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Alexis Lee
Mrs. Debock
English 4 Honors
April 14, 2016
The Outdoorss Finest
Often times people enjoy the beautiful scenery without taking notice to the very
important people that help protect it and protect nature goers from the many dangers Mother
Nature brings to the table. DNR officers or game wardens are responsible for protecting
wildlife from over hunting, ensuring that hunters are practicing safe and legal methods of
pursuing, trapping, and harvesting game, and keeping the outdoors safe for everyone. DNR
officers work to protect the natural environment through the enforcement of wildlife laws and
regulations, while also working to ensure that conditions for nature lovers are safe across the
spectrum of dangers that people can face when exploring the wilderness.
The conservation of wildlife is important to maintain and healthy animal population and
ensure that future generations are able to thrive in certain areas which is why the conservation
officer profession is increasingly necessary. Contrary to population belief that DNR officers are
just outdoorsmen with a badge, conservation officers go through almost the exact training and
police officers with more focus on wildlife and how to deal with situations in more rural areas
versus the more urban situations police officers deal with (Trigg). However, despite all of the
duties required of a DNR officer, the conservation of species is most likely the most important.
For example, in recent years the state of South Carolina has seen a large increase in the number

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of coyotes, an invasive species that is responsible for the destruction of hundreds of natural
habitats all over the state, the loss of wildlife and livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats, and
even the loss of some house pets that wandered all little too far from the comfort of home. In late
2015 the South Carolina Department of natural resources announced that it had submitted the
requirements for a bill to the SC House that would allow DNR to, [t]ag and release at least 12
coyotes across the statetagged coyotes would have a county of at least $1,000 each, payable to
any hunter who bags them (S.C. House Approves $1,000 Reward for Killing Coyotes). DNR
officers also regulate native species by enforcing tagging on certain species, such as the tagging
requirement in South Carolina. This law requires hunters to tag any antlerless deer, antlerless
being defined as a female deer or young buck with less than two inches of horn visible, with a
state issued tag on non-doe-days (DNRs Species Conservation Efforts). This law established by
DNR and enforced by DNR officers is crucial to ensuring that hunters to not over hunt the deer
population and there are enough does and younger bucks to carry on the next generations.
Though regulation of wildlife and hunting is not the only form of conservation that game
wardens offer, they also serve to educate the public about wildlife, hunting, and fishing. DNR
offers hunting and fishing clinics for young people who would like to hunt but would otherwise
not have anyone to teach them or accompany them on hunting and fishing trips. In order to
ensure that the conservation efforts of this generation are keep, it is often the responsibility of
DNR officers to teach young people skills like hunting and fishing that are crucial to wildlife
management. Also, many game wardens participate in school talks to education students about
wildlife and the importance of maintaining and preserving the natural habitats in their area or
state.

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Although a large part of a game wardens job description deals with conservation and
regulation of laws, another aspect of their job is making sure that the general public remains safe
while in the outdoors. Most would classify a conservation officer as just someone who just wants
to be paid to hunt and fish all day but as stated in an article by Miss Lisa Trigg, [h]es not
hunting[h]es checking that hunters have the correct permits and are following state law
concerning how many animals they can take but in fact he is not. DNR officers are responsible
for ensuring that ATVs used in the outdoors meet state and federal safety requirements and are
being used in appropriate areas, not to endanger the operators or others. In order to ensure the
safety of all nature lovers, SCDNR requires all persons seeking a hunting license to take a
hunters education course before obtaining their hunting license. The hunters educations course
teaches about gun safety, proper tagging of harvested animals, the rules of thumb for the forest,
and other techniques like using a harness while hunting form a tree stand to ensure the overall
safety of the hunter. This course is not optional and is required for all hunters across the state of
South Carolina. DNR also requires all person under the age of seventeen to take a boaters
education course before being allowed to operate any watercraft. It is the job of DNR officers to
teach these courses and also ensure that everyone on the water and in the woods has the proper
documentation and have taken these courses (What Does a Conservation Officer Do?). DNR
officers also enforce laws relating to ATVs, making sure that ATV operators are aware of the
areas they can and cannot ride on and keeping them off the major road and highways were small
accidents have potential to be very catastrophic.
Although there are many law and regulations in place to help prevent a tragedy, they do
still occur. In many cases, DNR officers must partner with police officers to help track down
missing persons, conduct search-and- rescue operations, and assist with watercraft accidents as

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they occur (Cain). Due to their extensive knowledge of tracking, listening to the clues of the
forest, hiking in sometimes treacherous terrain, and dealing with high stress situations. In fact,
DNR officers receive almost the same training as police officers with more emphasis on wildlife
and nature. DNR officers are also trained to assist in automobile accidents as they are needed due
to the shortage of law enforcement in some areas. This was the case in a recent tragedy resulting
in the death of a DNR officer. The undercover DNR officer was attempting to assist in diverting
traffic from the scene of a car crash when a drunk driver fleeing police in an SUV plowed him
over (Switzer). Also, game wardens have recently made an appearance on reality TV shows with
the show North Woods Law that allows viewers to see into the daily lives on conservation
officers. Just like the life of a conservation officer without being followed around by a camera,
these officers help to assist the local police force while also making sure that everyone they stop
has the proper permits and are following all regulations and laws for the activity they are
conducting or pursuing (Genzlinger). DNR officers must maintain mobility and be able to move
from situation to situation, this ability is what makes DNR officers so crucial when it comes to
search-and-rescue missions and other ways in which law enforcement attempts to locate missing
persons or fugitives. Game wardens are also responsible for protecting WMAs or Wildlife
Management Areas. A Wildlife Management Area is an area in South Carolina where public
hunting is allowed every day of the week except for Sundays. It is the job of DNR officers to
make sure that laws in these areas are strictly enforced as they are often home to some of the
endangered South Carolina species, but also more common species as well.
DNR officers work to protect the natural environment through the enforcement of
wildlife laws and regulations, while also working to ensure that conditions for nature lovers are
safe across the spectrum of dangers that people can face when exploring the wilderness. Being a

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conservation officer is no walk in the park, literally. Game wardens are faced everyday with
tough decisions and enforcing laws in areas that seem brutal to the average person. However, this
job is necessary to ensure that both Mother Nature and the human population are protected from
one another. Without the supervision of the outdoors finest, habitats all across the United States
would experience the destruction of unregulated hunting and unregulated population growth,
outdoors men and women would be at an even greater risk to experience a tragedy while in the
woods or on the water, and a loss of the nature diversity that so precious to all nature goers all
over the country.

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Works Cited
Cain Johnson, Bianca. "DNR officer loves law enforcement role off beaten path." Augusta
Chronicle, The (GA) 14 June 2014: Points of View Reference Center. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
"DNR's Species Conservation Efforts." SCDNR. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
Genzlinger, Neil. "TV Stars Who Ask: Can I See a Permit?" New York Times 5 Sept. 2015:
C1(L). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
"S.C. House Approves $1,000 Reward for Killing Coyotes." The State. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
Switzer, Jane. "Justin August Knackstedt: 1989-2013: an avid outdoorsman and a promising
conservation officer, he relished undercover work busting poachers." Maclean's 15 July
2013: 66.Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
Trigg, Lisa. "Through the seasons, conservation officers keep it legal for hunting, fishing,
outdoor life." Tribune-Star (Terre Haute, IN) 11 Dec. 2015: Points of View Reference
Center. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
"What Does a Conservation Officer Do?" Learn.org . Web. 17 Mar. 2016.