An Assessment of Game Warden Personnel Needs in Texas

The goal of this study was to assess the law enforcement needs of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Data were obtained from several state agencies and a mail-out survey to Texas game wardens. Game wardens (N = 397) and their captains (N = 33) returned 685 of 690 mailed questionnaires (99% response rate). All 254 counties were represented. A regression model explained 78% of the total variation in the distribution of game wardens and estimated a statewide excess of 16 game wardens. In contrast, the game wardens indicated that 160 more game wardens were needed. Differences between the model estimates and wardens' perceptions were attributed to a lack of data (e.g., number of anglers, boaters, or campers), incomplete data (e.g., number of hunters for dove, pheasant, and waterfowl), and unreliable data (e.g., number of deer, quail and turkey hunters, and game harvests) for each county. Game wardens gave the highest importance values to these factors as determinants of game warden need in each county. Future personnel assessments will require county-level information on the number of hunters, anglers, boaters, campers, and the miles of flowing streams and rivers.

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