Game wardens have an unenviable job, working long hours in remote areas and interacting with a public that is, by its very nature, often armed. So what is the life of a game warden like? That's exactly what Louisiana Sportsman contributor Jerald Horst reveals in his latest book.

"Game Wardens, On Patrol in Louisiana" ($34.95, LSU Press) is the result of a year-long venture during which Horst rode on patrol with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents to chronicle their adventures and provide a close-up view of their demanding job.

From the piney woods of Northwest Louisiana to the soggy Mississippi River delta and beyond to the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Horst accompanied dozens of wildlife agents, observing them, asking questions, sometimes sitting for hours with no action – and occasionally fearing for his life, as in the case of one speedboat chase. His candid observations show that the work of agents is often mentally and physically challenging; sometimes tedious; and, more often than would be expected; humorous.

Whether wardens are conducting routine checks of law-abiding sportsmen or in pursuit of suspected poachers, the unanticipated is the norm. A seemingly ordinary stop can turn deadly in an instant. As one officer told Horst "complacency can get you killed." Serving as a game warden is a way of life, and Horst relates how the agents he met came to their calling.

Horst also is author of  Trout Masters: How Louisiana's Best Anglers Catch the Lunkers; and co-author of Angler's Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico; The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Shrimp and The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crawfish. He also is a past president of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association and a retired professor of fisheries at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.