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Deputy Game Warden


Selection, Training and Duties of a Deputy Game Warden.

Being a deputy is a big commitment. Only those who are serious should apply. Deputy game wardens are local representatives of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Individuals selected perform their duties under the supervision of a state game warden.

A deputy is very different than a state game warden. Deputies are part-time, whereas state game wardens are full-time, career-oriented positions. Serving as a deputy does not lead to promotion into a state game warden position. Deputies, like any other qualified applicant, may apply for state game warden positions through Civil Service and may be selected to attend the 50 week training program required, but many are not.

The hiring process for deputies, from start to finish, is nearly two years in duration. The Pennsylvania Civil Service Act, or the Commonwealth's Collective Bargaining Act, does not cover deputies.

Deputies do not receive regular salary or wages, however, they may receive limited compensation for certain duties. History clearly has shown that, in the performance of their duties, deputies spend more money than they make.

A deputy may expect to spend a minimum of $1000 for equipment their first year. Additional equipment expenses may be incurred.

Deputy game wardens are recruited locally on an as needed basis. Applicants must be in good physical condition, have knowledge of hunting, trapping, and other outdoor activities, and be able to maintain a good working relationship with fellow wardens and the public. Deputies use their personal vehicles while performing their duties.


Deputy game wardens should be prepared to function in all phases of activity Game Commission activities and assume the powers as authorized by the Game and Wildlife Code, subject to limitations established by Commission regulations and operating procedures.

Deputies are commonly involved in: law enforcement patrols and investigations, answering complaints and calls for service, nuisance wildlife control, hunter-trapper education classes, educational programs, and assisting other agencies.

Basic Requirements and Qualifications

Residence: Applicants must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of Pennsylvania. Applicants must have resided in the Commonwealth for at least 30 days prior to application. Persons appointed as deputy game wardens be are assigned to the district in which they reside.

Pennsylvania driver's license: Applicants must possess a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license

Minimum Education: Applicants must have graduated from an accredited high school or possess a GED certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Age: Applicants must be at least 21 years of age at the time of examination.

Physical ability:Prior to taking the written entrance examination, each applicant will be required to successfully perform a physical ability test. Testing consists of three events: performing a weighted step test, performing a series of squatting movements while supporting a weight, and lifting a 25 lb. weight into the air repeatedly from a seated position. These tests screen for acceptable cardiac and aerobic fitness, flexibility, and overall body strength.

Ride along: Each applicant must accrue 20 hours of ride-along time with a state game wardenprior to entrance exam.

Background investigation: A character background investigation, including criminal history and child abuse clearance will be conducted on all applicants by agency officials. Persons with felony records or persons who fail the child abuse clearances are not eligible for employment. Certain summaries and misdemeanors are also disqualifiers.

Written examinations: Each candidate must pass a written entrance examination administered by the Game Commission and pass a certification exam, after completing initial and basic training.

Medical Requirements: Appointment to the position of deputy is conditional upon passing medical, hearing, vision and dental exams. Medical examination report forms will be provided. Examinations shall be at the expense of the applicant.

Vision: Visual acuity must be at least 20/70 with the better eye and 20/200 with the poorer eye WITHOUT correction , and at least 20/20 with the better eye and 20/40 with the poorer eye WITH correction.

Medical: Applicants must be generally healthy without any health or disease issues which might place themselves, or others, at unreasonable risk by participating in the required training or performing required job duties.

Dental: All teeth normally visible must be present or have a suitable replacement. Teeth and gums must present a healthy appearance without disease or decay.

Hearing: Hearing in both ears must be normal within a range of frequencies, without significant hearing loss.

Persons not eligible to apply: Persons who, by license or permit, are authorized by the Commission to function in one of the following categories may not hold the position of deputy game warden:

  • Hunting License Issuing Agent
  • Nuisance Wildlife Control Operations
  • Propagation Permittee
  • Menagerie Permittee
  • Fur Dealer
  • Rehabilitator
  • Regulated Hunting Grounds Operator
  • Taxidermist
  • Exotic Wildlife Dealer


All applicants who pass the entrance examination must complete a basic training/orientation program.

Part of basic training is a structured 9-day course conducted at the Game Commission's Ross Leffler School of Conservation in Harrisburg.

Newly commissioned deputies must accrue 80 hours of on-the-job training with the state game warden during the probationary year.

  • A minimum of four district training sessions
  • Two firearm training/ qualifications
  • Defensive tactics training
  • Legal updates training
  • Verbal communication skills training

Much of this training is conducted on weekends.

Conditions of employment

Becoming a deputy is a significant commitment. Please read the conditions of employment listed below. If you are not prepared to meet all of these conditions, do not apply.

You must be willing and able to…

  1. Spend much of your time working with hunters and related organizations.
  2. Respond to the public under difficult and sensitive circumstances in a courteous and respectful manner.
  3. Work alone in isolated areas and be exposed to certain elements of danger such as confronting and arresting armed violators.
  4. Wear a uniform and conform to Game Commission policies on conduct and grooming.
  5. Learn the use of personal defensive tactics and firearms, and to carry and use weapons as required by the job.
  6. Promote and support all Pennsylvania Game Commission operations and programs.
  7. Provide certain required equipment items at your expense according to PGC specifications.
  8. Perform your duties according to state and federal laws and agency policies and procedures.
  9. Use your personal vehicle to perform your duties without reimbursement for mileage or expenses.
  10. Work with limited or no financial compensation.
  11. Attend regular required training sessions, many of which are held on weekends.
  12. Work on holidays and opening days of major hunting seasons.
  13. Work any hour of day or night in all weather conditions.
  14. Lift heavy objects without assistance.
  15. Navigate difficult terrain.
  16. Meet deadlines for reports and assignments.

If you would like an information packet mailed to you with instructions for applying, click here.