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Missouri’s game wardens work for the state’s Department of Conservation and are known as conservation agents. These agents are responsible for both enforcing the law and managing the state’s resources.
Missouri has a tremendous amount of natural resources ranging from popular lakes such as the 55,000-mile Lake of the Ozarks to the Ozark Mountains. More than 14 million acres of forests are located in Missouri, and the state contains 86 border and inland rivers.
While these resources draw hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers alike, they also draw more nefarious people such as poachers. Missouri’s conservation agents enforce wildlife laws, testify in court, perform search and rescue operations as needed, collect data on wildlife, fish, and bird populations, and educate the public about conservation issues.
This suite of responsibilities requires individuals with a broad range of skills who are adept at handling pressure. While the job of a conservation agent is highly demanding, it is also a career sought by many people. Therefore, competition is fierce.
Applicants who seek to join the ranks of Missouri’s conservation agents will have the best chance of being hired if they are highly familiar with the requirements for these positions. Read on to learn more about becoming a game warden in Missouri.
Missouri Game Warden Eligibility Requirements
Men and women who are well suited to becoming conservation agents in Missouri share two traits. One is a love of outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and hiking, while the other is a strong sense of duty when it comes to the conservation of Missouri’s wilderness.
The primary job of these agents is to manage fish and game regulations and apprehend poachers, but being a conservation agent has a wide range of facets. These professionals help facilitate the acquisition of public lands, educate the public on hunting and fishing information, and help during crises or rescue situations.
The diversity of roles of a conservation agent in Missouri means that applicants must have a diverse skill set and be prepared to face stiff competition during the application process. Shown below are the minimum qualifications needed to become a Missouri conservation agent.
Basic Job Qualifications for the Missouri Department of Conservation
The Missouri Department of Conservation website offers information on training, volunteer opportunities, and job positions. Eligibility criteria include:
Age: 21 years of age or older at the time of appointment
Citizenship: Proof of U.S. Citizenship, resident alien status, or naturalization documents are required. Proof of Missouri residency is required.
License: A valid Missouri-issued driver’s license is required.
Military Service: Veterans must have been discharged "Under Honorable Conditions"
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 with polygraph in order to continue the application process. This is to ensure that candidates have:
- No addictions to drugs or alcohol; candidates will be subject to mandatory drug screening.
- Good moral character
- Never been discharged or resigned under threat of discharge from any law enforcement position
- Not been currently placed on court-ordered probation
- Not been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral laxity
- Never been convicted of a felony offense
- Never been convicted of a crime of domestic violence, misdemeanor or otherwise
- Never been convicted of perjury or false statement
Academic Credentials: Completion of high school or GED is required; Applicants for game warden jobs in Missouri must have a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in natural sciences, law enforcement or criminal justice.
- Certification as a law enforcement officer by the Missouri Law Enforcement Training Commission while an employee is on ‘conditional’ status
- Online employment application
- Written skills test, focusing on professional English, report writing and mathematics
Meeting the Peace Officer Training Requirements
- Applicants must complete a 26-week course consisting of basic police officer training in firearms, defensive tactics, search and seizure, and arrest.
- Successful trainees will complete 1,000 hours of licensed law enforcement training.
- Drug Identification
- Hazardous Devices
- ASP (Expandable Baton)
- ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) Patrol
- 4-wheel Operations
- Reptile Identification
- Media Relations
- Land Navigation
- Daily fitness training
- Equipment maintenance and operation
- Officer safety
16 weeks of practical training for the role, aided by primary and secondary Field Training Officers
Fish and Wildlife Training
Conducted in Columbia
Conducted in Licking
Water safety Training
Conducted in Lake of the Ozarks
Interview: Candidates will have a formal panel interview with senior officers and human resources personnel to evaluate experience, knowledge, and demeanor.
Medical evaluation: The candidate will be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure that he or she is in satisfactory health.
Hearing: The applicant must be able to demonstrate good hearing with or without hearing aids
Vision: The applicant must have good corrected or uncorrected binocular vision, and have color vision consistent with the demands of the job.
Physical Readiness Testing: The applicant must successfully complete a physical readiness test showing that he or she is able to complete performance as shown below:
- Run constantly for over two minutes
- Run up and down stairs
- Bend and twist
- Dodge obstacles
- Crawl under obstacles
- Jump/vault over obstacles
- Climb fences
- Lift/carry, drag human victims
- Remove a large dead animal from the roadway
- Remove injured persons from motor vehicles or buildings
- Enter and exit all sorts of land vehicles and watercraft
- Know self-defense tactics
Psychological Condition: The applicant must be in suitable psychological and emotional health according to medical criteria
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications
- Demonstrate effective use of English including both written and oral formats.
- Use mathematics including advanced arithmetic, basic accounting, estimating, and data collection
- Bilingualism is an asset.
