A Day in the Life of a Warden

Every day is different - If you were to ask any warden “What is a typical day as a warden like?” you would most likely receive one of two answers; either ‘There is no such thing.’, or ‘It depends on the season’. Both are very true. The daily duties of a conservation warden change with the seasons, but even within those seasons a phone call or weather shift can drastically alter the day’s plan.

Wardens are responsible for -

  • Enforcing and investigating all DNR regulated activities including:
    • Hunting, fishing, trapping, snowmobiling, ATVing and boating
    • Timber theft, manure spills and environmental contamination
    • Illegally held wildlife and major recreational vehicle accidents
      • Responding to injured wildlife calls, natural disasters, emergencies and Governor’s requests
      • Attending, teaching or presenting at learn to hunt events, safety classes, outdoor sports expos and community meetings
      • Enforcing all state laws on DNR owned lands
      • Assisting other law enforcement agencies when requested

      On any given day wardens most likely will partake in several of those responsibilities. Wardens may be actively patrolling and making contacts with the public, investigating and following through with complaints or completing paperwork from previous cases.

      Setting your own schedule - Wardens are responsible for setting their own work schedule, which is why it is crucial that any potential candidate be self-motivated, responsible and able to prioritize. Wardens are scheduled to work at least every other weekend, the major hunting or fishing season openers, Thanksgiving Day and most summer holidays. Additionally, wardens are allowed a specified amount of overtime which they must manage throughout the year.

      Wardens can still hunt, fish, and recreate - Although work scheduling can make these activities more difficult, schedules are often flexible, allowing for more outdoor recreation on weekdays. Participating in the recreational activities that conservation wardens enforce is highly beneficial for wardens, as it keeps them up to speed on the latest tools and trends in outdoor recreation.

      Demanding Career - In a warden’s administrative area, there is no one else helping to cover the other hours in a week that the warden is off. A warden’s phone can ring 24 hours a day and wardens may need to respond day or night to emergencies such as fatalities or large spills entering the waterways or ‘after-hours’ complaints and violations. A warden’s schedule will likely involve overtime throughout the year.

      Curious to lean more? Speak with your local wardens or the conservation warden recruiter. One of the best ways to get a real feel for the job is to shadow a warden during a ride-along. To request a ride-along, contact your local conservation warden. You can find out who your local wardens are by visiting the DNR Staff Directory- Wisconsin DNR.


      For more information contact the Conservation Warden Recruiter: Jeffrey King
      Preparing to become a Conservation Warden | Hiring Process | The First Year of Training - What to Expect | A Day in the Life of a Warden | Benefits