A job in wildlife that makes a difference


April 7, 2009, 11:50 PM
I'm going for my degree in wildlife management and I started looking into jobs. I really want a job that will make a difference so I started looking into private groups like quail unlimited, I feel that it will be my generation that can make or break the population for future generations

What other areas should I look into. The state doesn't appeal to me since they start at like 18k per year ( with benefits). I know that's not too had but it's not a very good living

What about fed jobs?

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April 8, 2009, 10:18 AM
is actively soliciting for game wardens.
Good luck.

April 8, 2009, 10:22 AM
What degree?

When do you graduate?

Art Eatman
April 8, 2009, 10:54 AM
Texas Parks & Wildlife could be a good stepping stone in one's resume to private employment by either a game ranch or a group of such ranches, depending on how they operate. One source for information besides TP&W would be the folks at Texas Wildlife Associates, since they're tapped into that part of the hunting ranch deal.

Smokey Joe
April 8, 2009, 11:21 AM
PBD 902--National Park Rangers say that they take part of their pay in sunsets. If you sincerely want to help wildlife, or any aspect of the environment, be prepared to sacrifice some earning potential so as to do so.

If you want to make a million bucks, sell insurance or invent something. You'll be rich, and what will you have accomplished with your life.

Private organizations which live on donations aren't rolling in dough any more than state organizations which live on taxes in these budget-cutting times. Federal jobs are pretty much in the same boat.

Hey, we got 10% unemployment right now--$18K is a lot more than nothing!! And you'd better be toward the top of your class--with more people wanting the jobs, the HR departments can be a whole lot pickier.

Another factor is going to be the cost of your education--to get into any sort of wildlife management position nowadays, you need at least a masters, and a doctorate in the field is better. Are you prepared to starve, and slave academically, for 6-10 years, while doing an outstanding academic job?

I don't mean to rain on your parade, and if you are sincere about helping wildlife in your work, you WILL find some way to do it. But don't plan on its being easy, and don't plan on ever being able to afford a new Cadillac.

April 8, 2009, 01:40 PM
MY degreeis in wildlife and fish management I'm going to graduate in 2011

My biggest issue
With the pay is that the position that starts at 18 tops out around 25. So if I work for the state for 30 years then the most I will make there would be 25k.

The immediat plan is to take the first job I can find in the field but at the same time pursue a better one.

I'm not looking for a job that will pay 6 figures but I'd atleast like to Make a cops salary.

April 8, 2009, 02:33 PM
invent something. You'll be rich, and what will you have accomplished with your life.

Uh, since when has inventing something been a bad thing?

What I meant by "what degree" was does it start with a B, an M or a P?

Population Biology in general is not a field where a Bachelor's degree is worth a hill of ****. It might get you a job that looks good on your CV and helps you meet faculty advisors at grad schools you might want to attend. A Master's is entry-level and a PhD is what you get if you want to choose what you do.

Hell, soon after I got my BA, I got bumped from a cool gig, not well-paying, just potentially a fun Alaska adventure, by a guy with a PhD who just thought it would be amusing. A couple other, similar incidents, and I went and did something else for a living (since I didn't want to go to grad school at that point).

I'm not trying to be discouraging. It just pays to know what you need to do to get where you want to get. Like some others, it's just a profession that requires a graduate degree.

I'm not looking for a job that will pay 6 figures but I'd atleast like to Make a cops salary.

Move to California, become a cop, and you could do both... If you don't mind being shot by some scumbag with a rap sheet like a dictionary, and having a bunch of "activists" blame you for being shot because said scumbag had skin that was darker than drywall.

Smokey Joe
April 8, 2009, 06:01 PM
PBD 902--With the pay is that the position that starts at 18 tops out around 25. So if I work for the state for 30 years then the most I will make there would be 25k. You're neglecting the fact that in 30 years they will have raised the base pay, and all the steps, to--at least sort of--keep in line with and hopefully ahead of inflation.

