Warden Recruit DUCK SCHOOL

What is Warden Recruit “Duck School”?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has an extremely comprehensive 038training program that all warden recruits must successfully complete, before they are placed into their first duty station.  One part of this training involves an entire week, focused on the complex rules, regulations, hunting situations, diversity of species, and traditions surrounding waterfowl hunting.  This week is called Duck School.  Wisconsin’s program is held in such high regard, that some years, partners from other agencies, including: USFWS, GLIFWC, and other states send representatives of their agencies to participate in the training.  The final day of Duck School involves a series of examinations, sure to test the recruit’s skills in waterfowl ID, knowledge of our various rules and laws, both state and federal, and many of the enforcement tactics they’ve learned over the week.  Additionally, the recruits are broken up into pairs, each with an experienced mentor-warden, and have to face a half-dozen or more scenarios, where civilian-actors play out roles they have been assigned, and the recruits must determine what, if anything is wrong, how to handle the situation, and determine if any citations or other actions are to be taken.  Then, the scenes are broken down, with the mentors, and actors, providing immediate feedback and insight to the recruits, to help them when they’ll be in the field, doing the determinations, in the real world.

How WWA is involved with Duck School:

WWA is proud to have a long history of providing staff & volunteers to assist this process, as actors in the field-day scenarios.  Our involvement goes back many years, and recently we’ve been frequent participants, with Duck School classes convening in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018, first in the Horicon, and now, LaCrosse areas – with frequent warden recruit classes coming along, to help stem the tide of loss from retirees from our warden staff.

Additionally, WWA is proud to continue the legacy of presenting the warden recruit with the highest score on the final exam of Duck School with the incredible waterfowl reference book: Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America.  This beautiful, 2 volume hard-bound set provides an amazing resource for everyone on the waterfowl who call our continent home, and is sure to be a useful tool to our future law enforcement partners, as a token of our appreciation for their outstanding performance in our “neck of the woods”…


Ryan Mannes, left, winner of the 2018 Duck School, accepts his award from former WWA ED Don Kirby