How to Become a Game Warden in Idaho

Game warden officer candidates in the state of Idaho face an extremely competitive hiring process at the state level with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the federal level with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  To meet job expectations, applicants are encouraged to demonstrate some knowledge of issues related to fish and wildlife conservation in the state.   Typically, a game warden's responsibilities will include patrolling their jurisdiction for poachers and other violators, while also monitoring fish and wildlife habitats for potential problems, and conducting search and rescue operations as needed.

Those willing to compete for game warden jobs in Idaho should expect to be placed in a pool of qualified applicants while openings become available.  Read on to discover how you can best prepare yourself for the game warden application process in Idaho.

Idaho Game Warden Eligibility Requirements

Idaho’s rugged terrain and outdoor habitats have long seen the need for regulation to preserve their usefulness and beauty. The state is proud of its progressive history of conservation enforcement under the watchful eye of Conservation Officers, formerly known as game wardens.

Since 1978, each Conservation Officer has been required to become a certified Peace Officer, which requires post-secondary education, motivation, a refined sense of justice and ethics, and a love for the outdoors. There are opportunities for qualified candidates to have a successful and satisfying career even in a competitive job market.

While their foremost commitment is to managing and enforcing fish and game regulations, as Peace Officers, they may be called upon to enforce any Idaho-state law. Officers also promote and coordinate classes on firearm, hunting and boating safety, as well as collect data on fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. This diverse set of duties means only the most qualified candidates are considered.

Listed below are the minimum qualifications needed to apply to become a Conservation Officer in the state of Idaho. Additional information as well as job postings are available through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website.

Idaho Conservation Officer Job Qualifications

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; proof of Idaho residency is also a requirement

License: A valid Idaho-issued driver’s license is required.

Military Service: If formerly a member of any branch of the United States military branches, a discharge "Under Honorable Conditions" is required

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 before the process continues.

Background and Legal History: Applicants must pass an intensive fingerprint background check in order to continue the application process to ensure that candidates have:

  • Never been convicted of domestic violence
  • Never possessed or traded a controlled substance
  • Are not currently on probation
  • Never been convicted of a felony offense

Academic Credentials: Must have completed a high school diploma or equivalent; have a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management or a similar field, and possess knowledge of fish and wildlife management practices

Additional Requirements

Meet POST Entrance Exam requirements

Interview: Candidates will have an oral interview to evaluate character, as well as relevant experience with senior officials

Medical evaluation: The candidate will be in ‘good’ medical health according to POST requirements

Hearing: The applicant must be able to hear without significant loss.

Vision: The preferred applicant will have good vision in both eyes and may use corrective lenses.

Physical Readiness Testing and POST Training

Physical Readiness: The preferred applicant must successfully complete POST’s physical readiness testing consisting of running, strength and swimming tests

Psychological Condition: The applicant must be in suitable psychological and emotional health as evaluated

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications

  • Demonstrate effective use of English the various aspects of business English, including reading, report creation, listening and oral communication.
  • Demonstrate effective use of mathematics including advanced arithmetic, basic accounting, estimating, and data collection
  • Demonstrate any additional languages used at a casual to professional level
  • Knowledge of current principles and practices of habitat resources, law enforcement and wildlife management
  • Automated spreadsheet, computer word processing, email, GIS, and database knowledge in a networked environment is required; the state uses proprietary programs for training and information delivery
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to follow the guidance of supervisors and adhere to department policy;
  • Ability to work as a member of a team.
  • Possessing good character

Salaries for Conservation Officers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, as of 2015 the state’s game wardens earned $47,260 ($22.72 an hour) on average, while those in the top 10% averaged $54,020 ($25.97 an hour).

Idaho’s Department of Human Resources reported on salaries for conservation officers with the Department of Fish and Game for fiscal year 2017. The minimum and maximum salary for each position is shown below:

  • Conservation Officer: $32,053 - $57,221
  • Conservation Officer, Senior: $40,518 - $72,363
  • Conservation Officer, District: $45,802 - $81,806
  • Conservation Officer, Regional: $50,600 - $90,375

Idaho Fish and Game

P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0066
Phone: (208) 334-2263

School Programs

ProgramPrograms Offered

Boise State University

1910 University Dr, Boise, ID 83725
Phone: (208) 426-1011
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Brigham Young University-Idaho

525 S Center, Rexburg, ID 83460-1690
Phone: (208) 496-1411
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology

College of Southern Idaho

315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, ID 83301
Phone: (208) 733-9554
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Forestry
  • Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

College of Western Idaho

5500 East Opportunity Drive, Nampa, ID 83687
Phone: (208) 562-3000
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Idaho State University

921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, ID 83209
Phone: (208) 282-2700
  • Biology
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Zoology and Animal Biology
  • Ecology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Lewis-Clark State College

500 8th Ave, Lewiston, ID 83501-2698
Phone: (208) 792-5272
  • Biology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Criminal Justice

North Idaho College

1000 West Garden Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814-2199
Phone: (208) 769-3300
  • Natural Resources, Conservation
  • Biology
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Zoology and Animal Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Northwest Nazarene University

623 S. University Blvd., Nampa, ID 83686-5897
Phone: (208) 467-8011
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

The College of Idaho

2112 Cleveland Blvd, Caldwell, ID 83605-4432
Phone: (208) 459-5011
  • Biology

University of Idaho

875 Perimeter Drive, Moscow, ID 83844-2282
Phone: (888) 884-3246
  • Natural Resources, Conservation
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism
  • Fishing and Fisheries Sciences and Management
  • Forest Sciences and Biology
  • Forest Resources Management
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Conservation Biology