Find Your Career In The Outdoor Industry
Everyone knows that if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.
But what if you’re a bowhunter, and your greatest motivation for getting out of bed each morning is bowhunting and watching wildlife? Believe it or not, plenty of job opportunities await bowhunters who wish to turn their passion into rewarding careers.
The outdoor industry and state and federal wildlife agencies provide a variety of jobs, ranging from engineering and manufacturing professionals who create products for hunters, to wildlife biologists who use science to manage wildlife populations and sustain healthy habitats. Whether you prefer working in an office or outdoors, you’ll find opportunities in these diverse job sectors.
Determining a career path can seem overwhelming, but you can simplify it by knowing what you value in a job, and learning how those values fit into daily work duties. Let’s review five unique jobs in the outdoor arena.
If you love being outside and crave fast-paced work, you might make a great conservation officer. If you think that simply means “outdoor cop,” think again. These officers work in the field to protect our natural resources on the front line, and although enforcing laws is one of their duties, they have many responsibilities.
They help the public learn and understand hunting and fishing regulations, and they also lead search-and-rescue missions, and ensure state parks and public hunting lands are properly maintained. In fact, many would argue that “hunting guide” should be added to the job description, because many hunters ask conservation officers for their insights into hunting hotspots.
A law-enforcement background helps those seeking a career in conservation law-enforcement, but it’s not required in all states. You can bolster your resume and job opportunities with military experience, voluntary conservation work, and a degree in law enforcement or natural resources.
Wildlife biologists spend time in an office and afield. They might crunch numbers at their desk to determine harvest goals in specific areas, or they might be outside collaring and tagging fawns to monitor disease or predator impacts on white-tailed deer. Wildlife biologists shoulder great responsibility as they manage wildlife to ensure game species meet population goals. Adhering to those goals ensure quality habitat for all animals, not just game species.
Besides a passion for wildlife, wildlife biologists usually need a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology or ecology. Some universities offer programs specific to certain species, like Mississippi State University’s “Deer Lab,” which focuses on whitetails. Wildlife biologists also need strong communication skills to work with hunters and nonhunters alike.
Engineering and Manufacturing
If you open any hunting magazine or turn on a hunting TV show, you’ll see advertisements for bowhunting products. Manufacturers employ engineers and skilled craftsmen to create and make helpful bowhunting products. Although these are indoor jobs, the best engineering and manufacturing candidates have in-depth hunting knowledge that helps them create practical products that hunters value.
Most colleges have an engineering program, and graduates with a creative mind and bowhunting background will be ideal candidates for industry positions. Whether you want to design bows, treestands or the next revolutionary product, you’ll enjoy a competitive career in the industry if you create products that help bowhunters succeed.
Do you love bowhunting? Do you want to pass your knowledge onto others to recruit new hunters? If so, consider working as an educator for a state wildlife agency. Hunter numbers are declining nationwide, and state agencies and nonprofit groups often employ educators to work with diverse groups of prospective hunters.
These professionals must monitor trends in hunter recruitment, and connect and communicate with people from all walks of life. People who are passionate about bowhunting and the hunting lifestyle can enjoy an exciting, rewarding career by introducing newcomers to archery, the outdoors and shooting sports.
State wildlife agencies also employ program managers to lead teams that manage public lands, conduct wildlife and habitat surveys, and explain their programs’ goals and benefits when meeting with citizens and politicians. Successful program managers are leaders, so they must be organized, self-motivated, and able to delegate tasks.
They also must be effective communicators, because much of their work involves coordinating meetings, briefing team members and implementing effective strategies to achieve their mission. A degree in biology, natural resources or communications help applicants land these jobs.
These careers are a snapshot of routes into outdoor employment. Although these positions require different job skills and backgrounds, a love for bowhunting and the outdoors is a great asset as you plan your career or job search. Countless opportunities await in the outdoors, but if you let your sheer enjoyment for bowhunting and wildlife guide your search, you won’t be steered wrong.