Example (although not in wildlife--however my degree is in natural resources and biology, with an extra year for education certification, so I am familiar with the field): In 1966 when I started teaching middle school, I was paid the princely salary of $5055.00 per year. It was starvation wages, but it got better. The base salary got increased, grudgingly, by my school board, every year or so. When I retired in 1999, I was making $49K/year. By no means a great amount of money, but I got 32 years of doing my thing with those lovely, nutzy, enthusiastic middle school kids. And I have more than "just scraped by" monetarily. If I could have the kids back without the gol-durn paperwork and administrivia and micromanaging, I'd do it again for nothing!

Over the years the starting wage for doing something you love has increased, although it's still starvation wages, but by the time you retire you can count on more.

BTW, different states have different salary levels. USNPS Rangers usually are provided with housing. Enforcement people often get a car. You'll have to check out all the details of any prospective job.

(BTW, if Vermont is begging for wardens, I'll bet they're begging for law enforcement degree holders, and preference to those with experience, double preference to those with a LE degree, experience, AND a wildlife or fisheries degree to boot.)

(Side note to Armed Bear--Nothing wrong with inventing things, especially if they are genuinely helpful to the human condition. Sometimes an invention pays off big-time, but you have to invent a lot of duds, do a lot of nonproductive development and research, and live with a lot of rejection from manufacturers--In other words, it's another job you've got to love if your profession is "inventor.")

But I say again, there is a monetary price to be paid for doing a job--any job--that you love. If making money is your top consideration, then wildlife and natural resources are not the fields for you.

April 8, 2009, 06:17 PM
paintballdude, for God's sake, at this time in your life, don't listen to someone who tells you that you have to choose between relative poverty and a job you dislike.

Life, and work, are not that simple unless someone makes them that simple!

This is the time to find what you love, that also counts as gainful employment. Set goals, pursue them one step at a time. When you're done being an undergrad, then the real deal begins. Then you get to start, not finish. Right now you're basically waiting to start.

Why do I say that? Well, I've known people who have gotten jobs like that (cool but poorly-paid) without advanced degrees. Sooner or later, they've been forced to quit in favor of better-paying careers. Had they really planned for the long term, they might have been able to stay in the career they wanted to have.

If you really want a career in wildlife management, figure out what it takes to do it for real, and pursue that. It will probably take more than hoping that some government agency gives you a job as an bureaucrat in a khaki uniform.

Lots of people want fun, outdoor jobs.

Some people get them, but only special qualifications lead to decent pay at this point. There's a surplus of applicants, until there's something that really separates the elite from the crowd.

This isn't the 1960s and the reality is, it was easier to get those jobs then. Higher education was less common, many women didn't work outside the home past age 25, the population was lower. You'll commony find two demographics in the field: people who got into it 40 years ago, and trustafarians who don't care about money because they have plenty waiting for them. BUT... you'll also find that people who really stand above the crowd, do well, as in many fields.

IMHO the road to hell is paved with the conviction that there are two kinds of careers: those that pay and those you like. This conviction will not serve you at this point in your life.

More important is the question of HOW to put things together for yourself, so you don't have to choose between such stark options.

April 8, 2009, 06:24 PM
Yea, you can not expect to jump from college into a job in wildlife making much more then you are seeing. Like above post have stated do not dixcount pay raises over the years to get up to snuff on pay scale. Seems like people that go to college think they are worth more then the market wants to say they are. Keep at it if that's really what you want but understand what you are getting in to and best of luck finding a happy line between.

April 10, 2009, 12:19 AM
+1 to Armed Bears Advice. Make your own destiny. The wonderful thin about America is nothing stops you from realizing all your dreams. If you want to make a fortune AND work in wildlife management, you can do it here. Its just sometimes you need to set your own direction and not follow others.

Heck, I know someone in your part of the woods - Eastern Carolina - who did Wildlife Management for years as a state empolyee and turned the knowledge he gained there into a hugely profitable career working in agriculture.

