Oklahoma Game Wardens Meet Same Training Requirements As Police

Monday, April 27th 2015, 6:19 pm
By: Tess Maune

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation released the name of the man who was shot and killed by an Oklahoma game warden Sunday.

Investigators said Billy Patrick held the warden's head under water when he tried to arrest Patrick.

4/27/2015 Related Story: OSBI Names Arkansas Man Killed By Game Warden

A game warden meets the same training requirements as a police officers, the only difference is game wardens often times work by themselves in rural areas with back up miles and miles away.

With more than three decades of experience, Carlos Gomez knows the risks that come with wearing a Game Warden's badge.

“There's been a few times where I felt like that was a close one,” Gomez said.

There are 117 game wardens patrolling Oklahoma's 77 counties.

Information Education Supervisor Colin Berg said wardens have the authority to go on public and private land.

“Wherever they see someone hunting or fishing, they can go on that piece of property to check and make sure they're abiding by the state laws regarding what licenses they're supposed to have,” said Berg.

The wildlife department does not get any state appropriated money; instead it's funded solely through hunting and fishing license sales.

Before regulations were put in place in the early 1900s, Berg said the state's wildlife was close to being wiped out. Once the state brought in wardens, the population started to rebound.

“Anytime you got rules, you've got to have somebody that's gonna enforce them,” Berg said.

The OSBI said that's what a warden in Adair County did Sunday. He was checking for fishing licenses, when the warden found Patrick was wanted for a parole violation.

4/26/2015 Related Story: OSBI: Man Killed After Holding Oklahoma Game Warden's Head Under Water

The officer said Patrick fought him when he tried to arrest him.

Investigators said the two men fell into a pond during the struggle and that's when a report says Patrick tried to hold the officer's head underwater.

Agents said the warden was able to get above water and shoot Patrick who died at the scene.

“Something bad can happen in all kinds of ways, we just have to be careful about those things and how we do our business,” said Gomez.

The name of the game warden who was involved in Sunday's shooting is not being released at this time.

The Wildlife Department said he is on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete.