Connecticut isn't alone, notes Kurt Bahti, president of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association. "It's generally pretty much the same all across the United States," he says. Due to a plethora of budget crises, many states are saving money the old-fashioned way: by not filling open positions. This began to happen around 2000, when many baby-boomer-aged wardens were eligible for retirement. Then operating budgets for vehicles and equipment took hits. Initially, the problems were under the radar, but cracks began to show a couple of years ago.