Jacob Harriet has been a Game Warden with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for less than a year and already enjoys the varied schedule that comes with the job.
“I never know what my workday will be like. Every day is different. That’s part of what makes the job so much fun.”
Jacob Harriet, Oklahoma State Game Warden currently assigned to work in Lincoln County.
Harriet’s journey to become one of the Wildlife Department’s 117 Game Wardens began when he was about 12 years old.
“A Game Warden came out to tag the bobcats I had trapped and talked to me about his job. Hearing that I could work outside and in nature – helping people and helping animals – I knew that was the job I wanted.”
Harriet would need a bachelor’s degree with at least 12 credit hours in wildlife-related courses and be at least 21 years old before he could join the ranks of those sworn to enforce the fish and wildlife laws of our state. Nearly a decade after his first encounter with a Game Warden, he met those requirements and received his dream job offer from the Wildlife Department.
“The first six months of the job were filled with training.”
All Game Wardens must complete 576 hours of training with the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) and months of field training with other Game Wardens.
“It’s a dangerous job. A lot of times you’re your own backup, so officer safety has been an important lesson. But I’ve also learned how to better navigate and read the land, and how to successfully communicate with people from all walks of life.
“I was assigned to a county two days before the opening day of deer gun season, so it got busy quick.” In addition to checking hunters and anglers for valid hunting and fishing licenses, deer licenses and waterfowl stamps, Harriet has spent his time investigating wildlife violations and assisting the public by answering questions and responding to calls.
“I always have my phone with me when on patrol in case the public or a local landowner calls in with a concern or would like to report a violation. We really rely on those calls. We’re actively patrolling. But most counties only have one assigned Game Warden, and we can’t be everywhere at once.”
Beyond enforcing Oklahoma’s laws and ensuring our hunting and fishing traditions continue, Harriet sees his job as being a mediator. “I’ve heard it said that Game Wardens protect people from people, animals from people, and people from animals. We’re here to monitor and mediate the balance of those interactions.”
Learn more about becoming an Oklahoma Game Warden at www.wildlifedepartment.com/odwc-careers.