Q: I want to fish but don’t know how and there are no clinics offered in my area. Does CDFW offer any online learning opportunities?
A: Yes – there is a series of short videos that cover basic fishing skills available on CDFW’s YouTube channel that are captioned in both English and Spanish. The videos cover the basics of fishing including knot tying, casting, rigging, safety and more. One advantage to these videos is that if you are out fishing and need a quick reminder, you can watch them online or download them to your phone. CDFW’s Recruit, Retain, Reactivate (R3) team also has a web page with information and resources to help you get started fishing. It can also be helpful to ask other anglers along the shoreline for assistance as most are more than happy to help bring new anglers into the sport. Remember a fishing license is required for all anglers 16 years or older. A license can be purchased online or at most stores that sell fishing tackle, including many chain drugstores.
If you’ve mastered the basics and are looking to grow your skills as an angler, consider attending one of the Virtual Gatherings offered by CDFW’s Fishing in the City program. Featuring a different topic each week, these online workshops provide a space to ask questions and learn tips, tricks, and best practices from CDFW staff and other anglers.
Q: I’m interested in becoming a wildlife officer. What are the requirements to become one and how does the timing of applications work?
A: Thank you for your interest! The next application cutoff date is December 1, 2022, so mark your calendar and conduct a self-evaluation to see if the career is a good fit for you. The first thing you should do is ensure you meet our minimum qualifications. The most stringent minimum qualification is the education requirement. To be a wildlife officer, you must complete 60 college units with 18 of those coming from a related field. However, you may apply with just 30 units of college, 18 of which must be earned in a related field. In that case, you will have to continue taking college courses during the application/background process to meet the 60-unit requirement by the time you start the academy.
The newly updated related fields are accounting, agriculture, animal science, anthropology, astronomy, biological sciences, botany, business, chemistry, computer science, communication, conservation, criminal justice, ecology, economics, English, entomology, environmental management, environmental science, environmental studies, ethnic studies, fisheries or wildlife management, forestry, geography, geology, herpetology, history, law enforcement, life science, mammalogy, marine biology, marketing, statistics, military transfer credits, multidisciplinary studies, natural resources conservation, oceanography, ornithology, physics, police science, psychology, plant taxonomy, political science, public administration, social studies, sociology and all social sciences, water quality management, wilderness survival and zoology.
You can have 18 units in any combination of the above classes and it does not have to be your major.
Other qualifications include:
• Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who has applied for citizenship (you must be a citizen at time of appointment).
• Possess a valid driver license.
• No felony convictions or convictions of any offense which precludes you from carrying a firearm under state or federal law.
• Be of sound physical condition, able to pass the Physical Abilities Test, a medical evaluation and a psychological evaluation.
Last year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division updated its cutoff dates for the application/hiring process. The cut-off dates are March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1. This means you have more opportunities to start the background/hiring process.
CDFW also made a recent change to its exam process, the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLETB). The PELLETB tests an applicant’s knowledge of basic grammar and spelling as well as the ability to read, write and understand the English language. CDFW does offer the PELLETB test. However, applicants are encouraged to take the PELLETB test and obtain their “T-Score” at an agency/department/academy where they live. The PELLETB test can be taken every 30 days which gives applicants the opportunity to improve their T-Score. Your PELLETB T-Score will be accepted if you have taken it within three years of your application date and received a score of 42 or greater. You will also need to provide proof (usually an official letter from the proctor) of your PELLETB T-Score when you submit your application.
Applicants who apply before the cut-off dates of March 1, June 1 and December 1 need to provide their own T-Score, or their application will be rejected. Applicants who submit applications without a PELLETB T-score for the September 1 cut-off date will be invited to the November PELLETB administration, put on by CDFW.
The following documents are required when applying:
• A completed state examination/employment application (STD 678) (PDF)
• Unofficial transcripts
• Criminal Record Supplemental Questionnaire (PDF Form)
• PELLETB T-Score (for the March 1, June 1 and December 1 deadlines)
You can submit the required documents through the following email address (emailed documents are preferred): WildlifeCadetExamSubmission@wildlife.ca.gov.
You can also mail a copy of all the required documents to:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attention: HR - Exam Unit
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244
To be considered for the next hiring cycle, you must turn in your application prior to December 1, 2022. Please contact our law enforcement recruiter, Lt. Perry Schultz, at BecomeAGameWarden@wildlife.ca.gov for further information.
If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.