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Georgia taking applications for game wardens

The job's starting pay is $46,000

JONES COUNTY, Ga. — Chances are pretty good you know what doctors, lawyers, and teachers do, but how about game wardens?

The state is taking applications right now, and the pay begins at $46,000.

Erin McDade began her career as a game warden in 2019.

"There's so much in this job that people don't realize," she said.

Not everyone can become a game warden -- there are physical and mental tests, a polygraph exam, and you'll want to let your family know what's going on because they may have to relocate with you to a different part of the state. You'll have to be comfortable with going on high-risk night patrols by yourself, and holidays -- you'll probably work most of them.

"I got lucky. I'm from Baldwin County and I was placed in Baldwin County, McDade said.

Every day, McDade is tasked with protecting natural resources, either by ATV, on foot, or in her truck, and make no mistake, it can get dangerous.

"Probably 90 percent of the interactions I have and the people I approach daily, they have a firearm of some kind," she said frankly.

But her office light is the sunshine and she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I had a desk job and I was bored to tears," she said with a chuckle.

When she put on the badge, boredom got the boot.

"Just as soon as you get bored and sick of working one thing, you're into the next season, so we've got duck then turkey season. Then it starts popping up on the lake, people fishing and boating," she said.

As for those holidays, McDade punched the clock for the last Independence Day, but it wasn't frustrating in the least.

"The fireworks shows on Lake Sinclair, I get to see it. I've got the best view -- that's really cool to me," she said with a smile.

If you don't have a law enforcement background, you will have to go to the police academy, and everyone has to attend game warden school.

It's at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and you do have to live there through the week, but you get to go home on the weekends.

Visit the Department of Natural Resources website if you're interested in applying.

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