News 12 at 11 / Wednesday, December 11, 2013
JACKSON, Ga. (WRDW) -- She's got a badge and she can shoot a rifle with the best of them, but her DNR cap is not the only one she wears.
She's one woman with two jobs.
"It's a full day, a full workload for sure," said game warden Niki Spencer.
Niki Spencer is one of the only female game wardens in the state of Georgia.
As part of the law enforcement division of DNR, she's in charge of patrolling all the illegal hunting and fishing going on in two counties.
"She's very determined. She puts her mind to it, she's gonna do it. I wouldn't want to mess with her," husband Blake Spencer.
A tough woman among this group of men, but she's not intimidated. Being a game warden runs in her blood.
"Keeping it in the family and carrying on his legacy," Spencer said.
Her dad was the game warden before her. Now, she's following in his footsteps.
"My dad was a game warden for 30 years. He actually retired from the department about the time I got started," she explained.
"That's when I was still in the academy," Spencer said as she pointed to a picture of the two of them. "That's the day we actually got to work turkey hunting together so that was pretty neat."
Her job isn't all fun and games. Sometimes it can be dangerous. Last month she was part of a night detail to catch poachers.
"We want people to be safe and when people are riding around with loaded firearms and shooting into the darkness, not knowing where that bullet's gonna go, that's very unsafe," she said.
It's a risk she's willing to take as she puts her life on the line for a passion that runs through her veins. When she gets home, her work is just beginning.
"At home it doesn't stop just because I'm the game warden. When I get home I have either a crying baby, a house to clean, groceries to buy," Spencer said.
Somehow, she does it all.
"It's not a hobby. It's part of our lives, and that's what drives that passion to do this," said Spencer.
It's a legacy that makes her past, and present, family proud.
Just because her father was the game warden didn't mean she got the job automatically. Spencer had to apply, go through 18 weeks of Ranger School, and even take a polygraph test.