Doug Leier, Published July 02 2013
Leier: Natural resource jobs are attainable, but you must be flexible
Truth is, I never wrote down on paper I wanted to be a private lands biologist in Stanley, N.D., a game warden in Bottineau, N.D., or an outreach biologist in West Fargo, but those have been the highlights of my career to this point.
I was, however, drawn to the general field of biology or natural resource management. But even if I had written down an exact place and position, there’s only a few dozen game wardens and four outreach biologists in North Dakota, so it’s doubtful I’d have predicted the future correctly even a few years down the road, let alone a few decades.
Even now, when asked by students, parents and others about the natural resources or conservation field, one of my first bits of advice is not to set goals too narrow. Don’t simply hold out for a job as a bighorn sheep biologist (there’s one) or an aquatic nuisance species biologist (one as well), or you’ll most likely be disappointed.
So I suggest anyone with an interest in a natural resource career be open-minded and flexible enough to take advantage of opportunities. Again speaking from experience, when I was hired as a game warden there were well over 100 applicants for one position.
While those odds were a bit depressing, I also knew someone had to be the one, and I sure understood the odds were zero if I didn’t even apply and take the exam. So here’s an opportunity for all interested.
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., July 15, at the department’s main office in Bismarck.
Applicants must register to take the exam by submitting a letter of intent to chief game warden Robert Timian at the Bismarck headquarters by 5 p.m. July 12.
You might be surprised how open the department is to accepting applicants with these requirements:
E Must be least 21 years of age.
E Have a bachelor’s degree.
E Current North Dakota peace officer license, or eligibility for a license.
E Valid driver’s license.
E Must not have a record of any felony convictions.
Yes, a degree in biology or background and understanding of criminal justice is advantageous, but it’s not required to start the process. Excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing helps as well.
There is no cookie-cutter formula for becoming a game warden. The best advice I can give is if you’ve ever thought about it, or you know someone who has ever thought about it, now is the time to move the thoughts into action.
If you’re not sure what the actual job duty requires, pick up the phone and call or visit with one of the state game wardens. Essentially, in words game wardens enforce North Dakota’s game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district.
In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.
Selection procedures following the test may include an evaluation of the application, a structured oral interview, background and reference checks, and psychological and medical examinations.
There’s no guarantee to anyone taking the first step in the process, but it is certain that without taking a chance on that first step, you’ll never know where the career path could have taken you.
Visit the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov for more information.
Leier is a former game warden and currently a biologist for the Game and Fish Department. He can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org