Game WardenWhen you are out hunting or fishing and someone mentions game warden what comes to mind? Game wardens are sometimes often looked at in different ways among the outdoors community.I’m sure the answer would vary from person to person. However, I believe that most would have some preconceived ideas in their minds.Until recently, I had the wrong image of Game Wardens engraved in my head. I’m not totally sure how I came up with these ideas. Maybe it was hearing a few stories from other hunters, or maybe it was from personally knowing one who was a real hot headed in most situations. Maybe it was my own guilty conscience. Regardless of where they came from I believed these things to be true of all wardens.
Here is what I thought. (Please don’t judge me like I judged them).
1). All game wardens were inconsiderate: I thought that they had no regard for hunters and fisherman. I had been told stories of them ruining hunts or fishing trips. In my mind, a warden would plow through your duck decoys right at shooting time when the action was the heaviest. He would run his outboard right through your fishing area with no regard to you catching fish. I even thought that he would spook the deer by spending time roaming around the woods trying to make something up to write me a ticket.
2). Game Wardens had no real life: I guess I never saw Wardens as real people with real jobs. I never considered that they might have families. I thought they were machines who lived to write tickets and catch hunters doing something wrong.
3). Game wardens would try to find ways to make you guilty even when you were obviously innocent: I had made up my mind that if someone got checked by a warden, they were automatically getting a ticket for something. I had this idea that even if no crime had been committed that they would write a bogus ticket for attempting to do something wrong. Maybe they would say that they saw you try something wrong as they were looking through binoculars from a half mile away.
4). Most wardens were outlaws themselves when it came to hunting and fishing: I felt like they became Wardens so that they could gain access to good hunting spots and so that they wouldn’t have to worry about being caught doing something wrong themselves. They probably used the badge as a cover up.
Guess what my friends…. I was totally wrong. No doubt there are people with wrong motives in every profession. However, the picture I had in my head could not be further from the truth about most Game Wardens.
I recently had the chance to work side by side with several Texas Game Wardens. Patricia Vannoy is a Chambers County Game Warden who was heading up an event at the Mont Belvieu City Park. She contacted me to help with the event and I agreed. It was through this event, that was designed to reach out to young people and families in the community, that I began to realize just how wrong I had been.
In just one day here is what I discovered.All of the Game Wardens working the event were very considerate.They were not only considerate, they were also very patient, and kind. I watched one of them as he taught young people how to shoot a bow and arrow. He didn’t rush through. He took his time and was very encouraging. As I watched him get on his knees to help a young man learn to shoot, I could see the care and passion in his eyes. He loved archery and was gladly passing the sport to the next generation. He did this because he loved it.I saw Game Wardens patiently helping children learn to fish. If you have ever taught someone to fish then you know this takes patience.I watched as they helped children as well as adults in Kayaks. Making sure everyone was safe and having fun was top priority. It was a long day yet they worked tirelessly. I never heard one complaint or sly remark. No one seemed self serving but rather they all gave of themselves. From set up through cleanup they helped until the job was done.As I had the chance to visit with a GW, I began to realize that they were not unlike myself. They loved the outdoors and that’s why they did this for a living. They all had families and bills just like the rest of us. In fact if you spend much time getting to know a game warden you will realize that they have interests outside of their jobs as well. Some play golf, most hunt and fish, and they are normal people with real jobs. I even found out that many of them didn’t have as many places to hunt as I thought they did and some barely had the time. After all it must be tough to find a hunting partner. I mean you have to admit that most people would not choose to hunt with a game warden.I discovered that not only were they not outlaws, but they were more careful to follow the law than most. The reason is if, they got caught breaking Game laws it could be career ending. Not to mention it would be a bad example. These folks truly wanted to set a good example.As far as a GW trying to make up a reason for a ticket? Well I learned a few years ago that that wasn’t true. In fact I gave one a chance to write me a ticket and he gave me a warning instead. Don’t ask why because I’m not telling. However, I told him that it wouldn’t happen again and it hasn’t. ( if you are reading this Mr GW…. thanks! I learned my lesson.).In conclusion, I have decided that most Game Wardens are great people. They took the job to preserve and promote the future of hunting and fishing. They are truly here to serve. And for that I am grateful.However, their job is often a thankless job and it’s never easy. This is a crazy world we live in and most of the people they check in the woods and on the lakes have guns. That alone must be stressful. I can’t imagine getting a phone call at 2 am because someone heard a rifle shot.Game Wardens make an honest living but they aren’t getting rich. They do it because they love it. For this we should be thank them.I have had to change my way of thinking because I was incorrect. I offer my apologies. I hope this helps you to realize that the Game Wardens are the good guys. I encourage you to not only ” back the blue” but to back the tan, brown, and green as well. In fact I would ask that when you see a game warden, take the time to thank him or her for preserving the great outdoors and way of life that is so important to many of us.May God bless and protect our Game Wardens.