Everybody seems to understand that game wardens are law enforcement officials whose job it is to monitor hunting activities, and protect game in a particular area. However, few know exactly what the job involves, the level of authority these law enforcement professionals have and the dangers they face everyday on the job.
Here are six interesting facts about game wardens and the work they do everyday in our parks and wilderness areas:
- Their Law Enforcement Authority – In some states, such as California and Texas, game wardens are given general law enforcement authority. In these areas, game wardens can arrest individuals who violate federal, state, or local laws, regardless of whether the violation involves wildlife.
- The Dangers of the Profession – Game wardens are exposed to several risks while on duty. A number of game wardens have been injured and killed in the line of duty by hunters, fishermen, and trappers. Additional sources of danger include animal attacks, drowning, and hypothermia.
There are currently 73 game wardens listed on the “Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).” The website, maintained by a non-profit organization, lists law enforcement officers from the U.S. and other parts of the world who have died in the line of duty.
- Ability to Search without a Warrant – In many states, such as Louisiana, game wardens are allowed to inspect locations and vehicles suspected of wildlife violations – with or without search warrants.
- How they Contribute to Public Safety – In addition to their standard duties, game wardens in some jurisdictions teach hunter education classes, and sponsor other community programs intended to raise wildlife management and habitat conservation awareness.
- The Museum Dedicated to Game Wardens – The North American Game Warden Museum, established in 1994, celebrates the work of game wardens and recognizes the importance and dangers of these positions. The museum is located in the International Peace Garden in North Dakota.
- The Various Titles they Go by – Depending on the state and jurisdiction, game wardens may also be called:
- Conservation officers
- Wildlife troopers
- Wildlife officers
- Game protection agents
- Wildlife control agents