Fish and Wildlife Officer Career Introduction
Do you like living on the edge? Do skyscrapers and concrete blocks scare you while the uncertainties of the wild attract you? Then consider getting a job which is both fulfilling and challenging without getting yourself chained to a desk all day long. Not many think of game wardens as dare evils, putting their lives on the line to protect wildlife from hunters and poachers but in reality they do.
Become a fish and game warden
Game wardens are generally employed by state and local authorities. Therefore, as a game warden you will either serve in urban or rural areas. Your primary aim and objective would be to enforce the law within your jurisdiction. You are likely to enforce laws relating to:
recreational and commercial fishing
Sounds like the hallmarks of a desk job? Not really. As a game warden you will be carrying a firearm with the right to use it. You will be required to work weekends and holidays, you may also work alone in the dark. To enforce your state and local laws, you will travel in a variety of vehicles, boats, plane, and horseback and even patrol your area on foot.
Away from the daily challenges of the job, game wardens also investigate reports of violations, collect and preserve evidence and testify in court. As if you cannot escape the desk job aspect of the job, game wardens also write reports.
There is another very positive element to being a game warden; you will get to educate people on wildlife laws regarding wildlife hunting and preservation. Game wardens are invited to local high schools and hunting and fishing clubs, etc. to spread awareness and provide updated information on the changing state laws on wildlife.
The job may be a thrill ride in many ways but it is not for everyone. The following information should tell you whether you should or could seek becoming a fish and game warden. The information however does not represent a uniform code; as mentioned earlier, game wardens enforce state and local laws.
Education – A bachelor’s degree in any discipline unless otherwise specified by an employer (some may prefer a degree in wildlife management or criminal justice). For some, prior military or law enforcement experience may not substitute academic requirements.
Physical attributes – You have probably guessed already that game wardens are agile individuals. A licensed physician will examine you before declaring you fit for the job.
Hearing – You must be able to hear 35 decibels with or without hearing aids in each of the following frequencies: 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hz.
Vision – You need to have binocular vision of 20/30 or better. This can be reached with both with or without soft or hard contacts or corrective lenses. If you wear glasses then uncorrected vision in the best eye must be no worse than 20/40 and 20/100 in the worst eye. If you use soft contacts, then uncorrected vision in the both eyes must be better than 20/200. You must be able to distinguish between red and green colors. You must also have night vision and uninterrupted peripheral vision of 140 degrees or better.
Physical readiness – Your employer will make you complete a physical readiness test which may include a swim test, handgun stability test and physical exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, and running.
Age – Some employers may hire you at any age, meaning there may be no maximum age limit, however, they may not hire kids for the job. The minimum age limit may be 21 years.
License – A valid driver’s license may enhance your chances of employment as it would help your employer run background checks on you.
Background – A comprehensive background check will be conducted. What is your future employer looking for? That you are of good moral character and that you have never been convicted of a felony or Class A Misdemeanor. That you have no Class B Misdemeanor offense like DWI (driving while intoxicated), DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) and BWI (boating while intoxicated) convictions in the past 10 years. Furthermore, you have never been convicted of any family violence offense and that you are not on parole or probation for any offense above Class C Misdemeanor offence.
Military service – A less than honorable discharge will finish your chances of employment.
Citizenship – Game warden employers are usually looking for US nationals only.
Drug use – Current illegal drug use will finish your chances of employment.
Psychological condition – Your employer will have you examined by a licensed psychologist and his/her clean bill of health regarding your emotional and psychological health will be necessary for employment.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reports,
Annual Mean Wage (2013):$50,470
Employment Outlook: Relatively Positive
Why become a fish and game warden?
Your colleagues become your family and that is perhaps something which catapults this career head and shoulders above others. The friendship lasts even after retirement. The other reason why you should think about becoming a game warden is the field work. After all what other job would pay you for working in the nature.
Do not become a fish and game warden
Have no illusions about the job; don’t become a game warden to fish and hunt, because you won’t be doing much. Game wardens regulate others who are fishing and hunting. The job is no bed of roses. As mentioned earlier, the job is essentially for those who love being closer to nature. There also the administrative side. Game wardens are required to perform administrative jobs like writing personal and investigative reports. They also prepare cases for prosecution and may take weeks to do that. Also think twice about becoming a game warden if you hate performing supervisory duties.