- Knowledge of current principles and practices of habitat resources, law enforcement and wildlife management
- Computer spreadsheet, word processing, email, GIS, and database knowledge in a networked environment is required; the state uses proprietary programs for training and information delivery
- Establish and maintain effective interpersonal relationships within and outside of the department
- Remain committed to professional development
- Effectively operate and negotiate a 4-wheel drive vehicle on rugged terrain
- Effectively utilize boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs for patrol and pursuit
- Demonstrate competent firearm usage and willingness to train others on their use and safety.
- Professional development or college courses in psychology, law enforcement, sociology, or natural resources management
Conservation Agent Salaries
The Missouri Department of Conservation employs the state’s game wardens who work in a law enforcement capacity as conservation agents. This agency reported that the average salary for a conservation agent was $45,922 during the fiscal year 2016. This equates to an hourly wage of $22.08. Conservation agent trainees earned an average salary of $36,084 or $17.35 an hour.
The state of Missouri offers a comprehensive benefits package to supplement the income of employees within the Department of Conservation. The list of benefits includes:
- Life insurance and other types of insurance
- Paid holidays, vacation, and sick leave
- Health insurance
- Deferred compensation
- State retirement plan
- Access to the state’s credit union
- Tuition reimbursement
- Employee assistance program
Salaries were calculated by finding the average from the total payroll expenditure for fiscal year 2016 based on the total number of employees working for the Department that year.
Missouri Department of Conservation
2901 W. Truman Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Phone: (573 )751-4115
11901 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64145-1698
Phone: (816) 942-8400
Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies
411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette, MO 65248-1198
Phone: (660) 248-6392
Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette, MO 65248-1198
Phone: (660) 248-3391
College of the Ozarks
100 Opportunity Avenue, Point Lookout, MO 65726-0017
Phone: (417) 334-6411
1001 Rogers Street, Columbia, MO 65216
Phone: (573) 875-8700
One College Hill, Canton, MO 63435-1299
Phone: (573) 288-6000
900 N.Benton, Springfield, MO 65802-3791
Phone: (417) 873-7879
1111 N Glenstone, Springfield, MO 65802-2125
Phone: (417) 865-2811
6800 Wydown Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63105-3098
Phone: (314) 862-3456
2800 Palmyra Rd, Hannibal, MO 63401-1999
Phone: (573) 221-3675
Harris-Stowe State University
3026 Laclede Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63103-2136
Phone: (314) 340-3366
1000 Viking Drive, Hillsboro, MO 63050-2440
Phone: (636) 797-3000
820 Chestnut Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone: (573) 681-5000
209 S Kingshighway, Saint Charles, MO 63301-1695
Phone: (636) 949-2000
1851 Schoettler Rd, Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone: (636) 227-2100
Maryville University of Saint Louis
650 Maryville University Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63141-7299
Phone: (800) 627-9855
Missouri Baptist University
One College Park Dr, Saint Louis, MO 63141-8698
Phone: (877) 434-1115
Missouri Southern State University
3950 E. Newman Road, Joplin, MO 64801-1595
Phone: (417) 625-9300
Missouri State University-Springfield
901 S National, Springfield, MO 65897
Phone: (417) 836-5000
Missouri University of Science and Technology
1870 Miner Circle, Rolla, MO 65409
Phone: (573) 341-4111
Missouri Valley College
500 E College St, Marshall, MO 65340
Phone: (660) 831-4000
Missouri Western State University
4525 Downs Dr, Saint Joseph, MO 64507
Phone: (816) 271-4200
Moberly Area Community College
101 College Ave, Moberly, MO 65270-1304
Phone: (660) 263-4110 x11208
Northwest Missouri State University
800 University Drive, Maryville, MO 64468-6001
Phone: (660) 562-1212
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 E. Chestnut Expressway, Springfield, MO 65802
Phone: (417) 447-7500
8700 NW River Park Dr, Parkville, MO 64152-3795
Phone: (816) 741-2000
1100 Rockhurst Rd, Kansas City, MO 64110-2561
Phone: (816) 501-4000
Saint Louis University
One North Grand Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63103-2097
Phone: (314) 977-2222
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza, MS4675, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Phone: (573) 651-2000
Southwest Baptist University
1600 University Ave, Bolivar, MO 65613-2596
Phone: (800) 526-5859
1200 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65215
Phone: (573) 442-2211
Truman State University
100 E Normal, Kirksville, MO 63501-4221
Phone: (660) 785-4000
University of Central Missouri
202 Administration Building, Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: (660) 543-4111
University of Missouri-Columbia
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-2121
University of Missouri-Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO 64110
Phone: (816) 235-1000
University of Missouri-St Louis
One University Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63121-4400
Phone: (314) 516-5000
Washington University in St Louis
One Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899
Phone: (314) 935-5000
470 E Lockwood Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63119-3194
Phone: (314) 961-2660
501 Westminster Ave, Fulton, MO 65251-1299
Phone: (573) 642-3361
William Jewell College
500 College Hill, Liberty, MO 64068-1896
Phone: (816) 415-5979
William Woods University
One University Avenue, Fulton, MO 65251-1098
Phone: (573) 642-2251 x2251
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