The Game Wardens job description itself is a bit vague and open to interpretation. In fact, it sounds like something that could be done by anyone with enough motivation and knowledge. But when you hear about people who actually do this full-time, you know there’s more to it than just being passionate about nature or hunting.
So how much money can one make as a game warden? And what countries have the highest average wages? Keep reading to find out.
Spain has earned its spot on our list thanks to the high number of game warden positions available. The country has the second-largest number of protected areas per capita after Brazil. It also boasts vast amounts of land suitable for wild animals and plants, which gives game rangers plenty of opportunity to earn their livelihood.
- Average annual wage: $26,480
- Highest Average Annual Wage: $42,000
- Country Rank: 10th
- Full-Time Employees: 1,400
- Hours Worked Per Year: About 180
- Minimum Salary: $19,800
Canada’s wildlife is spread across all 50 states, so there are numerous opportunities for Canadian game wardens to work. The country has some of the most well-known parks and reserves due to its large size and proximity to major cities. This makes it easy for visitors to get up close and personal with rare species.
As such, many Canadians choose to become naturalists while working as game wardens. They help preserve these places for future generations. On average, the minimum wage in Canada is only $16,900, but the maximum annual income is $59,380.
- Average Annual Wage: $35,600
- Highest Annual Wages: $53,500
- Full Time Employees: 2,200
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 1,300
- Hours Worked Per Year: 240
- Minimum Salary: $21,200
Norway is known for having an abundance of majestic fjords and rugged mountains. These landscapes attract tourists from around the world. As such, Norwegians need people to patrol them to ensure they stay preserved for posterity. That’s where game wardens come in.
There are approximately 500 game wardens in Norway, each responsible for overseeing different parts of the country. Many of these posts are located near national parks and other protected areas. Others monitor private property. All receive government support.
On average, Norwegians earn $30,000 per year. However, some individuals can earn six figures if they’re particularly successful at their position.
- Average Annual Wage: $30,000
- Highest Annual Wages: $62,000
- Full Time Employees: 300
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 200
- Hours Worked Per Year: 24 hours per week
- Minimum Salary: $24,000
7. New Zealand
New Zealand is home to several iconic conservation organizations including World Heritage Sites and National Parks. Consequently, it’s no surprise that the country needs game wardens to protect its unique biodiversity. Since the early 1900s, the Department of Conservation has been employed to maintain and improve ecosystems throughout the nation.
Game wardens must understand local flora and fauna and enforce regulations pertaining to hunting, fishing, and other activities. Some may even specialize in specific types of wildlife, such as birds or mammals. Most are required to pass background checks before starting their role.
Even though the pay isn’t great, the benefits are substantial. For example, employees enjoy free medical care, generous retirement plans, and other perks. Additionally, the country ranks first in the OECD for environmental awareness, making it easier to establish long-term partnerships with businesses.
- Average Annual Wage: $28,000
- Highest Annual Wages: $52,000
- Full Time Employees: 400
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 250
- Hours Worked Per Year: 40 hours per week
- Minimum Salary: $22,000
Sweden’s expansive forests and lakes provide ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. As such, the Swedish government employs over 3,700 game wardens to manage protected areas and enforce laws regarding recreational activities.
Employees often travel between sites to inspect trails, waterways, and water quality. Some may even participate in search and rescue operations. All game wardens undergo extensive training to prepare them for their jobs.
Despite the low overall wages, Sweden offers higher hourly rates than other Scandinavian countries. For instance, the lowest paid Swedish game warden earns $12.77 per hour compared to $14.02 in Denmark and $15.40 in Finland.
- Average Annual Wage: $27,280
- Highest Annual Wages: $45,000
- Full Time Employees: 370
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 350
- Hours Worked Per Year: 39 weeks
- Minimum Salary: $20,000
5. United Kingdom
United Kingdom residents don’t typically associate the countryside with urban sprawl. Yet, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all contain stunning natural spaces. As such, game rangers play an important part in protecting diverse habitats that would otherwise disappear.
Since the mid-1990s, the UK government has established a new type of park called a Special Area Protection Order (SAPO). SAPOs cover vast expanses of land and offer game rangers control over various activities within their borders. To qualify, potential candidates must complete special courses and pass examinations.
Many game wardens also serve as guides and ambassadors for their regions. They help educate tourists about native wildlife and encourage sustainable practices. Although the overall pay isn’t great, British game rangers tend to enjoy better benefits and greater job security than those in similar roles elsewhere.
- Average Annual Wage: $26,490
- Highest Annual Wages: $39,000
- Full Time Employees: 1,100
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 900
- Hours Worked Per Year: About 160
- Minimum Salary: $23,780
Australia’s wide expanse of land provides countless opportunities for adventure seekers. Thanks to its temperate climate, the country attracts outdoorsy types year round. So naturally, it needs game wardens to guard its wilderness areas.
In addition to maintaining parks, game wardens also prevent illegal activity, such as poaching. They often spend time educating locals about proper wildlife etiquette. Many also assist researchers with conducting scientific studies.
Like the rest of Europe, Australian game wardens receive lower wages than American counterparts. But because of the island continent’s small population, the country still manages to employ 4,500 game wardens.
- Average Annual Wage: $25,270
- Highest Annual Wages: $49,000
- Full Time Employees: 1,850
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 1,250
- Hours Worked Per Year: About 170
- Minimum Salary: $15,720
Belgium contains numerous parks and reserves that draw millions of tourists every year. As a result, the Belgian government employs hundreds of game wardens to keep track of these locations. Their primary responsibility is to regulate public access and observe wildlife.
Typically, Belgian game wardens live nearby their assigned area and visit multiple times per month. Each individual may oversee several locations in order to meet the varying demands of the environment. Like the rest of Western Europe, the majority of Belgian game wardens earn below the poverty line.
However, a few senior officials can pull down high annual incomes. For example, the director of the Fondation Biodiversité receives €1 million ($1.1 million) annually to conserve endangered species.
- Average Annual Wage: €17,000
- Highest Annual Wages: €50,000+
- Full Time Employees: 380
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 340
- Hours Worked Per Year: 30 hours per week
- Minimum Salary: €13,680
2. United States
Americans might not think of Yellowstone Park as remote. After all, it’s less than two hours away by car. Yet, it’s considered one of the largest protected areas in the world. There are currently 575 game wardens patrolling the park and surrounding lands.
Because Yellowstone is so big, game wardens rarely see the same animal twice. Instead, they use cameras and binoculars to document wildlife behaviors and collect data. While the US doesn’t lead in terms of average game warden salaries, it does rank above average worldwide.
- Average Annual Wage: $31,980
- Highest Annual Wages: $66,000
- Full Time Employees: 1,110
- Number of Employees Working Full-Time: 870
- Hours Worked Per Year: About 120
- Minimum Salary: $19,760
Germany has taken steps to increase the amount of land dedicated to wildlife preservation. In 1990, the German government passed a law stating that half of the country’s territory should remain untouched. By 2022, this goal will likely be met.
Thanks to its highly developed infrastructure and extensive rail network, Germany’s central location allows game wardens to quickly respond to emergencies.
Most Germans view wildlife as valuable resources, rather than pests. As a result, the country takes a proactive approach to conservation efforts — including establishing protected areas throughout its extensive forests and grasslands.