When Maine game wardens join the service they swear a unique oath:
Recognizing the responsibilities entrusted to me as a member of the Warden Service of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife of the State of Maine, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the fish and wildlife laws of Maine, I pledge myself to perform my duties honestly and faithfully to the best of my ability and without fear, favor or prejudice. I will wage unceasing war against violation of the fish and game law in every form and will consider no sacrifice too great in the performance of my duty. I will obey the laws of the United States of America, and of the State of Maine, and will support and defend their Constitutions against all enemies whomsoever, foreign or domestic. I will always be loyal to and uphold the honor of my organization, my state and my country.
While I was writing The Poacher's Son, I had these words posted above my desk because they defined for me the values Mike Bowditch aspires to embody (not always successfully).