How to Become a Game Warden in Connecticut

Though there is demand for top-qualified applicants looking to secure a career with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, game warden positions are highly competitive and aren’t just being handed out.  The role is physically and mentally demanding - individuals at the state level may have a jurisdiction that matches the boundaries of their county, whereas federal employees may manage an even larger region of the state or a national preserve.

Job responsibilities are extremely varied and may include giving testimony for criminal or civil offenses, search and rescue, tracking data on fish, bird, and wildlife populations, and educating the public about conservation issues. Game wardens should, of course, enjoy the outdoors, and have a passion for protecting the public and our nation’s natural resources.

An applicant can expect to go through an extensive waiting period, apply to multiple agencies, and to be subject to an intensive interview process to ensure they are the best candidate for the job. This makes it all the more important to have a full understanding of the hiring process.  Read on to learn more about becoming a game warden in Connecticut.

Connecticut Game Warden Eligibility Requirements

The role of Game Warden has been greatly expanded in recent years in the state of Connecticut. Currently known as Environmental Conservation Police Officers in the state, game wardens have a strong sense of duty to protecting the state’s natural resources. Sometimes referred to as “EnCons,” they enforce hunting and fishing regulations, advocate for conservation, and check licenses. They also support local law enforcement units and Coast Guard operations addressing criminal activity within their jurisdictions.

In addition to extensive officer training, each Connecticut EnCon also enforces federal regulations through the National Marine Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Officers also promote and coordinate hunter education and firearm and boating safety, and collect and report population data for fish and wildlife in their native habitats. The challenging nature of the job means that candidates must be well-prepared. Listed below are the minimum qualifications needed to join the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as an EnCon.

Basic Job Qualifications To Become an Environmental Conservation Police Officer

Age: 21 years of age or older is required at the time of the start of training

Citizenship: Proof of U.S. Citizenship or naturalization documents are required License: A valid Connecticut-issued driver’s license is required.

Military Service: If formerly a member of the military, a discharge "Under Honorable Conditions" is required to apply for the role of Connecticut EnCon

Work Eligibility: New employees must present original documents that establish identity and eligibility for U.S. employment opportunities as per federal law – applicants must be eligible to accept employment in Connecticut before the process continues

Background and Legal History: Candidates should be aware that they are subject to a thorough background investigation in order to continue the application process. Qualifying elements include:

  • Never used, transported, or purchased an illegal controlled substance
  • Never illegally manufactured, transported, purchased, distributed, or sold a controlled substance
  • Not currently on court-ordered probation
  • Never convicted of a felony offense
  • Having no record of domestic violence.
  • Never discharged or resigned under threat of discharge from any law enforcement position

Academic Credentials: Completion of high school or GED is required. To become a full-fledged game warden with the DEEP, trainee candidates need to have three years of experience working as a law enforcement officer with the DEEP, two of which may be substituted year-for-year with any of the following college education subjects: Natural Resource Management, Recreation Management, Biology and Biological Sciences, Agriculture, or Law Enforcement. Previous sworn law enforcement experience or experience working with wildlife conservation, commercial shell fishing, forestry, farm management, or fish culture may be substituted year for year with two of the three years of experience as well.

Qualifying for DEEP EnCon Training

DEEP Training: Training begins with 818-hours of basic training at the state police academy. This segment of training includes:

  • Connecticut criminal law
  • Search and seizure
  • Firearms training
  • First responder medical assistance
  • Mechanisms of restraint and control
  • Physical fitness
  • Criminal investigations
  • Crime scene processing
  • Motor vehicle maneuvers

Game Warden Training: Following successful DEEP training, game warden specific training takes place over the following year and will cover:

  • Boating safety
  • Personal Watercraft Certification
  • National Marine Fisheries courses
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service courses
  • Examination of licenses, permits, and equipment
  • Winter observations
  • Lease agreements
  • Wildlife rescue
  • Hunting and trapping laws

Interview: Candidates will have a face-to-face panel interview during the later stages of the application process

Hearing: The applicant must be able to hear with or without hearing aids, including long distance, directional and voice conversation hearing.

