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hubba20
08-07-2012, 03:18 PM
So maybe this is a little bit of a different question, but I am 20 years old and I am just thinking about what I want to do in this life for a career ha. Im really into the outdoors and I have thought a little bit about getting some type of job for Fish and Wildlife Services or BLM or something like that... Im not too familiar about the jobs that are out there, but maybe you guys can help me out...
What are some of the jobs that I could look into?
What kind of schooling would I need to get for that career (I am still planning on being in college for at least 3 more years)?
What are some things that a wildlife biologist does?

I just really enjoy being in the outdoors a lot so it would only make sense to get a job where I can spend time outside, right? If I have to have a "desk job" for 30 years I might go crazy ha.

Any ideas??
Thanks!

PS: I not looking for a "tree hugger" job where I have to go out and count how many blades of grass there are in an area ha... just keep that in mind ;) haha

beav906
08-07-2012, 03:56 PM
Forrester, rangeland management. Get on USAjobs.gov and see what you can find. BLM, forest service, USDA. All sorts and they tell you what you need

Colorado Cowboy
08-07-2012, 04:58 PM
Many years ago I wanted to do exactly what you are talking about. I picked a college that had an excellent Wildlife /Fisheries Management Program (Humboldt State in Eureka, Ca). I was a pretty good football player and had a number of scholorship offers, H.S.C not among them, as they didn't offer football scholorships at all. I chose another school in southern California (now that rings a bell!) and got a degree in Business. Went on to get an MBA and another degree in Production Engineering. Worked 40 years in aerospace...great career and got paid lots of $$$.

But did not allow me to work out of doors and in what I really wanted to do. I guess I traded that for another career and money! Go to the best school you can afford and follow your heart. Talk to the people in the field you are interested and find out what it really is like. The main thing is get your degree!!!

Old Hunter
08-07-2012, 05:00 PM
If I had a chance to do my life over again i'd be a warden. Not a bad choice for you if you love the outdoors. You'll need a college degree for the job, so you're headed in the right direction. I'd pick a state, and talk to the DOW about what you need to do.

Kevin Root
08-07-2012, 05:27 PM
Like Colorado Cowboy, Old Hunter and beav906 have mentioned get a degree or the schooling you require towards something you want to be. Hopefully it will be something you are passionate about, and then stick with it until you get there.

If I had it to do over again, I'd have stuck to my first plan and have gone to Humboldt State here in CA to be a wildlife biologist or game warden. Instead I changed my mind, went to Fresno State and worked towards a business degree. I have a good career and things worked out well enough but sometimes wish I could or would have stuck to plan number one longer.

“Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.” ~ Brian Tracy

hoshour
08-07-2012, 07:36 PM
I would call a biologist, a warden and someone who works for the Forest Service and tell them you would like for them to fill you in candidly about their job. I think many of them would take time to talk to you and maybe let you tag along for a half day in the field. The wardens and biologists I have talked to about areas I was going to hunt DIY as a nonresident were very likeable and very helpful. I will say that the biologists I have talked to spend a lot more time at a desk than you would think.

BTW, our wedding announcement from almost 38 years ago listed that I was going into forestry. Like CO Cowboy, I ended up in business, got an MBA and a seminary degree but never worked in forestry or for the Game and Fish. Like most people, I have wondered sometimes what life would have been like had I taken one of the other forks. Who knows?

As a Christian, I always pray for the Lord to direct me in his will and trust that He does. As a married man, I have learned to really value my wife's input. Many times she has seen what I miss. Maybe a close friend can do that for you.

My advice - get lots of information from people who work in those fields and follow your gut.

GameSlayer
08-08-2012, 08:50 AM
I have been working as a fish biologist for the last 6 years. It has been both fun and adventurous as well as boring and monotonous. I have worked for the Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife, and a tribal government. It definitely gets you outside a lot, but I think most people don't realize how much work that has to be done in the office. Yes your first couple years you will be out in the field, but the further you move up the ladder the more you get stuck in the office.
I think the game warden route is the best for staying in the field most of the time, but for this job you have to be willing to work alone most of the time.
If you do want to work in natural resources, be it fish, wildlife, forestry or whatever I think you ultimately have to care alot about the resource.
If you are looking for schools the University of Idaho is top notch for natural resources.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to discourage you. But I am trying a career change myself..

wapiti66
08-08-2012, 11:59 AM
I got a buddy that graduated from a ranger school in Co. Wants to be a warden but is struggling to find a job he wants. He says they do a lot of seasonal hirings so he hopes for some jobs to come up in the fall or next spring. He also says he may have to go the Police route for a while to use the degree, but isn't exactly his preference. I've always been interested in the forest fire fighters, but haven't pursued it yet. I too got a business degree but wonder about the "mountain" jobs.

