The Way to Being a Warden

Doug Leier

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept.


The course of life can change in subtle ways, and one seemingly small “what if” can make a huge difference. One of those for me occurred at the time I graduated from college.


I was scheduled to complete my degree from North Dakota State University in December. At about the same time, state Game and Fish Department put out a notice that it would hold a periodic game warden exam early that same month. I was excited, but realistic.


As a young man growing up in the outdoors of North Dakota, a career as a game warden was always a dream and goal for me. A broader goal was working for a natural resource agency in just about any capacity.


While the reality was (and still is) that game warden job openings are typically few and far between, and when they occur the competition is high, someone eventually is offered that job.


To meet the requirements of becoming a game warden, I needed my degree. The test was a couple of weeks before I received my diploma, and initially I thought I wouldn’t be able to even register, as technically I wouldn’t have yet graduated.


My dad then suggested I contact Game and Fish to clarify the requirement, which I did, and was relieved to learn that the degree is necessary “at time of hire,” and not at the time of the test.


So I registered, knowing that if I made it beyond that first step, I would have my degree before the hiring process got serious. Which eventually it did for me. I took over my first game warden assignment the following summer.


Someone else is going to get that same opportunity later this month, as the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination to select candidates for the position of district game warden. The test is at 10 a.m., May 29, at the department’s main office in Bismarck.


Applicants must register to take the exam no later than May 27 by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.


Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive background check and must not have a record of any felony convictions.


District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens may assist with public relations, conservation education programs, and hunter and boating safety education.

For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website,

If you, your son, daughter, friend, neighbor or co-worker loves the outdoors and is interested in becoming a game warden, sign up for the test. It’s free, and it could lead to a special career.


Featured Photo: Game wardens are on the job, helping protect and preserve the wildlife resources of the state of North Dakota and assisting hunters and anglers in the field. NDG&F Photo. 

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