|It Isn't Always "A Warden": Photo by W.Hill|
The Fish and Boat Commission enforces laws pertaining to waterways, boating, and fishing, and the taking of reptiles and amphibians., DCNR maintains State Forests and Parks and has both a maintenance and enforcement branch, while the Game Commission is responsible for the maintenance of State Game Lands, and the enforcement of wildlife laws throughout the Commonwealth. To compound the confusion officers from any of these agencies may in most cases enforce laws and regulations pertaining to the other agencies and all of the agencies have maintenance crews that may drive vehicles with door decals. For many years most PGC vehicles were green, as were most DCNR vehicles. This helped differentiate them from Fish and Boat Commission personnel,who usually drove white vehicles, but this distinction has blurred in recent years as it is common to see other colors in the PGC--especially in the land management division--I am not quite sure about the other agencies.
The upshot is that in many cases the person you thought is the "game warden" is not a law enforcement officers at all, or at least law-enforcement is not the primary focus of their duties. They may be a biologist, forester, maintenance worker, or land management officer. The land management officer does in most if not all cases have law-enforcement powers, but the others do not--unless they are deputy wildlife conservation officers. Actually there is officially no such thing as a game warden anymore, Wildlife Conservation Officer is the correct term, but to many they are still "the wardens".
To understand this better, let's start in Harrisburg where PGC operations is divided into several bureaus, each covering a particular group of activities. The names have changed since my days with the PGC, when I performed duties for the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Law Enforcement. Today they are known as the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management and the Bureau of Wildlife Protection. The state is divided into six regions, with each region having a regional office and chiefs of each of the respective areas of operations who are known as Supervisors. From this point of we will confine our discussion to wildlife habitat management or "land management" as I still think of it. The regional Land Management Supervisor directs a group of Land Management Officers also known as Game Lands Maintenance Group Supervisors. Commonly called Land Management Officers (LMOs). They are responsible for game lands maintenance and habitat development in two or more counties. LMOs supervise Game Lands Maintenance Groups, which are usually comprised of two to three crews of Game Lands Maintenance Workers, who in turn are supervised by a Game Lands Maintenance Supervisor, also commonly known as a Labor Foreman.
Game Commission maintenance crews are called "The Food and Cover Corps", a name which is not commonly known to many outside the agency. It is these people that you see mowing and planting the food plots on Winslow Hill. John Dzemyan is Land Management Officer for portions of Elk and McKean Counties and oversees the PGC lands on Winslow Hill, while Land Management officer Colleen Shannon is assigned to portions of Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, and McKean Counties, much of which is prime elk habitat.
|Land Management Officer John Dzemyan Addresses Wild About Elk Workshop 2010: photo by W.Hill|
|Game Lands Maintenance Worker, PGC Food and Cover Corp, prepares plot at Gilbert for planting: photo W.Hill|
|PGC Food Plot To Right Of Cabin on Winslow Hill: Photo by W.Hill|
|Game Lands Maintenance Worker, Roger Beck, Mows SGL 311 near Winslow Hill Parking Lot: Photo by W.Hill|
|Mowing May Enhance Photographic Opportunities: Photo by W.Hill|
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.