Learn about the DNR's COVID-19 response and how the current health emergency is impacting DNR facilities, services and events.
Conservation Law Enforcement
Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Law Enforcement Bureau to protect the State's natural resources, to provide public safety and to educate and serve the public. We enhance, promote, and protect the natural resources of this state through public relations, education, and law enforcement, thus ensuring for future generations the rights, privileges and benefits we now enjoy.

Conservation Law Enforcement

Natural resources law enforcement is one responsibility of the Iowa DNR, which is the state government agency that protects and enhances Iowa's natural resources.  The department also oversees fisheries, wildlife, parks, forestry, and environmental protection.

The Law Enforcement Bureau has 90 conservation officers including six supervisors, six recreational safety officers, and 78 field officers.  All are fully certified state peace officers with the authority to enforce all Iowa laws.  As U.S. federal deputy game wardens, they also may cross state lines when violations of federal wildlife laws have been committed.

State Map with Contact information by County [PDF]


The primary responsibilities of officers are to:

  • Enforce laws related to hunting, trapping, fishing, navigation, commercial fishing, snowmobiling, and all-terrain vehicles.
  • Investigate incidents involving outdoor recreation.
  • Inspect game breeders, taxidermists, bait dealers, and other commercial users.
  • Educate adults and children through hunter education, outdoor skills workshops, and other courses.
  • Communicate with schools and community groups through public programs, and with the media through TV, newspaper, and radio shows.

Field officers typically cover one or two county territories.  Recreational safety officers cover up to 19 counties and perform similar duties as field officer while coordinating safety education program and assist with investigations.  Bureau supervisors oversee officer activities in regional offices across the state.

Officers' work schedules vary with the seasons and activities.  They work most weekends, particularly in hunting seasons and summer holidays, and have two days off per week.  Officers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week by radio and telephone.  Most maintain offices in their homes and in their assigned work vehicles.

Equipment is an important part of a conservation officer's job. The DNR equips officers to perform their diverse duties with uniforms, firearms, and seasonal apparel including waders, snowmobile suits, and flotation devices.

Each officer is issued a patrol vehicle equipped with lights, siren, cell phone, computer, and radio. Other transportation tools include boats, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles.

After completing initial basic training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, newly hired officers must complete the Probationary Conservation Officer Academy and Field Training Program.  Officers then hone their skills through ongoing training in defensive tactics, firearms, communication skills, ice and swift water rescue, and law enforcement driving, to name a few topics.  Many officers act as instructors for the bureau and other law enforcement agencies.

Conservation officers are usually highly motivated, independent workers. They tend to be career employees; turnover can be relatively low and hiring is competitive. However, for those who have a strong desire to work in natural resources and with the people who enjoy them, it can be a rewarding career.

Applications for full-time positions are selected through an extensive interview and testing process that includes a physical agility test, cognitive test, and psychological exam. They must meet all the requirements to be a state peace officer.

Candidates should have excellent communication skills, be flexible and adaptable, and act in a fair and ethical manner. Individuals selected as conservation officers usually have four-year degrees in fish and wildlife management, biology, criminal justice, or similar fields. Most also participate in outdoor recreation and have prior experience in natural resource fields.

 

interstate wildlife violation compact

Purpose The purpose of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is to assure that in participating states, non-resident violators will receive the same treatment as resident violators. The IWVC member states reciprocate regarding the suspension or revocation of licenses and permits resulting from violation of hunting, fishing, or trapping laws. If an individual's license or permit privileges are revoked in one compact member state, they are subject to suspension or revocation in all other member states. For example, if an Iowa resident has their hunting privileges suspended in Minnesota, their privileges may also be suspended in Iowa and in all other compact states. This helps prevent habitual violators from relocating their illegal activities to other member's states.

The IWVC also has established procedures that cause a non-resident violator who fails to comply with the terms of a citation issued in a participating state to face the possibility of the suspension of his wildlife license privileges in their home state until the terms of the citation are met.

The goal of the IWVC is to facilitate improved enforcement of hunting, fishing, and trapping laws through the cooperation of law enforcement units in member states.

History The topic of an interstate violator compact was first broached in the 1980s. Law enforcement agencies were looking for a way to deal with individuals who violated wildlife and resource laws outside their home state or in multiple states. Their work came to fruition in 1989 when the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact was passed into law in Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon. Iowa became an active member of the compact in 2003.

Members Currently, there are 35 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. They include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact - Membership Map Member States: Yes (35) No (15) Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact -Membership List For More Information Aron Arthur Law Enforcement Bureau 502 East 9th Street Des Moines, IA 50319-0034 Phone: 515-725-8478

Seasonal Patrol Officers

The application period is CLOSED. Application deadline was Dec. 27, 2019.

Water Patrol Information Sheet

Locations: The following are POTENTIAL positions that MAY be available. Only indicate on your application those that you are willing and able to work; i.e. only those areas that you would accept employment if offered. Some locations have minimal housing available included at no cost as a condition of working those stations. Those locations are not yet determined. Applicants can indicate if housing is preferred or needed.

 

Water Patrol: IOWA LAKES/DICKINSON COUNTY (NW IOWA) STORM LAKE (in Buena Vista County) (NW IOWA) BLACK HAWK LAKE (in Sac County) (NW IOWA) NORTH TWIN LAKE (in Calhoun County) (NW IOWA) MISSISSIPPI RIVER Pool 10 @ MARQUETTE/MACGREGOR (Clayton County) (NE IOWA) MISSISSIPPI RIVER Pool 9 @ HARPER'S FERRY (Allamakee County) (NE IOWA) MANCHESTER AREA (in Delaware County) (NE IOWA) MISSISSIPPI RIVER Pool 11 @ DUBUQUE (Dubuque County) (NE IOWA) MISSISSIPPI RIVER Pool 12 @ BELLEVUE (Jackson County) (NE IOWA) CLEAR LAKE @ (in Cerro Gordo County) (NC IOWA) MISSOURI RIVER/LAKE MANAWA (in Pottawattamie County) (SW IOWA) MISSOURI RIVER/CARTER LAKE (in Pottawattamie County) (SW IOWA) MISSISSIPPI RIVER @ MONTROSE (in Des Moines and Lee Counties) (SE IOWA) MISSISSIPPI RIVER @ PRINCETON/CLINTON (Scott and Clinton Counties) (SE IOWA) MISSISSIPPI RIVER @ FAIRPORT (Muscatine and Louisa Counties) (SE IOWA) CORALVILLE RESERVOIR (in Johnson County) (SE IOWA) LAKE RATHBUN (in Appanoose County) (SC IOWA) LAKE REDROCK (in Marion County) (SC IOWA) SAYLORVILLE LAKE (Polk County) (C IOWA)

Contact Information

State Map with Contacts

District One
Iowa DNR, NW Regional Office
Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery
122 - 252nd Avenue
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
Office number: (712) 336-1840

District Two
Iowa DNR, NC Regional Office
1203 N. Shore Drive
Clear Lake, IA 50428
Office number: (641) 357-3517

Iowa DNR, NE Regional Office
Manchester Fish Hatchery
22693 - 205th Avenue
Manchester, IA 52057
Office number: (563) 927-3276

District Three
Iowa DNR, SW Regional Office
Cold Springs State Park
57744 Lewis Road
Lewis, IA 51544
Office number: (712) 769-2587

District Four
Iowa DNR, SE Regional Office
Lake Darling State Park
110 Lake Darling Road
Brighton, IA 52540
Office number: (319) 694-2430

Central Office
Iowa DNR, SC Regional Office
Wallace State Office Building
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Office number: 515-725-8200