Saturday, September 28, 2019
Game Wardens Essay
1. Why do most game wardens decide to become game wardens? Most guys become game wardens because they like the outdoors and fish and wildlife in general. In my case, it ran in the family as your Grandad, Larry Glover, was a game warden. 2. What kind of things does a game warden do? Can the job be physically demanding? Game wardens patrol for fish and wildlife violations and conduct investigations regarding these offenses, both state and federal. Some game wardens also conduct biological duties such as fish creel censuses, deer/elk/antelope population surveys, and migratory bird aerial surveys. The typical state game warden serves in one county and is responsive to all fish and wildlife issues there-in. A federal game warden can be in charge of an entire region of a state. I was never home for very long periods because there was so many duties I had to fulfill. The job is demanding both physically and mentally. I could be Ã¢â¬Å"breaking the iceÃ¢â¬ to check duck hunters in the frozen marsh one day and wearing a coat and tie to testify in court the next day. I told the young agents that I supervised, Ã¢â¬Å"ItÃ¢â¬â¢s not a job but a way of life. Ã¢â¬ 3. If a man wants to become a game warden, how should he best prepare? Is there a difference of preparation on the state and federal level? Any majors he should pursue in college? Most game wardens I know majored in Wildlife Management or Criminal Justice while in college. My degree was in Wildlife Management. Most states now require a degree for entry level game warden positions. Federal game wardens usually have several years of state experience prior to coming on board. 4. How competitive is it to get a job as a game warden? Is the level of competition different on the state and federal level? The competition is extremely tough both at the state and federal level. Even when I came on as a New Mexico Game Warden back in 1971, it was tough. I waited for several months after applying to several states and only got on because my dad knew the New Mexico Director of Game & Fish. Even then, I started out as a lowly beaver trapper and worked my way up to district game warden supervisor. I left the New Mexico State Game and Fish Department for federal game warden service in 1976. 5. Any tips on getting hired as a game warden? Get your degree, take any position available in the game department, work any law enforcement job available while waiting (police officer, deputy sheriff, etc.) for the experience, get to know your local game warden, and donÃ¢â¬â¢t violate any fish and game laws. Tom McKay, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent 6. What is the average salary for a game warden on the state and federal level? Oklahoma state game wardens are paid very poorly. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s about $30K/year. Texas wardens are paid much better- about $52K/year. On the federal level, Special Agents with the US Fish & Wildlife Service usually start as GS-7 on the federal pay scale, which is about $40K/year. Plus you get Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) which is 25% of your base grade or about another $10K. You can work your way up to Journeyman Special Agent. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s a GS-12 on the federal pay scale, which is about $100K/year. 7. What is the best part of the job? The best part of the job is the field work and camaraderie with fellow officers, both state and federal. These guys become your Ã¢â¬Å"brothersÃ¢â¬ with friendships that last a lifetime. 8. What is the worst part of the job? The worst part of the job is the administrative requirements such as personnel and investigative reports. You may work a week on a case and several weeks preparing it for prosecution. Also, the supervisory responsibilities (if you go that high) are trying and time-consuming. Always hated that aspect of my job. 9. What is the biggest misconception people have about the job? The biggest misconception is that game wardens spend all their time hunting and fishing. The good wardens and agents have no time for this as they are in the field managing the other nimrods out there during hunting season. I hunted and fished much more before I became a game warden, not at all after I became one. 10. What is the work/family balance like? As you observed, Brett, the work/family balance is horrible. Never home, always on the road or in the field on a case. However, thatÃ¢â¬â¢s how I grew up with my Dad and your Mom with her father (EditorÃ¢â¬â¢s Note: My momÃ¢â¬â¢s dad was a forester). So, we were used to it, but it doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t make it right. I still regret the time I missed with you boys and your sister. 11. Are there ways to move-up in the job, or in other words, what is the hierarchy like? The promotion potential is great in federal service. If you do a good job and are willing to move, the promotion potential is likely. However, anything higher then a Journeyman Special Agent (GS-12) usually requires a 2-year stint in Washington, DC headquarters as a desk agent. I never chose to do this, but was lucky to obtain the Resident Agent In Charge (RAC) position, which increased my pay to a GS-13. ThatÃ¢â¬â¢s the position I had when I retired. The hierarchy for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement is: Special Agent, Resident Agent in Charge, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Special Agent in Charge, and Chief of Law Enforcement (along with several division chiefs under him).