While we may not always agree with them, but we should all respect the duty and risk game warden’s take to protect the outdoors for future generations.
When most people see a game warden approach we think of it as a downer to our good time outdoors. We know we will have to dig out our licenses, permits, possibly let them go through our gear, and more.
We don’t think about the things that they go through on a daily basis just so we can be out doing what we love in a safe environment. We don’t think about all they do to make sure the fish, deer, or other wildlife are maintained for us all to keep enjoying year after year.
Officer Rufus Cravens Jr. is a game warden for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. He wrote the terrific poem below explaining exactly what it is a game warden does and what it means to him.
‘A Game Warden’s Duty’
I’m asked so many times while working, so what is it that you do
I explain it the best I can, but to most it just doesn’t get through
No, I’m not a Park Ranger or a Forest Ranger either
Both of them are important, but as to those I’m neither
You see I work long hours, nights, weekends, and holidays too
Some days when I leave for work I never know when I’ll be through
I answer calls and complaints and look for things on my own
I do my job proudly and never gripe or moan
I protect all the wildlife, the fish, the turkey, and deer
So one day when I’m gone, there’ll still be plenty here
In the winter waterfowl season, I’m up and out in the morning by four
And in the summer fishing and boating season, that’s the time I’m usually walking in the door
You see I must work when others play, that’s the nature of the position
I’m off when others work and working while they’re hunting and fishing
I get asked so many times, why do you carry a firearm
I explain it’s for me and others, to protect us all from harm
You see I’m out in the middle of nowhere at two o’clock in the morning
I see a car pulled off the road or some other sign of warning
I exit my vehicle and you could say I go into the situation blind
My backup is not readily available, and I’m difficult most times to find
I patrol the woods and water, the creeks, the fields and lakes
I risk my life each and every day, for there are very high stakes
I get calls at three in the morning the voice saying “someone just shot a deer”
I race to the scene as fast as I can, in hopes they still may be near
I work drownings and other hunting and fishing related losses of life
I break the news to their children, parents, siblings, husband, or wife
I sometimes have to put animals down due injuries, for there’s no way they’ll make it
I have to end the life of something I swore to protect, yes their life sometimes I take it
Many times I run into other crimes that are not violations of fish and wildlife law
There are drugs, thefts, assaults, stolen property, and crimes related to alcohol
I don’t often call a city officer, sheriff, or even the state police
See, I’m trained to handle those as well; I’m a full fledged sworn officer of the peace
I’m accepted by other officers in my community, for we’re all one big brotherhood
It doesn’t matter the color of the uniform, we all work for the greater good
I work with a group of guys that are bonded together and I love them all like brothers
I trust them with my life and know we wouldn’t hesitate to die for each other
I donate hours of work each week, often there’s not enough time to get it all done
I can honestly say, I love my job and profession, to me it’s a lot of fun
I don’t do this job for money, fame, recognition, or even glory
I do it because I want to give back and that’s the end of the story
I’ve hunted and fished most all of my life thanks to a Dad who always made time
I want to pay that forward and teach it to the children that are mine
I want them to have opportunities like me, actually opportunities above and beyond
I hope I leave a lasting legacy one day, long after I’m dead and gone
For when my career is over and what I could be remembered for I could pick it
It would be people remember me as fair, respectful, and honest, but not afraid to write a ticket
You see I’m called many things in my job, Opossum Cop, Deer Detective, Squirrel Sheriff, and those are just to name a few
But I’m honored to be a Game Warden and I couldn’t be more proud of the work I do.
-Officer Rufus Cravens Jr.
You can tell Officer Cravens Jr. put a lot of thought and work into the beautifully written poem. He seems to be very passionate about his job and the duties he must uphold as a game warden.
Remember this the next time you see a game warden pull up. Instead of groaning, throw them a smile and thank them for all that they do for us, the community, and for future generations.