Fink
08-08-2012, 12:17 PM
I'd echo most of the statements above.. I'd always considered going into the field you are considering, but I was afraid it wouldn't let me pursue other dreams I had.. In the end, I graduated with degrees in business and Insurance & risk management, and I'd like to think that I'm still an expert at the outdoors as well.. I think it's important to have balance in life, and to keep your hobbies your hobbies.. Don't mix business with pleasure, if you will..

The most important thing is to get your degree, and go from there.. You can't go to work hating what you do every day, but at the same time, your job has got to be able to make ends meet.

Also, regarding going crazy at your desk job... I always felt the same way when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do when I grow up... Looking at it now though, It's a comfy 72 degrees in here, and about 102 outside. I also appreciate the outdoors much much more now than I did 5-10 years ago.

dihardhunter
08-08-2012, 12:53 PM
I'm at the tail end of doctorate research project at Auburn University in Wildlife Sciences (got my B.S. and M.S. in same field at NC State), so I'm currently dealing with a very saturated job market even at that end of the spectrum. I've got more friends than I count on my fingers and toes with a 4 year degree and struggling to find a job that even pays $30,000 full-time. I'd think long and hard before counting on making a career in natural resources and if you do proceed with that career path know that an advanced degree is almost a MUST to be competitive for even entry-level biologist jobs. 4-year guys are grunts on burn crews, bush hog tractors, and picking invasive weeds off mountain sides right now. Bottom line is that the 4-year degree job applicant is growing at a rate exponentially greater than the job market can support and has been for some time now. Sorry to be a downer, but that is the harsh reality of the budget cuts that have hit the field often and hard over the last decade.

Old Hunter
08-08-2012, 02:56 PM
I'm at the tail end of doctorate research project at Auburn University in Wildlife Sciences (got my B.S. and M.S. in same field at NC State), so I'm currently dealing with a very saturated job market even at that end of the spectrum. I've got more friends than I count on my fingers and toes with a 4 year degree and struggling to find a job that even pays $30,000 full-time. I'd think long and hard before counting on making a career in natural resources and if you do proceed with that career path know that an advanced degree is almost a MUST to be competitive for even entry-level biologist jobs. 4-year guys are grunts on burn crews, bush hog tractors, and picking invasive weeds off mountain sides right now. Bottom line is that the 4-year degree job applicant is growing at a rate exponentially greater than the job market can support and has been for some time now. Sorry to be a downer, but that is the harsh reality of the budget cuts that have hit the field often and hard over the last decade.

Is that for your area, or everywhere?

ivorytip
08-08-2012, 05:38 PM
become a guide man!!

velvetfvr
08-08-2012, 06:22 PM
I am only 15 but I want to be a game warden or work for a department of wildlife or something like that.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Jerry
08-08-2012, 06:35 PM
There are alternate type jobs out there. Something like a field agent for Boone & Crockett, working for a guide/outfitter, etc. You probably won't get rich but it's one way to stay in the outdoors!

trkytrack2
08-08-2012, 11:02 PM
Get your degree in wildlife biology, etc. One thing you will need to understand.....entry level pay is very poor in any government positions. If you decide to pursue a career as a game warden, remember this....a game warden is on call just about 24/7 during the hunting seasons. If you love to hunt, you can just about kiss that goodby. Whatever you decide, get your degree first. Good luck in your endeavors.

