Game warden at work

Published: Mar. 7, 2020 at 9:53 PM CST
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Considering North Dakota's changing seasons, landscapes and diversity of outdoor pursuits, a game warden's life on the Northern Plains is certainly one full of variety.

"It's a fun job. You get to meet a lot of great people. You get to come out here and see a lot of different scenery. You get to work in the Badlands, you get to work on the lake. I mean, what other job can you have where you get to be in the badlands one day and out on the boat the next," said Johnston.

On this day, game warden Johnston is checking folks who are fishing and spearing on lakes in central North Dakota.

"They're just normal people you're just there to have a conversation and you obviously check licenses, make sure to see if they have any fish if they do count them, verify that they're not going over their limit or anything like that," said Johnston.

And when game warden Johnston walks up to a fish house, he never knows what to expect, yet most of the time it's a positive experience.

"Usually most times when you check people within the first five seconds, you kind of have an idea of how they are, how they answer the door, if they're shuffling around hiding things or if they're just sitting in there just relaxed and, hey, how's it going? You know, they're just very much typical North Dakota nice," said Johnston.

North Dakota has a rich hunting and fishing heritage and that makes Johnston's job more rewarding.

"They have the same passions and interests as you do. And 99 percent of the time, there's nothing wrong and you just have a conversation. And you go on with your day and they go on enjoying what they're doing," said Johnston.

Game warden Johnston knows when he goes to work, regardless if he's checking hunters or anglers, he's safeguarding North Dakota's natural resources for future generations.

"Knowing that I'm doing everything that I can to help protect the resource so there's something for my kids and everyone else's families to enjoy," said Johnston.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will be testing game warden applicants in late May. For information contact Game Warden Supervisor Scott Winkelman at 701-328-6785 or visit the Game and Fish Department's website at