WICHITA, Kansas – Hunting season is in full swing, but the game wardens that patrol the state are in short supply this year.
Fifty nine game wardens cover all of Kansas throughout the year, but they have five vacant positions.
“They look for hunters and fishermen and check to make sure what they’re doing is legal, and it’s also safe,” said Cpt. Marvin Jensen with the Kansas Wildlife Parks and Tourism.
Jensen said a big part of that is recent retirements, but the state agency also loses employees to competitive job offers and transfer.
This fall hunting season has been relatively quiet because of low bird populations, but they’re still keeping busy.
On opening weekend alone, game wardens checked over 700 hunters across the state, and they handed out nearly 60 citations and warnings. About half of those were license or permit related, but with locations to buy required documentation throughout the state, that is easily avoidable.
“We have continual questions all the time about ‘am I legal?’, so we just kind of give them a clue of what’s going to be expected of them,” said Mike Ward, a license distributor.
In October, they started looking for game warden applicants, but to make up for fewer men in the field right now, Jensen says they distribute their wardens according to events and popular areas and they ask locals to call in any illegal or suspicious activity.
“We can’t be everywhere at once, so it’s critical for us to have that set of eyes and ears,” said Cpt. Jensen.
They’ve had a lot of interest from applicants, and over the next month, they’ll narrow it down through testing and background checks to find their new employees.