Murdy
08-09-2012, 06:18 AM
It's a dream a lot of us have (or have had), so, like dihardhunter says, things are competitive and you have to make yourself stand out. It's been 20+ years since I thought about it, but I and some friends all looked into it at different times (when I was interested, I was in northern Wisconsin, can't say for sure if things are/were the same everywhere, but I suspect that jobs like this generally attract a lot of interest). If you are looking at government work, serving in the military might give you a bit of an advantage during the hiring process (certainly with the feds, and probably with most states).

dihardhunter
08-09-2012, 07:54 AM
There are 10 jobs out West to every 1 job in the East. Problem is they are all still drawing 50-100 applicants and pay usually breaks down to $9-13/hour. Not hardly enough to support a family. Check out the following website managed by Texas A&M Wildlife. It lists pretty much every natural resources job that comes available across the nation. There is a little bit of everything.

http://wfscjobs.tamu.edu/job-board/

For me personally, it was a blessing in disguise that I got sucked into a PhD program because I honestly think I would be making diddly squat doing technician work with a Master's degree in today's economy. Instead, I'm making just about the same off a research stipend/grant and hopefully position myself to 'stand out' as Murdy says above. At this point, I'm looking to be a professor/researcher at a land grant university, but I'm still looking at another couple years of Post Doctorate work after my dissertation is finished in the spring. Eeshh!!!

Big Sky
08-09-2012, 09:08 AM
I ended up going the oppsite direction. I was in your situation not to long ago. I love the outdoors and said that there is no way that I would have a desk job. After my first year in college I realized that this working 12 hour days and every weekend not only cut into my free time but was going to make a old man out of me real fast. I decided a little bit of a more of a desk job wasnt all that bad. I now have every weekend off, get three weeks time off and have enough money to be able to do the things that I enjoy on my time off.

I am not trying to change you mind but just saying the direction that I went.

Old Hunter
08-09-2012, 09:15 AM
I ended up going the oppsite direction. I was in your situation not to long ago. I love the outdoors and said that there is no way that I would have a desk job. After my first year in college I realized that this working 12 hour days and every weekend not only cut into my free time but was going to make a old man out of me real fast. I decided a little bit of a more of a desk job wasnt all that bad. I now have every weekend off, get three weeks time off and have enough money to be able to do the things that I enjoy on my time off.

I am not trying to change you mind but just saying the direction that I went.

I don't follow you? Are you saying wardens work 12 hours a day 7 days a week? The one I know has pretty normal hours.

Even with all the negative comments about being a warden. I would have loved to do it, but I would have been going into it in the 60's. I wouldn't want to be young the way things are now.

Brady
08-09-2012, 10:13 AM
I too used to want a career in the outdoors. I thought it made sense to work in the outdoors since that was my passion. I then started thinking about who I would be working for, hours, temperature of job environment, compensation etc and I started thinking that it wouldn't be for me. I'll admit, the largest factor was the $$$, it's harder to raise a family on $40K/year when you can work elsewhere and make double or triple that. The other biggest factor was that I love the outdoors and I didn't want to get burned out on it which is a very real possibility.

I even took a semester off of college when I was 20 and filmed for a hunting show called Fair Game TV, it was on Versus '08 and '09, and that really opened my eyes to the outfitter/guide end of the business. We traveled all over, from British Columbia, New Mexico, Old Mexico, Kansas, tip to tip of Texas, and New Zealand. It was fun, learned a ton, but didn't make any money. I wouldn't trade that experience for the world but I'm not sure I would want to do it as a career. I was not home for 4 months and temporarily lost touch with friends and family, that part wasn't too cool.

All that to say, try working in the outdoors and see if it works for you, if not, change careers and you'll never have the "what if" thought in the back of your mind.

Here's a thought though, you could guide big game hunts in the Rockies Sept- end of Oct, then do deer hunts somewhere Nov-mid Jan, then move to the southern hemisphere (New Zealand or Argentina) and guide hunts down there from March to July. Maybe pick up some fishing guiding in there somewhere too. While working for Fair Game, I spent 6 weeks with an outfitter in south Tx doing deer hunts, some of his guides were trout/redfish guides on the Tx coast for 9 months a year and guided deer hunts Oct-Jan. Most outfitters are always looking to hire good guides.

The good thing is you have options, options, options! For sure get your degree first though, you'll never regret it. I went back to school after Fair Game and got my Petroleum Engineering degree from Texas Tech Univ, great career for me personally.

