What is a Game Warden’s wife (or BLM Ranger, Forest Service LEO, Park Service LEO, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, conservation officers, or “like” careers)?
A game warden’s wife is a woman who is wed to a man who is “married” to his job, supervisor, and his badge. She can usually be found reheating dinners, or putting it away because he was out longer than planned. She is used to shoe shining, gun cleaning, picking up multiple cans of starch and lots of paperwork. Moreover, she is all too familiar with spending many nights alone. Law enforcement wives in general can relate to this. But when you break down each specific career some things are different.
A game warden’s wife must be a good listener and very understanding. Extra added stress is no good for any LEO. It doesn’t mean she won’t get sad or angry, but in our life we know things rarely go as planned.
Game Warden’s Wife
A game warden’s wife must live with 12-14 hour shifts, sometimes way more. He spends most of his time patrolling hunts, spending time on dirt roads and going where there is no cell service. He has no partner. Sometimes dispatch can’t even reach him, and this is just a normal day. When it comes to the dirt roads “the game warden knows.” They tend to know them like the back of their hand and often can assist other agencies when there is a SAR (search and rescue), etc.
Like other LEOWs, she knows lonely holidays, bad jokes, alcohol, bulletproof vests and fixed incomes. She is used to words like hunting, poaching, cross country travel, OHV violations, trapping, illegally guiding, missing persons, search & rescues, drugs, alcohol, fatalities, DUI and boating violations. She is familiar with night patrols, stakeouts, man hunts, overtime which is really computed as comp time (for certain agencies). Furthermore, it doesn’t do any good to accrue time that can never be used.
Most women are not born or raised to be a game warden’s wife. It is something that they have chosen to do. Some can and others cannot. She will spend each day learning, listening to, reading about, and loving a man that few people respect and most others hate. But, that doesn’t faze her. He does his job and he does it damn well.
Like many other LEOWs, a game warden’s wife cares for beds, breakfasts, dinners, school, dance, sports, house, herself & more. A game warden spends more time with coworkers, supervisors, meetings, hunters, guides, poachers, pilots, and wildlife than his wife. But, she knows his love for her and he’s doing something he’s passionate about and can rely on a strong support system at home. She attends agency dinners, meetings, and sometimes funerals. After all, blue family is blue family.
A LEOW watches as the man she loves grows old before his time, sometimes watches him become cold and unfeeling, because in this line of work they see things and experience things most wouldn’t wish upon their worst enemy. But, she will forever remain his friend, wife, mother of his children and lover. She will always be these things to him, but also knows, he is first . . . a law enforcement officer.
When a wife kisses her LEO as he leaves for work, she will make a silent prayer that he will return to her. And every time there is a knock at the door, she will pray it is not the police, but rather her husband’s sector coming to say kind things about him. For instance, how brave he was, how dedicated he was, etc. Over time it gets easier. However, this was written when I was a brand new wife and started this career out as a game warden’s life.
Being a game warden’s wife means a lot of trust, love, and worry. But when he says, “I love you,” it makes it all worthwhile.
– Desiree Felish
(Photos courtesy Desiree Felish)