The federal government and state governments hire game wardens to enforce laws pertaining to animals, hunting, fishing and boating. Because game wardens work long hours outdoors, often in harsh conditions, they must be in top physical shape. Each government agency sets requirements for physical training and education. The Occupational Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a modest increase of only a few hundred additional jobs for game wardens by 2018. According to the Occupational Handbook, game wardens earned a median annual wage of $48,930 in 2010. In some states, game wardens are called wildlife officers or conservation officers.
Cooper Physical Fitness Test
Many states, including Florida, require completion of the Cooper Physical Fitness Test. The Cooper Institute's founder, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, an Air Force physician, designed a fit-for-duty test for judging physical readiness of military enlistees. Members of the institute continue to develop physical fitness tests for law enforcement officers, schoolchildren and others. The Cooper physical fitness test for game wardens consists of five parts: sit-ups, push-ups, jumping, running and sprinting while carrying a heavy object. These activities mirror actual job duties, such as running through rough terrain and dragging dead animals.
Individual State Requirements
Some states require completion of a physical fitness test similar to the Cooper Physical Fitness Test with additional requirements in a specific area. For example, potential game wardens in Texas must take a swimming test that consists of treading water for two minutes followed by swimming 100 meters in less than five minutes. New York state also tests swimming ability and retests game wardens throughout their term of employment. Many states do not post physical fitness requirements on their websites. For a complete list of state physical tests for game wardens in all 50 states, contact the individual state offices on the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association website.
Testing of federal law enforcement officers, including game wardens, consists of a five-part test called the Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB). This test includes a timed run of six laps around a one-quarter-mile track for a total of 1.5 miles, bench pressing in five-pound increments, a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility, and the Illinois Agility Test. The Illinois Agility Test tests the ability to change directions while running. In the final part of the Physical Efficiency Battery, calipers are placed on three points of the body to measure percentage of body fat.
Vision and Hearing Tests
The federal and state governments also test a potential game warden's vision and hearing.