Since the early days of wildlife protection, the job of a Nevada game warden has grown to include public safety, boating enforcement, search and rescue, and every manner of police work. Game wardens are some of the few public servants working in Nevada’s far-flung places, and at the heart of their work, just as in any wildlife agency, is a never-ending mission to eliminate poaching.
With an ever-growing roster of duties, wildlife protection itself has changed in complexity over the past few decades.
The number of hunting seasons and big game hunts has more than tripled, and the number of people living in Nevada—
even accounting for a recent slowdown in growth—has exploded over the last twenty years. At the same time,
the number of game wardens dedicated to wildlife protection has grown very modestly. Nevada has 31 fulltime field game wardens and two reserve boating officers on Lake Tahoe. Of that number, roughly twenty wardens are primarily responsible for wildlife enforcement on land, only a slight increase from fifteen wardens thirty years ago.
“We do a great job with the resources we have,” said Paul Dankowski, Acting Chief Game Warden at NDOW. “To have twenty people patrolling a land mass that dwarfs many countries is an amazing feat.”