Washington Game Warden Association
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Washington Game Warden Association

How do I apply to become a Washington State Game Warden?

For an application packet to apply for a career in Fish and Wildlife Enforcement click on the link below. The Fish and Wildlife Officer register currently opens twice yearly. Potential applicants can obtain information from the Washington State Department of Personnel or the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Basic job duties and requirements are available on Department of Personnel web page (http://www.dop.wa.gov/)

Interested persons who meet the minimum qualifications can check the Enforcement Program Fish and Wildlife Officer bulletin hotline - (360) 902-2932, for the next open register period and to request an application packet. Completed application packets must be returned to the WDFW Personnel office by the deadline stated in the announcement. Numerous applications are rejected each open period because they are incomplete or are received after the register closing date.

How much money can I make as a Game Warden?

Career advancement is based on a combination of longevity, training, job knowledge, and performance. (as of 07/01/07, includes Assignment Pay)

Fish and Wildlife Officer 1 (entry level) $4134 5426/mo.
Lateral Transfer Fish and Wildlife Officer 1 $5426/mo. (Transfer from an outside law enforcement agency and already completed WA Criminal Justice Training Commission Basic Law Enforcement Academy, or equivalent)
Fish and Wildlife Officer 2 (3-4 years and completion of Career Development Plan) $4564 5842 /mo.
Fish and Wildlife Officer 3 (Master Instructor / Large Vessel Operator [5 years+]) $4793 - 6134/mo.
Additional promotional opportunities within the Enforcement Program include Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Deputy Chief.

Fish and Wildlife Officers, as employees of the State of Washington receive medical, dental, disability and life insurance coverage and are members of the LEOFF II Retirement Plan.

What is the testing and training process like?

The FWO (Fish and Wildlife Officer) register currently opens twice a year for a 4 to 6 week period. Applications are accepted on a statewide basis during this time to maintain a register of qualified candidates to fill vacancies as they occur. Qualified applicants are referred for further testing.

Applicants are scheduled for Physical Ability Testing which consists of a 300 Meter Run, maximum Push-Ups, one minute Sit-Ups and a 1.5 Mile Run/Walk. Minimum performance levels for each test must be met as well as a minimum passing score for the entire test battery. Upon successful completion, the candidate is allowed into the written examination.

The written test evaluates basic knowledge in natural resources, regulations, basic boating, maps, judgment, observational and organizational skills. Studying the general information found in the hunting and fishing pamphlets will help applicants prepare for this test. Applicants with passing scores are moved to the second phase of testing.

The second phase of testing consists of the oral examination, fingerprinting, a pre-polygraph interview and psychological test batteries. The Oral Exam consists of a writing exercise, pre-exposed scenario questions with an answer presented to a test panel, and impromptu scenario questions from the panel. Each portion is scored based on set criteria and an overall score is recorded.

The results of the written and oral examination are then combined and candidates are placed on a ranked register. The Enforcement Program uses this register to obtain candidate names for further testing.

Candidates referred from the register complete the remainder of the process. This includes a complete background investigation, polygraph, psychological and medical examination, and a structured interview. The best qualified candidates are offered employment based on program needs and priorities.

New Officer Training
Once hired, officers must successfully complete the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) and the Enforcement Program in-house training. In-house training covers Departmental policies, regulations, forms, fish and wildlife identification and other areas of basic knowledge prior to beginning field work.

On completion WDFW in-house training, new Fish and Wildlife Officers are assigned to the 11-week Field Training Program. Under the guidance of a Field Training Officer, they progress through a structured program designed to prepare and provide the new officer with the basic skills and knowledge needed to integrate classroom knowledge with field performance as a Fish and Wildlife Officer.

What are the qualifications needed to become a Game Warden?

Age: Applicant must be 21 years old prior to being employed

Health: Applicant must be able to physically perform the duties of a Fish and Wildlife Officer, including passing the Physical Ability Test required for entry into the Academy. A successful applicant must also pass a medical examination and a psychological assessment.

Education/Experience: A Bachelor's degree in a Natural Resource Science, Criminal Justice or closely related field;

- OR -

A two-year college degree, and either two years of paid, full-time fish or wildlife experience, or two years of paid, full-time fully commissioned law enforcement experience that includes successful completion of the Criminal Justice Training Commission Basic Law Enforcement Academy or its equivalent.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a Game Warden?

Fish and Wildlife Officers are commissioned Peace Officers certified by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. While their primary duty is to enforce the Fish and Wildlife Code and associated WDFW regulations, officers also enforce forest products, boating laws and all other laws of the State. Officers execute and serve all criminal processes related to enforcement activities, safeguard department lands and equipment, present programs to the public, and provide assistance to other law enforcement agencies within their assigned areas. They also maintain contact with landowners, resource users, and the general public.

Fish and Wildlife Officers are called upon to respond to public safety concerns related to bear, cougar and other wild animals as human populations continue to encroach on shrinking wildlife habitat. Nuisance wildlife complaints and complaints of commercial crop damage associated with deer and elk are also handled by Fish and Wildlife Officers.

Where can I purchase a fishing or hunting license and a vehicle use permit?

Licenses can be purchased at Joe's, Wal Mart, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and other places. You can also purchase a license online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/

Washington Game Warden Association