In 1895, the Montana Legislature saw the need for a formal state conservation agency to oversee Montana's wildlife resources and created the Board of Game Commissioners. Among their first actions was the setting of formal hunting seasons, the establishment of bag limits, and the granting of authority to each of the then 24 counties, on the commissioners' behalf, to hire one game warden to protect and preserve the diminishing wildlife. For a number of reasons, however, only four counties hired wardens.
By 1901, the Game Commission realized that county protection of wildlife would not be sufficient. In April of that year, the Commission created the Montana Fish and Game Department with one state game warden as its first and only employee. W.F. Scott took office in the city of Helena and faced the monumental task of enforcing Montana wildlife statutes across the state. Later that year, Scott was authorized to hire eight deputy game wardens. Over 1,000 people applied for these positions. Seven deputy wardens were ultimately stationed in Bozeman, Butte, Deer Lodge, Great Falls, Malta, and Miles City with another in Teton County. Scott instructed wardens to, "…Enforce the law without fear or favor…" and to do everything in their power to inform and enlighten the people regarding game protection and game laws in Montana. The salaries of these wardens were set at $100 per month, from which they were also expected to pay their travel and expenses. Their travel expenses alone often exhausted most of their salaries.