Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Game Warden Shortage

Low pay didn’t used to be a handicap in this work which attracted many due to being outdoors and generally enjoyable work, but lately with the law enforcement aspect becoming a little more dangerous and the pay remaining low, it appears there might be a shortage.

Game warden academy applications plummet
Field officers an 'endangered species,' recruiter warns.
By Matt Weiser - Bee Staff Writer Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Applications for California's game warden training academy have fallen to just one-third of last year's levels, prompting concern that a crisis in state wildlife protection is deepening.

Lt. Jeff Longwell, in charge of hiring and recruiting the warden force for the state Department of Fish and Game, said he has received only 98 applications for the training academy that begins in January 2008. The application deadline is Friday.

That compares to 300 applications received last year for the academy that begins in January 2007. Only 14 of those were eventually accepted for the academy, reflecting a rigorous testing process.

If the same ratio holds for the next academy, the state will produce only five new wardens, well below attrition caused by low pay and retirement.

The state has lost 11 game wardens since June and is now down to 181 field-level wardens to cover the entire state. The Department of Fish and Game now has about 75 warden vacancies.