Exploring a Career as a Wildlife Conservation Officer – Part 2

This blog post is the second of a three part series, written by Luke, a three year veteran of the Academy, who attended PA Bucktails as a student and Assistant Team Leader and PA Drummers as an Assistant Team Leader.  He was asked to write a paper about a potential career choice, and decided to explore the aspects of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer.

Luke and his team work on plant pressing at PA Drummers.
Luke and his team work on plant pressing at PA Drummers.

Throughout many experiences in the outdoors and talking with quite a few professionals I have realized that I would like to become a Wildlife Conservation Officer. It is a job that I have thought to be interesting and something I could see myself doing. This job has interesting aspect about it that I just think would be so fun and enjoyable to do as an adult. Everything about being a Wildlife Conservation Officer sounds so intriguing and amazing. These men and women are somewhat overlooked and need to be recognized for their service to our wildlife and forests. The job of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer is great for someone who loves the outdoors, cares about conservation, and is interested in criminal justice.

As a Wildlife Conservation Officer, the person has to really enjoy the outdoors and being in the wilderness. The primary goal is to stop poaching or at least slow down the number of poaching kills. To begin with, if the Wildlife Conservation Officers do not try to stop the illegal activity of poaching there will be no animals for the ethical hunters who are hunting properly. Also, they regularly walk through the woods to try to find traces of a poacher and follow leads on poaching. To add, wildlife Conservation Officers work in natural parks and game preserves and they check licenses for proper usage. An example of this would be during hunting season to make sure each hunter has the proper licensing and is hunting the right species in the correct season. These police officers of the woods need to be aware because of the ever present wildlife and people. Additionally,  people can be armed with a gun or knife because they just finished or are hunting. We need these men and women to protect our natural resources, so to make sure they are safe, the Wildlife Conservation Officers are issued a gun and a knife for self-protection. The Officers patrol back roads, rivers, and hiking trails. The Wildlife Conservation Officer is essentially a police officer but protects wildlife, fish, and other resources instead of just people. Undoubtedly, all of these points culminate into one main theme and that is the love and interest in the outdoors that a person needs to possess to be a Wildlife Conservation Officer.

“In order to be a Wildlife Conservation Officer,

one has to show that they care about conservation.”

The Wildlife Conservation Officer does a lot of work dealing with restoring conservation and making sure conservation rules are followed. A Wildlife Conservation Officer checks fishing licenses so that lakes and rivers do not get overfished. These men and women work with the community and visit schools to talk about endangered species. It is recommended to take biology or wildlife conservation in college to understand some laws and tactics of conservation.

A Wildlife Conservation Officer also deals with a lot of criminal justice so to be one a person would have to be interested in criminal justice. This career again is basically a police officer but with some differences. As a Wildlife Conservation Officer someone would track down illegal importations and exportations of federally protected fish and wildlife. Also someone would arrest or ticket illegal hunters or fisherman for hunting out of season or the illegal taking of fish or game out of season. There are also forensic investigations conducted in the case of a murder or a poaching kill. The uniform of a Wildlife Conservation Officer looks similar to that of a police officer just a different color. Just like a police officer, a WCO wears a uniform with badges and patches. Another parallel is that as a Wildlife Conservation Officer someone would carry a gun and a knife for protection from angry individuals and charging wildlife. A WCO also drives issued trucks, atv’s, or even fly a helicopter if needed for a search or patrolling. Obviously, criminal justice is a big part of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer so you have to want to be in the criminal justice field.

In conclusion, the job of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer is great for someone who loves the outdoors, cares about conservation, and is interested in criminal justice. Being a Wildlife Conservation Officer is a job that revolves around conservation and the outdoors. In a sense these men and women are put in this position so that all outdoorsmen and women and the public can enjoy the wildlife and fish that inhabit our country. These people are the only protection the animals have, so the job really is great for our ecosystem so that it can function properly. These dedicated men and women make hunters and fisherman ethically hunt and fish so there is opportunity for all.