Career Opportunities in Fish and Game Law Enforcement

How To Become A New Hampshire Conservation Officer

Law Enforcement air boatsPut your outdoor skills to use and become a New Hampshire Conservation Officer

How would you like to act as a guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources? How about convicting a poacher for an over limit of trout or deer? Or enforcing the state’s off-highway recreational vehicle laws by patrolling on an all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile? What about saving someone’s life by rescuing them off a mountain? If these activities sound rewarding to you, then New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is where you belong.


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No doubt about it, this job is tough. You will see new challenges every day that can be demanding both mentally and physically. One day you might be sitting in the woods trying to catch a fisherman who’s taken over his share, while the next day you might be hiking up Tuckerman’s Ravine helping find a lost hiker. Then again you could be backing up a local police officer with a domestic dispute or searching for a suicidal subject with a weapon. Variety is what keeps this career appealing and stimulating. It is a secure career path that can lead in many different directions and has opportunities for promotion.


New Hampshire Law Enforcement Recruitment Video

  • Patrols a designated area to identify violations of law concerning wildlife, natural resources, off-highway recreational vehicles (OHRVs), criminal offenses and outdoor recreational activities, including foot patrols in remote areas and patrols via the operation of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, watercraft, and other necessary equipment.
  • Studies and applies state laws concerning fishing and hunting regulations to investigate fish and game complaints and recommend course (s) of action.
  • Studies and applies laws, rules and regulations relating to the operation of vehicles, off-highway recreational vehicles (OHRVs) and snowmobiles as defined by statute and investigates related accidents;  gives emergency medical treatment to injured people when necessary.
  • Checks sports persons’ equipment and licenses and arrests violators.  Arrests may include the need to physically restrain and subdue violators using handcuffs and other restraints, to include self-defense.
  • Questions witnesses and procures evidence; prosecutes criminal cases in court as required.
  • Speaks to groups, providing information about wildlife and ecology, personal safety and legal updates.
  • Assists with search and rescue missions, administers first aid, and secures disaster areas where drownings or other accidents have occurred, including carrying out injured or deceased individuals, often from remote and/or mountainous locations.
  • Maintains agency equipment including firearms, boats, snowmobiles, OHRVs, radars, and related items.

There are many opportunities available to enhance your career: 

  • Advanced Search and Rescue
  • Field Training Officer
  • Airboat Operator
  • Firearms Instructor
  • Defensive Tactics Instructor
  • Honor Guard
  • Dive Team
  • Joint Enforcement Agreement/Coastal Enforcement

A career as a New Hampshire Conservation Officer offers good pay and excellent benefits that include:

  • A 25-year retirement system. Officers retire at 50% of their maximum salary while officers working over 25 years receive an additional 2.0% of retirement pay for each additional year worked beyond 25 years
  • Statewide overtime opportunities
  • State paid health and dental benefits
  • You are assigned a four-wheel drive truck, boat, snowmobile, ATV, cell phone, GPS, lap top computer, and a variety of other clothing and state-of-the-art equipment necessary for out-of-doors law enforcement and search and rescue work.

Education: Associate Degree or 60 credit hours from a recognized college or technical institute AND
Experience: No experience required.


Education: Completion of high school, G.E.D. or its equivalent AND
Experience: Two years of full-time employment as a certified police officer in a recognized jurisdiction, or two years of experience in the military on full-time active duty with an honorable discharge may be substituted for the two years of required formal education.


License/Certification: Upon appointment, candidates must obtain a New Hampshire driver's license in compliance with the state statutes governing driver's licenses and registrations.

Note: Prior to appointment, all candidates for state employment must pass a motor vehicle records check.

