Fish and game wardens patrol natural areas like forests and lakes, and enforce hunting, fishing and boating laws. They investigate complaints and accidents, prevent poaching and out-of-season hunting, and conduct search-and-rescue efforts. Fish and game wardens also work with environmental scientists on projects to preserve wildlife and their habitats. They inform the public on conservation efforts, regulations and staying safe in natural environments.
On a rota
Fish and game wardens work in a variety of outdoor environments, from remote wilderness and vast waterways to parks and campgrounds in more densely populated regions. You will likely deal with extreme temperatures, weather conditions and difficult terrain. Fish and game wardens are at risk of animal attacks as well as potentially dangerous human encounters.
Warden jobs are typically full-time, but shifts can include nights, weekends and holidays. You will collaborate with others on certain tasks, but be prepared for a lot of solitary work.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
DVM / VMD degree
Qualifications for fish and game wardens can vary, so check with the appropriate state or federal agency for specific requirements. Most require a bachelor's degree in a related subject like wildlife science, biology or natural resources management. Some states prefer a degree in criminal justice. The US Fish and Wildlife Service allows applicants with less education if they have experience in a related field.
Most state and federal agencies require academy training. Since fish and game wardens are law enforcement officers, you’ll need similar training in areas like self-defence, firearms and investigation. Advanced programmes can include instruction in arrest procedures, field exercises and emergency response.
At the start of your career, you’ll work closely with an experienced warden and receive on-the-job training.
Fish and game wardens have many opportunities for continuing education and training in a variety of subjects related to their work. Gaining additional skills, knowledge and applicable degrees can put you in line for promotions and leadership roles. Relocating to a different state or a federal position can also open up new opportunities.