MAINE, Maine — Is there anything more Maine than an old "North Woods Law" episode? A law enforcement show that followed around Maine Game Wardens featured the responsibilities and challenges Wardens have in our state.
Traditionally, the Wardens uphold and protect fishing and hunting laws but as the times change, so too does the day to day tasks of Maine's Game Wardens.
The number of recreational vehicles being used in the state has exploded in recent years. Now, game wardens spend their days making sure snowmobile, and ATVs are registered with the state.
Joe Bailey is a game warden that patrols in the Enfield area. In just a few hours he checked six snowmobile registrations and four fishing licenses, balancing the traditional and modern responsibilities of game wardens.
Every day, wardens deal with outdoorsmen who have to listen to their orders because they are certified law enforcement officers.
“The modern game warden has to do both things well, both the traditional and the modern," Bailey said. "Most of them realize that the job we’re doing is to help enhance those outdoor activities, those outdoor recreational activities and keep them safe as well.”
With all the new things to monitor and keep tabs on the number of game warden applicants is actually going down.
Lieutenant Dan Menard has been a Warden since 1993. His application class had almost 2,000 people apply to the Warden Service. After a two year layoff, the most recent hiring class saw just 33 applications.
The Warden Service is looking for applicants who have strong knowledge and experience with fishing and hunting.
“You don’t have to be an expert in anyone, but you need to bring that knowledge to the table because even though we have an extensive training schedule we don’t have time to teach a lot of these basic things," Menard said.
Game wardens will be hosting recruitment sessions at the start of next month, and are always open to having one on one informational meetings at any of the offices located around the state.
Nearly one-third of active wardens are nearing retirement, meaning this application cycle needs to fill those positions.
Menard added that a big part of the application process is the physical fitness test. He said almost 50% of applicants fail the test before the formal application process even begins.
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