  • Age/Citizenship: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen.  Applicants must reach age 21 within one year from the date of the administered written examination.
  • Eyesight and Hearing:  Applicants must have at least 20/40 uncorrected vision in each eye with corrected vision to 20/20 in each eye and normal uncorrected depth and color perception.  Applicants must possess normal hearing, without the use of hearing aids, sufficient to enable performance of essential job functions.
  • Selection Process:  For appointment consideration, the Conservation Officer selection process requires that candidates pass a written examination measuring possession of knowledge, skills and abilities identified as necessary for satisfactory job performance by this class specification.  Candidates must also pass a job-related physical aptitude and agility test designed to measure the ability to perform physically demanding tasks required on the job. Candidates are also required to successfully participate in structured interviews.  Candidates receiving conditional offers of employment must pass a polygraph examination, psychological examination and prescribed medical examination.  All exams are provided at state expense and under the direction of the agency.  Before appointments are made, candidates will undergo comprehensive background investigations.  Candidates who do not have records free of serious offenses will be ineligible for appointment.
  • Police Officer Certification:  Candidates must be able to obtain full-time police officer certification within the time frame established by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council.  Appointees must maintain police officer certification throughout tenure of service.
  • Residency:  Candidates must be willing to accept employment anywhere in the state.  Upon completion of the Field Training Officer program, appointees must establish residency within their assigned patrol area.
  • Must be willing to work days, nights, weekends and holidays as well as being called to return to work for various critical incidents and/or Search and Rescue Missions. 

Body Art/Tattoo Policy: Candidates are prohibited from having any body art or tattoo which is excessive and/or offensive, or which could reasonably be expected to damage public respect or confidence in the officer or the agency. Examples of excessive body art include: on face, neck, head, hands or covering a large surface area on any body part not normally covered by the current issued prescribed uniform of the day.

Character: A history of criminal or unethical behavior will cause an applicant to be ineligible for further consideration. Please read Information on Personal Background.

Once your application is accepted you will be scheduled for a written test. In order to move on in the process you must pass this test with a minimum of 70%. The exam tests your knowledge of hunting, fishing and trapping techniques as well as basic orienteering, boating, wildlife identification, wildlife management and Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles.


After passing your written test, you will be required to pass a physical examination consisting of the following activities:

  1. Run one and a half miles in 12 minutes or less
  2. Tread water for 15 minutes
  3. Swim 200 yards in 7 minutes without using the dog paddle
  4. Drag 185 pound sandbag 75 feet without stopping
  5. Carry a 35 pound pail and a 20 pound backpack up 22 sets of stairs 5 times without stopping

Upon your successful passing of your physical exam, you will be required to go in front of an oral board where you will again be tested on your knowledge and skills. In addition, you will be graded on presentation, judgment, critical thinking, maturity, and discretion.

If you are recommended to go beyond the Oral Board Exam, a second interview will be conducted by the Command Staff. If you are recommended after that, a Conditional Offer of Employment will be offered. Once the Conditional Offer of Employment is signed you will be required to take a psychological and medical exam and a polygraph test. A thorough background investigation will be completed.

NOTE: Interested candidates must reapply each time a new position is posted.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Law Enforcement Division is seeking only the most qualified individuals for positions as Conservation Officers.  The purpose of checking personal background qualifications is to obtain specific information regarding the applicant’s integrity, honesty, ethics and abilities, so that the standards of law enforcement, as a profession, may continue to rise.  The personal conduct of each person being considered for a conditional offer of employment, especially related to criminal or unethical behavior, is considered critically important in determining acceptability for a Conservation Officer Trainee position. 

Therefore, a candidate WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE if he or she has:

  • Used marijuana within 12 months before the application for hire.
  • Illegally used a controlled substance, other than marijuana, within 36 months before the application for hire; unless the applicant was under 21 years of age at the time of use, in which case 24 months shall apply.
  • Manufactured, transported for sale, or sold a controlled substance.
  • Used a controlled substance while employed in a law enforcement capacity.
  • Been dishonorably discharged from the military.
  • Been convicted of a felony.
  • Been convicted of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty, unlawful sexual conduct, physical violence, controlled substance, moral turpitude, or any offense which would cause a reasonable person to doubt the applicant’s character, honesty, or ability.
  • Peterson's Guide to Mammals
  • Peterson's Guide to Birds
  • Peterson's Guide to Animal Tracks
  • Peterson's Guide to Trees and Shrubs
  • Wildlife Management Techniques Manual, fourth edition, by The Wildlife Society, Inc.
  • Trapping North American Furbearers, by S. Stanley Hawbaker
  • Chapman's Piloting Seamanship and Small Boat Handling
  • Be Expert with Map and Compass, by Bjorn Kjellstrom
  • Freshwater Fishes of New Hampshire, by John Scarola



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