Conservation officers are also sometimes called game wardens and wildlife
or natural resource officers. They are the law enforcement officers of the
They're responsible for managing and protecting wildlife and water resources.
They patrol parks, lakes or other wildlife areas to enforce fish and wildlife
laws (like hunting and fishing regulations) and answer questions regarding
animals or wildlife habitat.
Other duties include pesticide control, parks management, wildlife research,
fighting forest fires and capturing animals in residential areas.
Conservation officers also investigate serious crimes occurring in wildlife
areas. Poaching, impaired driving, assaults and drug trafficking crimes may
all fall under a conservation officer's jurisdiction. Duties can vary depending
on the state in which they work.
This is a good job for people who enjoy the outdoors and have an interest
in hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and snowmobiling. Officers are active
for most of the day, so people in this field must be physically fit.
Conservation officers do spend part of their time indoors. "Anytime you
do any law enforcement, there's a lot of paperwork. I spend one day out of
five in the office," says Nebraska conservation officer Dina Hopper Lincon.
Due to the nature of this work, conservation officers often set their own
hours and may be on call 24 hours a day. Officers have to plan their work
schedule around times when their services will be most needed, since illegal
hunting and fishing usually don't happen during set hours.
"In the summer, I often start at about 1 in the afternoon and work until
11 at night. It just depends on when the action occurs. Often I get a call
in the middle of the night," says conservation officer Duncan Douglass.
Conservation officers may work for state or federal governments, parks
or international agencies.