Michigan DNR is Hiring Recruits and Offering Accelerated Conservation Officer Training

Tracy Stengel

Petoskey State Park.Photo byTracy Stengel

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers have multi-faceted careers that change with the seasons. Conservation officers patrol land and water where people enjoy hunting, fishing, and recreation. This includes our beautiful state parks and forests, trails, lakes, and rivers.

The Michigan DNR is now hiring and offering eligible candidates an accelerated conservation officer training program. Currently, 14 counties in Michigan need to fill vacancies for essential conservation officers.

“The accelerated hiring process will allow licensed officers who have received general criminal training to bypass the traditional Conservation Officer Recruit School Academy and immediately begin their natural resources law enforcement training,” said Captain Jen Wolf, DNR Law Enforcement Division, said in a recent press release. “This helps us bring in skilled, motivated officers with diverse law enforcement experience to quickly fill existing vacancies.”

Michigan DNR conservation officers enforce laws pertaining to fish and wildlife, boating, snowmobiling, and ATV use. They also may be first responders to search and rescue efforts, active shooter situations, and natural disasters. They can perform traffic stops and make arrests. They are also educators who teach hunter and recreation safety classes.

To be considered, you must be 21 years old or older. You also need to be able to meet one of the following three criteria. You have a current Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards license OR be a graduating student from a law enforcement academy and eligible for immediate licensure upon employment OR be an out-of-state licensed law enforcement officer be able to meet MCOLES requirements.

The Michigan DNR will be taking applications until May 10, 2023. Keep in mind, you must be a Michigan resident before the training ends.

Applicants do not need to have hunting or fishing experience. Conservation officers come from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences. “This is a lifelong career, and we want to see applicants succeed,” Wolf said. “Our instructors are the best at what they do, and we will support each applicant to ensure they have what they need to be successful.

Becoming a conservation officer is an ideal career for outdoor enthusiasts. “I love the unique aspects of being a conservation officer — riding snowmobiles, ORVs, and boats. I get to do my job and enjoy being outdoors at the same time. We have flexible schedules, too, so I can coordinate with my family’s schedule,” said CO Alexander Bourgeois, hired in 2022, after working for the Royal Oak Police Department.

The Michigan DNR needs to fill vacancies in the following counties: Baraga, Cass, Chippewa, Eaton, Huron, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Mackinac, Midland, Ontonagon, Oscoda, Shiawassee, and Tuscola.

If you are considering applying for a job with the DNR, what aspects of being a conservation officer do you find most attractive? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

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Tracy explores the world with a positive eye, an open heart, and a sprinkling of humor. Without laughter, she would be lost.

Onsted, MI

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