April 10, 2009, 09:17 AM
Good luck. And, I hope you're of minority status. That helps at least in Texas state jobs and for federal jobs I'm guessing since affirmative action is a federal law. They won't hardly ever hire a white male unless that's all they interview.. They have their quotas to fill and they seem more worried about that than getting qualified people. If you are a minority, you're golden. Just fact and, no, I'm not a racist, though the hiring process with the state tried to make me one. I've seen the memos and I've been passed over for a minority who's only qualification was his color and the fact he'd been a deck hand on a shrimp boat. He had a GED for his education.

I've interviewed several times over the years for Parks and Wildlife jobs. They usually pick a dozen or so interviews out of hundreds of applicants. It's sort of an honor just to get the interview. So, I made my living in the chemical industry after graduation, had a lot of Chemistry, nearly a minor. I was smart enough to know by my sophomore year, I needed back up. I got on with Dow Chemical my first job as a research technician in pilot plants, nothing remotely close to fisheries management. You gotta be flexible to survive in the real world. I was an "aquatic type", fisheries management, though. Started out in wildlife and on a field trip to a WMA, biologist told me there were about 10:1 more fisheries jobs, so I switched majors as if that would do any good. :rolleyes: But, it got me a job in the chemical industry, I made a lot more money than I could have as a biologist, and I retired early so I could enjoy myself in the outdoors and not have to work.

I haven't been in the market for a job in 25 years, though. Things might have changed, but I sincerely doubt it, not with the state, anyway. You don't run into these hassles so much in the private sector. Private companies in business to make a profit want, first and foremost, qualified people that can do the job and they're more willing to pay for that person than the state. State jobs have good benefits, though. My wife is a retired social worker/case worker for CPS.

Doing flume/waste water analysis, BODs, CODs, etc in a lab was about as close as I ever got to fisheries work. Almost got to do some bio assay work, but the plant contracted that out. Bummer, LOL.

I might sound a little disgruntled, but you really need to check your idealism at the door and think about how you can make the money to support the family you will no doubt have in the future. You ain't gonna save the world. Yeah, your comments struck me as quite familiar. ROFL! Hate to be the nay sayer, but if you can't get a job in wildlife management, be flexible. Down here, the chemical industry is big and there are good jobs for college graduates that aren't engineering majors. That's the route I took, YMMV. But, just sayin', have options. I know this one fellow that I worked on a bird banding crew with, got his masters. He was the crew leader. This was in school, was an A&M research on wilson's snipe. He got his masters, couldn't get a job, went to work in his dad's hardware store in Houston. He became a big shot in the Sierra Club or some environmental lobbiest type group, as a volunteer. That's what he wanted to do since he couldn't make money at it, I guess. He was a little too idealistic for my blood. Don't know what he's doing now, probably bird watching from his bed, a cardboard box under the Katy freeway, who knows. :rolleyes: But the guy got on the Houston news once when they made Armand bayou a "wilderness area". He was lobbying for that, I guess. That stretches the definition of a "wilderness area" in my humble opinion, more of a nature preserve. But, he saved his little part of the world, I guess. He'll probably die happy for that.

April 10, 2009, 09:48 AM
Dont overlook environmental consulting, it is a happy medium. Still use the hardcore biology but a lot of technical writing involved.

jim in Anchorage
April 10, 2009, 09:15 PM
I want the Anchorage area fish + game guys job. He seems to spend all his time running around shooting problem bears.

April 11, 2009, 10:46 AM
The game wardens here take care of things like that, well, not bear, but problems with gators in peoples yards and such. They don't shoot 'em, capture and take 'em to the marsh. We had an 11 footer at the city park the other day, wasn't bothering anyone and drew a crowd of gator watchers. :D Funny, though, but that's another gator I've seen in salt water. I've had 'em chasing my fishing cork before. They seem to tolerate salt water. I had never thought that before we moved down here.

