How to Become a North Dakota Game and Fish Warden

June 10, 2015 by  

One of the more common questions asked of any Game and Fish employee, whether it’s over the phone, through friends, via email, or at the grocery store, is: “How do you get a job as a game warden?”

150610 warden test

The next test to become a North Dakota Game and Fish Warden is on July 17, 2015

I get variations of this question frequently when the topic of my occupation comes up in conversations with hunters and anglers. While I’m no longer a game warden, that’s how I started my career with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, and I had those same thoughts, too: “That’s gotta be a neat job.”

And it is. I still think the same now as I did years ago. But wanting to be a game warden and becoming one are two different things. The hiring process doesn’t come around very often, and when it does, there is usually more than a little competition. 

That said, there is always someone who emerges victorious from the hiring process. While I wasn’t optimistic when I took the test, in the end, I was fortunate to spend the first five years of my career at the Game and Fish Department as a district warden. 

The warden test remains the initial procedure for filling a vacant position amongst the three dozen or so North Dakota game warden positions. The next one is on the calendar for July 17 at 10 a.m. at the Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who has envisioned a career as a game warden.

In fact, Game and Fish is actually testing for two different positions, one for prospective district wardens, and one for a warden pilot.  

To begin the process, applicants must register to take the exam by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website. 

No doubt a background in hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation will serve a candidate well. Many current wardens have degrees with a natural resources or law enforcement focus, but others come from a variety of educational backgrounds as well. 

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree. Other requirements are a current North Dakota peace officer license, or eligibility to train for a peace officer license, and a valid driver’s license. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

Game warden pilot candidates need those same qualifications, plus a commercial pilot’s license for a single engine land with an instrument rating, a minimum of 500 hours total flying time, and an FAA Class II medical certificate.  

The work of a warden continues to focus on enforcement of game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations throughout the state.  

In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education. 

While the test is the first step, the selection procedure following the test may include an evaluation of the application, a structured oral interview, background and reference checks, and psychological and medical examinations.

While the next game warden exam is scheduled for July 17, there is no guarantee on when the next one will be held. They typically are only scheduled when there is an open position, which may or may not occur on an annual basis.

So if you’ve ever considered a career as a game warden, or know someone else who may be interested, visit the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov to find out more. You just never know what might happen.


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