Conservation Officer Trainee, South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks

South Dakota

Job Title: Conservation Officer Trainee

Organization: South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks

Overview: Enforces conservation, parks and other laws and provides for public safety; manages wildlife, fisheries, water, and land resources; implements and delivers department programs and services; represents the department to the public, and secures hunter and angler access and provides for recreational opportunities.

These are positions in training to become fully certified Conservation Officers (CO) for the Division of Wildlife. CO Trainees must enter the training program with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of expertise related to fish and wildlife management, they cannot be gained from the training programs provided.

Upon successful completion of both training programs, Conservation Officer Trainees are converted to a Conservation Officer at a pay grade GI.  They may be temporarily assigned to regional wildlife offices in Rapid City, Watertown, Chamberlain, or Sioux Falls until permanent duty stations are available.  Incumbents must be willing to accept any vacant duty station in South Dakota.  Conservation Officers function in five primary areas: wildlife and wildlife damage management, fisheries management, land and habitat management, conservation and parks law enforcement, and public relations.   


A bachelor’s of science in wildlife and fisheries or equivalent degree and/or experience is preferred. Exceptional interpersonal communication skills; the ability to deal effectively with people, especially in stressful situations; strong writing skills, the ability to speak in public; effective organizational skills; competent problem solving skills.

Knowledge of:

  • conservation and parks law enforcement principles, practices, techniques and tactics;
  • fish, wildlife and habitat conservation and park management practices;
  • biological principles and practices pertaining to fish and wildlife; 
  • an understanding of habitat management practices beneficial to fish and wildlife;
  • agency programs that promote public access;
  • wildlife damage management techniques and practices;
  • state and federal laws, regulations and agency policies that govern hunting, fishing, trapping, boating and snowmobiling;
  • court and criminal procedures, rules of evidence collection and preservation and criminal investigative techniques. 

Skill to:

  • identify native fish, wildlife, and plants;
  • collect and preserve evidence and provide effective courtroom testimony;
  • interview witnesses and suspects and write clear and concise reports;
  • effectively collect data while conducting fish and wildlife surveys and make sound fish and wildlife harvest recommendations.

Ability to:

  • effectively deal with people from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds; 
  • establish and maintain relationships with landowers, sportsmen, and park users;
  • to promote conservation and park law enforcement, fish and wildlife management, hunter/angler access opportunities;
  • deliver wildlife damage program services; de-escalate conflict and problem solve; operate boats, snowmobiles, ATVs, firearms and other specialized equipment;
  • effectively present educational and outreach programs.

Salary/pay: $20.03/hr

Application Deadline: March 24

How to apply: Click here to view the full application requirements as well as to apply