Sorry for such a long post, good luck bud!

dihardhunter
08-09-2012, 10:21 AM
I wish all guys and gals entering 4 year wildlife degree programs could get half the advice we are throwing out on this thread. So many people say "I love to hunt" and instantly throw themselves into a 4 year tail spin when they wake up and find out they can't support themselves unless they are in that top 5-10% cream of the crop. Great advice everybody!

bern0134
08-12-2012, 08:32 PM
I'd have to agree with what dihardhunter has to say. Getting a 4 yr degree keeps you making technician wages. And if you want to contribute more who ever you work for may always just consider you as a technician (my experience) and so your opinion might not matter. . So now I am working towards wrapping up my master's degree. However, departments like the US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service have programs called "Student Temporary Employment Terms" or "Student Career Employment Positions" in which they are basically paid internships and gain experience while getting a Bachelor's degree. Its one way to get your foot in the door for working for such departments.
I'm looking at getting a PhD in the future. I've found what I enjoy the most and that's wildlife research. Dihardhunter- keep in mind that although pickings seem slim now, hopefully sooner or later, positions will open because professors and researchers have to retire sometime. I look forward to reading some of work in the future in JWM.

norcalhunter
08-12-2012, 11:52 PM
I changed careers at age 37 and thought of being a game warden. The problem is their busy season is hunting season. The same would hold true as a guide. These professions are good if you don't want to hunt yourself. I ended up being a park ranger because the busy season is May-Sep. I can take off in Oct and Nov and nobody cares. It works out perfect except for the pay.

Drhorsepower
08-12-2012, 11:59 PM
my dad always told me to pick a job I didn't like but pays well, that way you enjoy your time off more... It is good in theory I guess, I am lucky though, I have a job I love and get time off! I did wild land fire for 3 years, great job except it is during drag racing season and no time off although you get most of the hunting season off.

Ikic has the schedule for work/hunting figured out though ;)

Old Hunter
08-13-2012, 08:11 AM
I changed careers at age 37 and thought of being a game warden. The problem is their busy season is hunting season. The same would hold true as a guide. These professions are good if you don't want to hunt yourself. I ended up being a park ranger because the busy season is May-Sep. I can take off in Oct and Nov and nobody cares. It works out perfect except for the pay.

I know the warden in my unit. He always gets away for a hunt. Most people think they can get tags easily, but they need to go through the draw like everybody else. At least that what he says. :)

Colorado Cowboy
08-13-2012, 08:28 AM
When I first started college, I played football and was on a scholorship. I really thought I'd like to coach, bad choice! Have to work all fall with not much opportunity to hunt.

dihardhunter
08-13-2012, 08:29 AM
'bern' - where you going to school and what's your project focus?

hubba20
08-13-2012, 09:22 AM
Thanks for all of the input everyone! There is a lot of stuff to think about now ha... Im still thinking of being something like a wilfelife biologist or something along those lines, but i have heard on other forums that "you shouldnt make your hobby your job cuz after awhile you`ll hate your hobby." and i think that is mainly true... i know people who have wanted to be a guide and do that, and then after a few years they hate it and are sick of baby sitting people... im starting to think about going down the city fireman route, or maybe getting a PhD and going into the medical field or something like that. City firemen have a lot of time of too hunt, and so does the medical field. I realize to get into the medical field, it requires many more years of studying, but it will pay off in the future...
What do you guys think? would you agree with me? or am i up in the night ha?

labman
08-13-2012, 09:29 AM
I think you'll find everybody on this forum loves the outdoors and works to hunt. I agree with everybody else get your degrees Masters at least and find your working passion. I went the entrepreneurial route because my Dad always told me you can not fire yourself. I have busted my butt and now I can take the time I need to hunt and take vacations with my family. Finding that balance between life and your hobbies/passions is the most difficult challenge you will face especially when you have a family. Good luck on your journey and always keep an open mind!!

Old Hunter
08-13-2012, 09:38 AM
Thanks for all of the input everyone! There is a lot of stuff to think about now ha... Im still thinking of being something like a wilfelife biologist or something along those lines, but i have heard on other forums that "you shouldnt make your hobby your job cuz after awhile you`ll hate your hobby." and i think that is mainly true... i know people who have wanted to be a guide and do that, and then after a few years they hate it and are sick of baby sitting people... im starting to think about going down the city fireman route, or maybe getting a PhD and going into the medical field or something like that. City firemen have a lot of time of too hunt, and so does the medical field. I realize to get into the medical field, it requires many more years of studying, but it will pay off in the future...
What do you guys think? would you agree with me? or am i up in the night ha?

