Behind the Badge
Becoming a Game Warden
District Game Warden Noah Raitz
In August of 2022, I started my career as a game warden. Initially, it felt like I had a long road ahead of me to get to where I am now.
I graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BS in fisheries and wildlife biology. Throughout my time in college, I gained experience working for the university, federal agencies, and our very own state agency as a fisheries technician in Devils Lake.
I attended college with the intent of becoming a game warden. On one of my first days of college, I was given a piece of paper with a list of questions about my career goals. It asked what kind of job I wanted after graduation and where I wanted to work. I knew exactly what my answer was. I received these same questions during my last year of college, and the answer had remained the same: to become a game warden.
I knew what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take to achieve it. I had heard from multiple people that the position can be hard to get, and it can take more than one try. I was willing to take my chances and not get discouraged.
After graduation, I started a seasonal position with a federal agency as a wildlife technician because, like any recent college graduate, I needed money and experience.
Within the first week of this job, I had to ask for a day off to drive to Bismarck and take the game warden entrance exam. Thankfully, my employer was understanding and wished me luck.
After the exam and follow-up interviews, I was offered the position and began the field training in August of 2022. Again, it felt as though I had a long road ahead of me to get into my assigned district. We covered a lot of information throughout field training, which also included attending the Law Enforcement Training Academy in Bismarck. My hunting and fishing background, paired with my college degree helped me tremendously throughout the process.
Once I finished field training, I relocated to my assigned district and started working on my own.
Fast forward to today, I am approaching one full year of working in my district.
When I think about my previous jobs, they had a similar trend in how the work changed, but it always focused on a specific task like data collection for fish or grouse. Now, my focus encompasses all the wildlife and habitat our state has to offer.
I may not be directly working to analyze grouse populations or fish abundance, but my field checks allow me to talk with hunters and anglers who are utilizing these resources. Interacting with the public during my short time as a game warden so far, whether it is listening to stories from that day or addressing a violation, has strengthened my passion for the outdoors.
My journey to becoming a game warden started a long time before I went to college. I didn’t know it when I was younger, but the time I spent outdoors with my family, whether it was hunting or fishing, was training me to become a game warden. My father was my first “field training officer” as he taught me how to hunt and fish the way we all should, by following the regulations.
So, as you introduce new people to hunting and fishing, encourage them to read the regulations and to reach out to a game warden with questions.