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Indiana Conservation Officer Duties


Serves as a uniformed law enforcement officer for the Department of Natural Resources to enforce and uphold all federal and state statutes with particular attention to those related to conservation of natural resources. In the course of work the incumbent may perform any or all of the following:

  • Enforce laws, regulations and rules dealing with permits and licenses, fishing, hunting, trapping, shooting, boating, snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles (ATV), forest fire prevention, etc;
  • Enforce criminal and traffic laws on properties owned, licensed or leased by the Department of Natural Resources;
  • Aid and instruct the general public on such matters as water safety, firearms, boating, camping, fishing, hunting, trapping;
  • Patrol on foot, by boat, car, ATV, or plane, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, streams, and State and Federal forests, Department of Natural Resources properties, and rural areas;
  • Provide information, explain laws and regulations to the public;
  • Make arrests, issue citations and warnings, appear and testify in court, as well as obtain, prepare and submit evidence;
  • Perform public relations duties such as public speaking, radio and television programs, attending meetings, fairs, sporting events, and related functions;
  • Engage in special projects such as wildlife surveys and court proceedings;
  • Conducts investigations of swimming, hunting, boating, auto, and other accidents as well as thefts and vandalism on Department of Natural Resources properties, wildlife damage complaints, timber thefts, etc;
  • Inspect tree and shrub (nursery) dealers, water, oil and gas wells, classified forests, passenger boats, bait dealers, and wildlife permit holders;
  • Investigate prospective Department of Natural Resources employees;
  • Assist in emergencies such as floods, storms, tornadoes, and forest and grass fires;
  • Supervise the recovery of the bodies of drowning victims.
  • May perform radio dispatch and administrative duties.


  • Knowledge of all state statutes, particularly those pertaining to conservation.
  • Knowledge of Department of Natural Resources regulations, rules, and directives.
  • Knowledge of outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, snowmobiling, etc.
  • Ability to operate such equipment as autos, trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorboats, fire fighting trucks and equipment, digging equipment, and perform routine preventative maintenance as necessary.
  • Specialized training in such areas as first aid, firearms, fire fighting, motorboats, police administration, swimming and lifesaving, civil defense, wildlife, vegetation and environmental protection, self defense, and photography.
  • Ability to speak publicly and to communicate effectively with people.
  • Knowledge of and ability to use two-way radios, fingerprint kits, cameras, evidence testing equipment, fishing, hunting, and other sporting equipment.
  • Must have or be able to obtain a valid Indiana drivers license.
  • Must successfully complete the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Basic program.

**NOTE: Indiana Conservation Officers do not routinely enforce traffic laws on public highways.


Officers normally work independently and encounter situations requiring instantaneous judgment and decision making. Instructions are general although specific assignments may require more detailed instructions. Consequences of error can be as high as the loss of human life including that of the officer.
Guidelines in the form of laws, rules, and regulations are generally standardized. However, incumbent must use judgment in the application and enforcement of these laws. The officer may make recommendations on revision of outdoor safety regulations and wildlife management as well as any other laws or situations which are the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources.

Personal work relationships

Officers work with the public, other conservation officers, and other law enforcement officers to enforce the laws of the state and the policies and regulations of the Department of Natural Resources. Also work to educate and assist the general public in matters of conservation of our natural resources, outdoor safety, and wildlife management.

Physical effort and work environment

Officers frequently patrol forest areas on foot, by car, and/or by boat in all types of weather. Work may, on occasion involve running, swimming, and forest fire fighting. Work sometimes involves heavy lifting and extended periods of walking.

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