It depends on how much you really like the outdoors. I haven't got sick of it in 69 years, so any job that kept me outdoors would never get old.

What I got tired of was loving the outdoors, and working indoors. I started life as an auto mechanic. I did it for 10years, and hated being cooped up. I switched to being a truck driver. Not ideal, but at least I was outside. If I had started as a warden. My life would have been happier.
I've been retired now for 10 years. I spend at least 325 days a year in the mountains. I guess I like it.

Drhorsepower
08-13-2012, 09:56 AM
Being a city fireman is a great career! And you will be up at night!

hubba20
08-13-2012, 10:02 AM
is that a bad thing to be up at night? lol

Drhorsepower
08-13-2012, 10:21 AM
is that a bad thing to be up at night? lol

It can get old, believe me.

AKaviator
08-13-2012, 02:02 PM
I would suggest that you look at some of the state wildlife agencies. I worked as a wildlife trooper in Alaska for 20 years and found it to be a fun and rewarding career. Many states require a degree in a related field, Alaska does not at this time. It helps to have one though. Also, make yourself employable by obtaining anything that could set you apart from another applicant; pilot's license, Coast Guard license, etc. and stay away from any legal troubles.
Prayers help too!

bern0134
08-13-2012, 04:40 PM
'bern' - where you going to school and what's your project focus?
I'm @ Texas Tech at the moment. I did my undergrad @ Colorado State. My current project is on factors effecting recruitment in rocky mountain elk in New Mexico. Ran a serological survey, calf mortality and survival study, and attempting to do some population age structure reconstruction using age at harvest data. I'm hoping to have everything completed this fall.

Colorado Cowboy
08-13-2012, 06:04 PM
At least you don't have any grey wolves or grizzlies to deal with or you probably wouldn't enough calves to study!

dihardhunter
08-13-2012, 10:20 PM
OOOFFFF, population reconstructions. I had a 20-something year dataset of that in Maryland at my master's research site - talk about some confusing Microsoft Excel worksheets! Best of luck with your defense this fall, sounds like a neat project!

NRS
08-23-2012, 05:58 PM
I have been a Wildland firefighter for 8 years now, originally started to pay my way through college, which it did, but once i got out of college in 2008 there werent many job opportunities, however with fire I always had rehire rights each spring so i just kept on doing it. I have slowly been working my way up the ranks which sometimes requires relocating as well. I am currently stationed at a remote guard station in the idaho backcountry and spend everyday outside doing somthing. (mostly "scouting"). I recieved my degree in Recreation which both the U.S. forest service and BLM have departments in, and once I want to have a normal life am hoping to move over into that. I love my Job. and get to travel the country while doing it.

In God We Trust
08-24-2012, 09:53 PM
Look into mining. Good pay and you generally live in good hunting places out west. I have been doing it for nine years and I love it.

Grantbvfd
08-25-2012, 11:16 AM
Be a lineman


4031

elkgrunt
08-27-2012, 01:48 PM
Be careful, don't make your passion your career.

Woodriver
10-07-2012, 10:13 PM
If you would like a career in the outdoors you should look at Weed Science. There are a lot of jobs available in the field and are always looking for more. Look ar Wyoming for opportunities as there will be a ton coming up. The pay is good and you will have time off in the fall due to all the time accrued off during the summer. If you want to impact wildlife then look at noxious weeds as most people over look them as one of the most serious impacts to wildlife habitat (and livestock). Hunters and outdoorsman would be well served in knowing what is growing and what is not. It is definitely an advantage while hunting, trust me. It would also serve you well in other natural resource jobs as guys that have that education always get those duties. Get a minor in Range and you are golden. Wildlife majors are a dime a dozen. Look at the University of Wyoming for a top notch education in both. You will be amazed at the contacts you receive with private landowners as well. Brian Mealor is a dude at UW. Look him up seriously. You have to know what wildlife eat in order to find them and the warden route will take you years for a position. Take others advice in how long it will take to land a full time position.

Woodriver
10-07-2012, 10:22 PM
I know I'm a first time poster but I'm a looong time lurker and have first hand knowledge about the career. Think cheatgrass or a myriad of other spp. that are killing the west. I'm really surprised that so many people don't realize what is actually happening. The west is down spiraling faster than most would believe and it makes me sad. We need help and I'm not kidding.