“The limited number of California game wardens are the “thin green line” of environmental and wildlife protection. California’s native animals, wild spaces and natural resources are at risk by those who put greed over nature. Game wardens give them a chance to survive and thrive and be here for future generations.”
Filming Wild Justice
In October 2009, the “Wild Justice” film crew arrived in town to begin filming the pilot for a new reality TV series for the National Geographic Channel about California Fish and Game wardens.
Filming started with my patrol squad throughout Santa Clara and San Benito Counties, then expanded to include the allied agency Santa Clara County Marijuana Eradication Team (MET). What started as an open-ended 2-3 day filming plan, for a pilot show slowly developed into three weeks of non stop filming that ultimately ended up being the first couple episodes of the show.
Each day of filming entailed several hours of equipment preparation for warden staff and the film crew. Rigging patrol trucks, airplanes, patrol boats, ATV’s, rifles, and warden’s bodies with cameras, and then having the crew ride, hike, camp with all of us throughout patrols and special operations and high risk details, made for long, tiring, and very rewarding days and nights!
As filming continued, everyone involved in the production became more motivated and excited about the show. With the crew (producers, cameramen, sound engineers, and production support staff) coming from incredibly dangerous and physically challenging shows such as Deadliest Catch, Axe Men, and Ice Road Truckers, this crew was looking for action. And after an entire year of filming with warden teams throughout the state, they had been exposed to more game warden action throughout the wild lands of California than they, or us, ever expected.
With 11 episodes and an entire season of the show completed, I would never have imagined when starting my career over 20 years ago, being part of a reality TV series. Countless hours were spent quietly stalking the mountains, in camouflage and face paint, on the hunt for marijuana growers. The team eradicated thousands of marijuana plants and documented the on site pollution, streambed destruction, and wildlife poaching that takes place at the grow sites.
As you watch the show and become part of the “Wild Justice” experience, brace yourself for some of the most exciting and unexpected warden stories imaginable.
~ John Nores