The wardens patrol the island. They have a road up the length of the island and a truck or two they ferried over there somehow. I was out there duck hunting on a remote part of the island (Matagorda Island) once and they were watching us. I was sorta paranoid, but we weren't doing much good on the ducks, not in danger of going over any limits. Then, I spied what they were worried about. One pot hole over were a couple of whooping cranes. They baby sit those danged things. Your tax dollars at work.

The wardens get to cull deer out there on the island. The place gets over-populated with the deer. They keep the meat they want and the rest goes to food pantries and such. Tough job, but someone has to do it. I befriended a warden that was in the gun club, but could never get him to take me on a culling expedition out there. Bummer. That's another thing I don't quite understand, though, how there could be such a deer herd out there when occasional hurricanes engulf the island. I think the highest spot on the island ain't 10 feet and most of it ain't 5 feet. Don't take much of a storm for it to disappear. Hell, we got about 6-8 feet of surge out of Ike and it didn't even hit us, went well north and we were on the clean side.

jim in Anchorage
April 11, 2009, 02:14 PM
They keep the meat they want and the rest goes to food pantries and such. Tough job, but someone has to do it. They get to keep the meat? Thats not culling,its a private meat locker.

Smokey Joe
April 11, 2009, 02:54 PM
Armed Bear--I think what we're having is mostly a "heated agreement." All except for the thing about choosing between "relative poverty and a job you dislike." No one should ever, except in the direst of circumstances, take a job they actually dislike--How could they do their best at such work?? My point was that doing what you LOVE will cost you some earning power. But poverty?? No way. And the advanced degree will get you more $$ as a starting salary, no question.

Now other than that, you said that PBD should prepare for his work, preferably with an advanced degree. So did I.

You said to get qualified, and be outstanding in order to get the job you want. I couldn't agree more.

This sure isn't the '60's. But fisheries and wildlife positions were hard to come by, even back then. My undergraduate college was/is the source for many of those professionals in my state, thus I know what my mates who got those jobs had to go through. I happened to take a divergent route, but got into something I loved, too, because of unique qualifications.

More important is the question of HOW to put things together for yourselfAbsolutely! He wants a particular career, that's what he should plan for and work for and prepare for. You can't imagine how many middle and high schoolers I told that to over the years.

Paintball Dude--Never mind the squabbling of a couple of old grouches like us--just keep on with your preparation, stick to your plan. It WILL work out right for you, somehow. Good luck. Please keep us posted. :)

April 11, 2009, 05:41 PM
They get to keep the meat? Thats not culling,its a private meat locker.

Yep, they keep what they want, that's my understanding. Now, it's my understanding that they still give a lot of meat away. Only the local wardens that work on the island get to do it. Heckuva perk, though, eh? :D

When I was interning in Seabrook, Texas at the marine lab there one summer, the biologists had me working on a qualitative study of a little bay that had formed by land subsidence, a problem in that area. It was my research paper for a problems course I was to write and be graded on, part of the internship deal. They told me to run a gill net for part of the survey. So, I went down to the wardens office with a note and picked out a nice 800 yard net off the wall they'd confiscated and went and set it. Was cool having to answer questions of all the bystanders. "Yes, I'm a student working with P&W yadda, yadda...." I probably got called in to the wardens, not sure. LOL Anyway. I got all this fish back to the office to weigh, measure, record and they're all fighting over who gets what. They all wanted the gar, let me take the reds and flounder. "Poor fellows, fighting over the scraps, can't afford to go to the store", I thought to myself. Heck, that's the only reason they wanted me to run that net, made me run it for a week. ROFL! I mean, I had only 6 weeks there and had to do benthic, net for small pelagic stuff, water samples for water quality and plankton, etc in addition to going out with and helping the technicians with other stuff they had going on. I kinda thought I spent too much time on the fish, but you can't eat algae and diatoms and nematodes and polychaetes. LOL Every day I'd come in with the catch from that net and they'd all take a break and swarm on it with fillet knives taking what they wanted. I did eat a lot of fish that summer. Was living at home and commuting over there. Mom appreciated all the fish. :D

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