Fish & Game Warden

What Does a Fish and Game Warden Do?
Fish and game wardens are state and federal law enforcement agents who serve to protect and conserve fish and wildlife. They enforce laws concerning the hunting, fishing and trapping of wild animals and have the right to warn, cite and arrest individuals who violate these laws and regulations. Their main goal is to protect the safety of animals and people when fishing or hunting, in addition to enforcing the laws that govern these practices. Wardens ensure that fishing and hunting is done in a humane, lawful way and hunters and fishermen abide by the regulations determined by each state. Wardens spend much of their time patrolling designated hunting and fishing areas, as well as observing the health of fish and wildlife and reporting any issues to the state or federal agencies. Wardens may also be responsible for investigating wildlife crop damage, inspecting fish processing operations and administering hunting licenses.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Fish and Game Warden?
The employment outlook for fish and game wardens should be positive, with an estimated 8 percent increase in jobs. Wardens may experience an increase in employment because of wildlife population control. As more animals reproduce, they will settle in areas that aren’t suited for wildlife, like cities or suburbs. Therefore, more wardens will be needed to relocate animals, permit hunting and investigate complaints and accidents involving wildlife. In addition, wardens will be hired to monitor hunting and fishing, as they grow in popularity. An increase in outdoor sporting activities will not only keep wardens busy, but also heighten their awareness and law enforcement. Along with more job opportunities, fish and game wardens can expect favorable salary prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fish and game wardens made an average salary of $48,930 in 2008. The industries with the highest levels of employment include state, local government and federal executive branches. For more information on industry profiles and wage estimates of fish and game wardens, visit the Bureau’s Occupational Employment Statistics.

How Can I Become a Fish and Game Warden?
Prospective fish and game wardens should complete the necessary educational and training steps to enter this unique field. According to the Bureau, most states require candidates to have at least two years of college education. To enter the field quicker and ensure employment, you should strongly consider earning an associate degree in animal science, law enforcement, criminal justice or another related subject. During your two-year associate degree program, you will obtain useful lessons in wildlife conservation, animal sciences and law enforcement. Once you’ve completed and mastered the minimum college requirements, you’ll be eligible for professional training. Fish and game wardens will be required to attend a training academy that lasts from three to 12 months, before they can begin law enforcement. After these essential steps are completed, you will be prepared to protect and maintain the wildlife population and enforce the laws and regulations of sporting activities.