When most people think of game wardens, they think of the woodsman type who patrols the forests and waterways looking for hunting and fishing violators. However, the duties of a game warden far exceed the enforcement of local, state and federal wildlife laws. They do much more than arrest poachers and violators. Game wardens are guides, educators and first responders. They are trackers and rescue workers. Game wardens are also conservationist-working to protect guarded and endangered species from further destruction.
Game wardens work closely with other law enforcement agencies to help secure crime or accidents scenes such as the recent efforts to locate a crash site in Northern Maine. Due to the rugged terrain and remote location of the crash site, game wardens were called in to help locate the downed airplane that crashed on Monday, March 7, 2011 near the Maine-Canada border. Once they reach the crash site, game wardens will secure the area, assist in getting investigators to the site, and help investigators process the scene.
Texas Game wardens are also often the first law enforcement officers to discover possible criminal activity in remote locations, parks and waterways such as the February 25, 2011 discovery of the body of 53 year old Clifford Manuel. Game wardens found his body floating in Belton Lake near Temple, Texas. Mr. Manuel had been missing for almost a month before his remains were discovered.
Because of their familiarity with remote regions, game wardens are also often called to help in search and rescue missions for hikers, campers, and other individuals reported lost or missing.
The requirements for becoming a game warden differ state by state. The requirements for becoming a game warden include:
- High school diploma, GED
- Some states/agencies require a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in biology, criminal justice degree, or other related discipline.
- Most state require game wardens be 21 years of age or older; however, in some states the minimum age is 18.
- Game wardens must be in peak physical condition
- Game wardens must have the ability to work in any weather conditions and be able to work in the elements for long periods of time.
- Driver’s license
- Have a clean criminal record
- Be a US Citizen
- Successfully complete any required specialized training for game wardens
For individuals who have a passion for the outdoors and a desire to keep the outdoors a safe place for individuals to enjoy nature, a career in wildlife enforcement can be very rewarding. Game wardens are charged with the tasks of educating the public, enforcing gaming laws and providing public safety in the great outdoors.