Game warden Troy Thibodeau, one of the stars of Animal Planet’s “North Woods Law,” covers southern Androscoggin County, from Lisbon Falls to Poland. This time of year, he does a lot of it by sled.

After an appendectomy last month, he’ll be riding a bit gingerly this winter. We asked about hopping on a snowmobile for work and keeping it safe. 

Name: Troy Thibodeau

Lives: Greene

Age: 33

This time of year, how much of your job is on snowmobile? I try to do about half my week on the snowmobile if the conditions allow it. Snow conditions are the limiting factor. When there is snow, Lewiston-Auburn is a wonderful place to ride locally. The local clubs do a great job grooming.


Farthest you’ve driven for work? Most of the time 100-150 miles. There are wardens in other parts of the state that drive many more miles than that in a day. It is tougher down in this part of the state due to the varying snow and ice conditions. One hundred miles on local trails down here feels like a thousand miles up north. In northern Maine the trails are so much wider, straighter and, typically, the snowpack is deeper.

Farthest you’ve driven for fun? Three hundred miles or so in a day. I used to ride a lot recreationally when I was younger. I spent a lot of time riding from Carrabassett Valley to Jackman.

Basic safety step most frequently ignored? Let people know where you will be riding; leave an itinerary in the vehicle if possible. Have a local knowledge of the area you will be riding, a general sense of where you may be going and where you may end up. Know the local snow and ice conditions. Have an ability to create a fire. Be prepared if you break down if you plan on riding in the back-country.

You’re probably driving at full alert — even then, have you had or seen any close calls? Had some close calls with wildlife, moose and deer on the trail. I would caution riders to be aware of wildlife utilizing groomed snowmobile trails as well as other recreation enthusiasts.

What drew you into becoming a warden? The freedom of the job. Each day I get to decide or choose what I want to do for the day.

You mentioned a passion for fishing. Biggest fish you’ve caught ice fishing? Can’t give up my spots. I haven’t really caught any huge fish, some big pike, bass and togue. I mainly chase after pan fish.


Pan fish? Crappie and perch.

Biggest fish tale you’ve ever heard or told? I get to hear stories every day I check fishermen — one of the best parts of the job. I will say there are some of those stories that are embellished. Not saying fishermen are liars, but they sometimes tell some great fish stories.

Bonus: In his off-time, Thibodeau said he fishes and hunts as much as he can and, soon, he’ll start passing it on to the next generation: “As my kids get older, that’ll be a lot more fun, too. I’ve got to teach them well so they can fill their bag limit.”

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On the web

Visit for more safety tips and rules of the snow.

Visit for the latest on Maine game wardens’ reality TV adventures.

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