Fish And Game Warden: How To Become A Fish And Game Warden

Criminal Justice Career Guides

Fish And Game Warden: A Career Guide

Fish and game warden are the police officers who protect the public and look after nature and wildlife. These law enforcement officers patrol around the conserving areas and waterways and ensure that the laws regarding fishing, boating, and hunting are being followed. They perform law enforcement duties, educate the visitors, and rescue the lost. The game warden career is enriching for those who are keen to help others and have a love for exploring nature.

The Fish And Game Warden appointed by the state works in different fish, park, and wildlife departments in different regions of the state, whereas federal agencies appoint the federal game warden as special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Like any other law enforcement officer, fish and game warden need to fulfil some requirements to become a game warden. Besides having a healthy body, you need to have a strong personality and good communication skills.

The job is quite unpredictable and will push you to your physical and mental limits; therefore, it is essential to evaluate yourself first before applying for this career.

If you think that you have the potential to become a game warden, then keep on reading because we will provide you a detailed guide on How To Become A Fish And Game Warden

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What is a Game Warden?

fish and game warden requirementsFish and game wardens, also known as conservation officers in some parts of The United States of America, are the law enforcement officers appointed by state or federal agencies to guard and maintain the public, wildlife, and natural resources.

A game warden’s primary responsibility is to monitor different activities, for example, fishing and hunting. They have to make sure people are only hunting or fishing in the season, and if someone breaks the rules, they have to write them a ticket and confiscate their equipment.

A game warden job is not your regular wildlife guard but of a law enforcement police officer who is authorized to enforce state laws. They can make an arrest, write a ticket, or size any property just like other officers of states. Other than that, fish and game officers are involved in search and rescue operations as they are trained for swimming, climbing tracks, and hiking.

Besides performing all the heavy tasks, game warden duties include interacting with different individuals on a daily basis. When going through a hiring process, the communication skills of the candidate are observed closely. It is one of the game warden requirements to have a friendly yet strong personality because the officers have to deal with various types of people, they have to make sure the hunting and fishing are done in a safe environment. Communication skills are required to check up with the license, but the officers have to conduct educational programs, including different hunting and survival courses.

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Steps To Become a Game Warden

For becoming a game warden, you first need to meet the fish and game warden requirements. Following are the requirements for being a game warden:

  • Meet the General Requirements
  • Meet  the Educational Requirement
  • Complete The Training Within Your State

Fish & Game Requirements

The requirement for every state is different. However, the major requirement is similar in primary states. Some of the general requirements are:

  • Should be 21 years and above
  • U.S citizenship
  • Valid And Clean Driver’s License
  • High School Diploma Or Equivalent
  • No Felony 
  • No Illegal Drugs
  • Physically And Mentally Healthy

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Game Warden Education

There are no schools specifically for game warden education. However, there are some educational requirements that the state expects from candidates who have applied for the job. Almost all the states acquire a bachelor’s degree in a related field or an associate’s degree, but they should have a high school diploma or equivalent degree. The Fish and Wildlife Service gives more preference to individuals who have a bachelor’s degree.

If you are unsure and do not know where to start, this list will help you choose your bachelor’s program’s right major.

  • Natural resource conservation
  • Wildlife Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Fish and Wildlife Management
  • Criminal Justices
  • Law enforcement
  • Emergency and Disaster Management

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Game Warden Training

fish and game warden jobsFulfilling the general and education requirement was the first step towards becoming a fish and game warden. Completing basic training holds equal importance to complete the fish and game job requirements. The basic training program varies for each state but usually lasts for six to eight months in which different skills are taught, which will be used in the field.

State Training

The basic training is 20 weeks; however, this varies from one state to another. For example, in Taxes, it lasts for 15 weeks, while it completes at 29 weeks in Virginia. During this training course, different skills are taught. Some of them are taught defence tactics, driver training, physical training, state and federal laws, first aid, emergency management, firearms, and learning about natural resources and wildlife management.

Depending on the wildlife department, game warden trainees, after completing basic training that includes a criminal investigation, law enforcement with regards to wildlife, identification of a crime scene, and electronic surveillance, have to spend extra hours in specialized training.

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Federal Training

The new federal game wardens with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have to complete 20 weeks of training from the Federal Law Enforcement Agency (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia.

Other than this, the game warden sometimes is required to complete specialized training that focuses on one specific task. This is not done in routine but only if there is a need for a specialized department’s specialized officer.

Some of the specialized training courses include:

In Oregon, officers can study in these fields

  • Boat operations
  • Horse packing
  • Environmental crime investigation
  • Federal wildlife laws
  • Game salvage equipment operation
  • 4×4 patrol unit operation
  • Wildlife and fish identification
  • Commercial fishing vessels
  • Outdoor survival

In Minnesota, officers can be specialized in any position within the state’s department

  • Aircraft pilot
  • Community liaison officer
  • Special investigations
  • Training officer
  • Wetlands enforcement
  • Marine unit
  • K-9

In Texas, officers can specialize in these groups:

  • Texas Maritime Tactical Operations Group
  • K-9 team
  • SCOUT Team (tactical response)
  • Search and Rescue Team
  • Underwater Search and Recovery Dive Team
  • Forensic Reconstruction and Mapping Team
  • Marine Investigations Unit
  • State wide Honor Guard

Game Warden Career Opportunities

how to become a fish and game wardenLife as a game warden is like a roller coaster ride, there are ups, and then there are downs. It is appealing to adventure lovers, and this job has diversity, flexibility, and lots to experience to gain. The officers face different problems each day, and it pushes them to fight with danger and uncertainty all the time.

However, there are tons of applicants willing to get this job every year. However, there are not many jobs in this field than other law enforcement departments; however, the industry is growing steadily. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, there is an increase of 0.5 % in employment. As there are fewer job openings and more competition, you need to have something unique to enhance your resume.

You might have this question in your mind: where do game wardens work?

They are not any specific area where the officers work one season they might be patrolling around and other days might be giving coaching classes. There are some fields in which the wildlife warden work;

Public service:

  • Law enforcement
  • Wildlife management
  • Special missions

The below table is of states with the highest employment rate.


Employment Rate

Average Hourly Wage

Annual Average Wage

New York380$33.07$68,790

Game Warden Salary

 The Fish and game warden is appointed in the States through local, state, and federal agencies. Although this career is not as luxurious as some other careers are, it is rewarding for those passionate about the wildness.

Even if you are eager to join the field, you must be wondering how much money a game warden makes? Like the training program, the wildlife department officers have different salaries based on their experience and region.

There are set levels in the law enforcement department. The game wardens appointed in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service by the federal agencies at GL-05 level earns about $33,829, plus they have chances to go up till GL-09, which is $61,031.

The majority of the game and wildlife officers are working through the state agencies. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average salary is $60,620. The salaries of the officers vary from one state to another. According to a BLS report of May 2019, Florida’s average salary is $28,690, whereas, in California, it is $79,220.

The table below shows the states that pay the highest.


  • Employment Rate
  • Average Hourly Wage
  • Annual Average Wage

The table below shows the states that pay the highest.


Employment Rate

Average Hourly Wage

Annual Average Wage

Rhode Island30$38.19$79,440


I hope this article answered all of your questions concerning the fish and game warden department. If you have any questions or concerns about the game warden career, comment down below, and we will get back to you.


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