Vision: The applicant must have vision with both eyes, with or without corrective lenses or contact lenses.

Physical Readiness: The applicant must successfully complete a physical readiness test showing that he or she is in ‘good physical shape’. Applicants must successfully complete each component of the physical readiness testing. Candidates must also know how to swim with competence.

Psychological Condition: The applicant must be in suitable psychological and emotional health to proceed with the hiring process.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications

  • Knowledge of current principles and practices of natural resources and wildlife enforcement in Connecticut
  • Knowledge of federal, state and local agency regulations, policies and procedures relating to game, hunting, fishing and natural resources
  • Computer spreadsheet, Microsoft Office, GIS, and database knowledge is required; the state uses proprietary programs as well to conduct business
  • Effective use oral and verbal communication
  • Effectively plan, organize, and direct a variety of activities and projects related to wildlife conservation and management
  • Establish and maintain effective interpersonal relationships
  • Effectively utilize boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs for patrol and pursuit
  • Effectively use firearms and train others on firearm usage and safety
  • Professional development or college courses in law enforcement, psychology, natural resource management, recreation management, biology, biological sciences, agriculture, and law enforcement
  • Knowledge of other languages an asset

Salaries for Environmental Conservation Police Officers in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Labor reported that the median salary among the state’s game wardens was $56,243 ($27.04 hourly) as of 2016. Experienced conservation police officers are paid salaries that put them within the top 10% of the profession, earning an average of $61,433 ($29.54 hourly), while those new to the profession earned an average of $45,698 ($21.97 hourly) that year.

Salaries for game wardens in Connecticut have been rising steadily, with the average pay increasing by more than 9% between 2011 and 2016.

Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127
Phone: (860) 424-3000

School Programs

ProgramPrograms Offered

Albertus Magnus College

700 Prospect St, New Haven, CT 06511-1189
Phone: (203) 773-8550
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Central Connecticut State University

1615 Stanley St, New Britain, CT 06050
Phone: (860) 832-2278
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Charter Oak State College

55 Paul Manafort Drive, New Britain, CT 06053
Phone: (860) 515-3800
  • Security and Protective Services

Connecticut College

270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320-4196
Phone: (860) 447-1911
  • Biology
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Ecology

Eastern Connecticut State University

83 Windham St, Willimantic, CT 06226
Phone: (860) 465-5000
  • Biology

Fairfield University

1073 N Benson Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824-5195
Phone: (203) 254-4000
  • Biology

Goodwin College

One Riverside Drive, East Hartford, CT 06118
Phone: (860) 528-4111
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Mitchell College

437 Pequot Avenue, New London, CT 06320
Phone: (860) 701-5000
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Quinnipiac University

Mt Carmel Ave, Hamden, CT 06518
Phone: (203) 582-8200
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Sacred Heart University

5151 Park Ave, Fairfield, CT 06825-1000
Phone: (203) 371-7999
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Southern Connecticut State University

501 Crescent Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1355
Phone: (203) 392-5200
  • Biology

Trinity College

300 Summit St, Hartford, CT 06106-3100
Phone: (860) 297-2000
  • Biology

University of Bridgeport

126 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604-5620
Phone: (203) 576-4000
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

University of Connecticut

352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269
Phone: (860) 486-2000
  • Natural Resources, Conservation
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Conservation Biology
  • Security and Protective Services

University of Hartford

200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 06117-1599
Phone: (860) 768-4100
  • Biology

University of New Haven

300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, CT 06516
Phone: (203) 932-7000
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

University of Saint Joseph

1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117
Phone: (860) 232-4571
  • Biology
  • Security and Protective Services

Wesleyan University

237 High St, Middletown, CT 06459
Phone: (860) 685-2000
  • Biology

Western Connecticut State University

181 White Street, Danbury, CT 06810-6826
Phone: (203) 837-8200
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Yale University

Woodbridge Hall, New Haven, CT 06520
Phone: (203) 432-4771
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Forestry
  • Biology