as trapping, poaching and falconry. These trained professionals keep a close eye on the fish and wildlife and monitor changes to the environment, habitat, pollution, diseases and so on. Here is a list of duties that these officials perform:

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Fish and Game Warden

Task

Description

Operating Equipment

Running, maneuvering, navigating or driving vehicles such as forklifts, aircrafts or watercrafts

Communicating within and outside the organization Staying in touch with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, government, public and other such sources
Making decisions and solving problems Analyzing information and deducing results to find the best solution to the organization’s problems
Getting Information Observing, researching, receiving and recording information from various sources
Ensuring Safety Patrol natural areas to ensure safety of the wildlife and public
Investigating Accidents Analyzing accidents and determining their causes in relevance to nature and wildlife
Protecting Wildlife By ensuring all relevant regulations are being followed to protect and preserve native wildlife, plants and ecosystems

*Source: O*NET OnLine

How to become a Fish and Game Warden?

To be a Fish and Game Warden, there are certain educational requirements you need to fulfill, followed by specific trainings and workshops. Here is an overview of how to become a Fish and Game Warden:

Minimum Age Requirement 18 to 21 years
Minimum Education Level Associate Degree/Bachelor’s Degree
Preferred Major Wildlife Management/Criminal Justice
Experience Required for Entry-Level Jobs None
Duration of Training Required 3 to 12 Months
Other Requirements Clean criminal record, state requirements regarding age, citizenship, etc

To become a Fish and Game Warden, a bachelor’s degree is typically enough. However, some states might waive off this education requirement if candidates possess an associate degree along with some law enforcement experience of a full-time fish and wildlife experience. The number of applicants for these jobs is usually much higher than the number of available jobs, so the competition is pretty tough. A four year bachelor’s degree might help give an applicant edge over fellow applicants. Once an applicant is selected, he/she is required to undergo intensive training for three to twelve months.

Other requirements for entering this field include good health and physical shape and a solid familiarity with the outdoors, nature, animals and in particular, Fish and Wildlife Code. The law enforcement policy and procedures must be studied and updated regularly. For further information, you can contact your state’s Department of Fish and Game.

Career Outlook for Fish and Game Wardens

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most jobs for a Fish and Game Warden exist in the following states:

State Employment
Texas 470
New York 380
Georgia 360
California 350
North Carolina 250

If you want to know the ranking in terms of annual mean wages, the following metropolitan areas are the ones you need to keep a lookout for:

Metropolitan Area Annual Mean Wage
Baltimore-Columbia-Townson, MD $72,800
Houston – The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX $66,970
Austin-Round Rock, TX $62,920
Barnstable Town, MA $53,140
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN $49,710
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ $49,180

*Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Titles for Fish and Game Wardens

Whether you choose to work in these areas or elsewhere, there are plenty of job titles that you might want to look into. Possible job titles for this career include:

  • Conservation Officer
  • Wildlife Control Agent
  • Wildlife Enforcement Officer
  • Wildlife Officer
  • Refugee Officer

The potential for promotion in this field is pretty good. The typical hierarchy goes something like this:

Special Agent → Resident Agent in Charge → Assistant Special Agent in Charge → Special Agent in Charge → Chief of Law Enforcement

Salary Data for Fish and Game Wardens

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for this occupation as of May 2015 was $54,970. The median annual wage was $76,510 for the same time period. The annual mean wage was highest in Illinois at $88,270.

Work Environment for Fish and Game Wardens

One of the most important factors in any job hunt is the kind of work environment that the organization offers. This has a huge impact on your learning and overall output, and is therefore very important. For Fish and Game Wardens, the work environment typically involves the following:

  • Working in an enclosed vehicle or equipment almost on a daily basis
  • Being accessible through telephone all the time, coordinating tasks, giving updates and reports via the phone
  • Working in the outdoors, even in harsh weather conditions is an integral part of the job that most people in this field get to experience quite often
  • Dealing with external customers is an important part of a Fish and Game Warden’s job, so people skills come in very handy for these professionals
  • Dealing with lots of electronic mail is also a part of the job. Most of the communications for projects are done via electronic mail, so having a good knowledge of this system is mandatory

Bear in mind that managing intelligently in dangerous situations is a necessary skill. The job can sometimes put you into life-threatening situations, with wild animals or poisonous plants. So you need to be prepared to take on these challenges before you decide to enter this field.