Let’s Go for a Ride is the story of William (Bill) Livezey’s thirty-year career in the Maine Warden Service. Heralded as “one of the best covert investigators in the country” by Maine Warden Service Lieutenant Dan Scott, Bill is the agency’s longest-tenured undercover operative, having spent twenty years in the Special Investigations Unit.
“Let’s go for a ride” is the universal bad-guy code for breaking the law. Among Maine’s most sinister wildlife offenders, its utterance is prone to incite alcohol-fueled night hunting, high-speed car chases on winding country roads, drug dealing, arson, and attempted murder. The worst of the worst were Bill Livesey’s bread and butter.
His success at putting the truly bad guys out of business was driven by his upbringing as one of them. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Bill's father was a successful businessman whose blind ambition sent him down the dark path of drug trafficking. It wasn’t long before young Bill was tagging along and doing drugs with his dad. The aftermath of witnessing his father perish in a fiery standoff with police sent Bill spiraling out of control. He lashed out at law enforcement by dealing drugs, and he numbed the pain and confusion by doing them. Deep down, Bill knew his life was broken. When a high school football teammate invited him to attend a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting, he discovered his faith and a new path.
A graduate of Unity College, William Livezey briefly worked as a corrections officer in the Maine State Prison before beginning a thirty-year career in the Maine Warden Service. He worked for twenty years as an undercover investigator and in 2005 received the “Living Legend Award” as an Officer of the Month from the National Fallen Officers Memorial. He was named the Maine Warden Service Warden of the Year in 2004. Bill is also a recipient of the National Boating Award, and the Maine Warden Service has further recognized his duty with a Meritorious Service Award and six Exemplary Service Awards. After retiring from the Warden Service in 2020, Bill now lives in Hershey Pennsylvania, with his wife, Gail, where they serve as house parents at the Milton Hershey School.
Daren Worcester is the author of Open Season, True Stories of the Maine Warden Service. He has also been published in Backpacker and Down East magazines. A native of Hanover, Maine, and a graduate of the University of Maine, Daren lives in New Hampshire with his family.
1. Good Guys Versus Bad Guys — Bill tells his side of a controversial case in Allagash, Maine, debunks false information, and provides an overview of how covert operations in the Maine Warden Service function.
2. Armed and Dangerous — As a child growing up in Pennsylvania, Bill watched his
father morph from a successful businessman into a local drug kingpin. It wasn’t long
before he was doing drugs with his father and accompanying him on deals. Already
suspected of murdering his brother, Bill’s father becomes a fugitive when an undercover
agent arrests one of his dealers. At fifteen, Bill was on the scene when his father perished
in a fiery standoff with police, the aftermath of which sent him spiraling out of control.
Only when he finds faith does Bill escape following in his father’s footsteps.
3. Addicted — While accompanying legendary Maine Game Warden John Ford on
ride-alongs as a college student, Bill finds himself in several hairy situations
apprehending night hunters. He also learns the hard way that his past may prevent him
from getting his dream job.
4. A Promise to Keep — Finally hired as a game warden, Bill dives into his initial
probationary period in the challenging Lincoln district. After being warned by his
no-nonsense lieutenant that he’ll be gone if he so much as puts a scratch on his newly
issued department truck, Bill gets into his first-ever high-speed chase trying to apprehend
5. Ruffled Feathers — Bill’s early success as a district game warden comes with
consequences. Local drug dealers, tired of him finding and reporting their secret
marijuana gardens, concoct a ten-thousand-dollar murder-for-hire plot. Bill also learns
that his career is being closely watched by those responsible for covert investigations,
who believe his upbringing has provided unique training for undercover work.
6. One Step Ahead — A pirate rafting guide tests Bill with alcohol to ensure he isn’t a
warden in one of his first covert cases. In passing this test, he fails another, and Bill fears
that he isn’t cut out for the undercover lifestyle. It’s a hard lesson that he must learn to
control the situation.
7. The Poacher King — An enraged bear guide berates a close friend and hunting partner at gunpoint for compromising one of his dogs. Later in the case, Bill is confronted and threatened for the first time regarding whether he’s an undercover warden.
8. Thanksgiving Oath — Thanksgiving with a family of drug dealers and serious poachers leads to a confrontation when the intoxicated matriarch questions whether Bill is a cop. Her sons’ rabid defense of Bill in the heat of the moment turns to skepticism the
following morning, forcing Bill to shoot a deer to preserve the case.
9. Long Shot — A case working one of the most compulsive killers Bill has ever met and
his father, a retired police chief, returns Bill to Pennsylvania where he once again finds
himself in the middle of drug trafficking.
10. You Wouldn’t Believe Me If I Told You — The State Police involve Bill in the manhunt for an armed and dangerous fugitive. After narrowly missing the man at a remote cabin, the police and the accompanying ATF agents leave, believing the fugitive has fled the area. Convinced he is still there somewhere, Bill goes back alone to look for him. It’s a foolish effort that appears fruitless after hours of staking out the cabin. Only when Bill himself is ready to give up does he hear a strange sound coming from a ridge above.
11. Willing to Kill — Bill works a pair of poachers who are making credible death threats against their local warden—one of Bill’s closest friends. He soon learns that the duo is also into stealing Jeeps and dealing drugs. When a planned night hunt detours into a drug deal and heavy drinking at a Bangor bar, Bill has to make a split-second decision on whether to reveal his identity in order to stop a knife fight.
12. Over the Line — Bill’s worst fears of being discovered come to life when a drunken
sociopath with an appetite for mercilessly torturing deer before killing them comes at him
with a razor-sharp boning knife. Outnumbered six to one, his wits are his only defense.
13. The Tempest — An unstable and temperamental poacher commandeers Bill’s
undercover truck, taking him on wild, intoxicated ride that nearly ends in disaster. The
case’s trajectory changes when the target tries to murder a rival drug dealer and the State Police send Bill back in to gather evidence.
14. Caught Sailing — When it comes to poaching, an intense group of lobstermen separate the men from the boys by sailing — their term for hunting islands from lobster boats. It’s all fun and games until Mother Nature strikes back, catching Bill and his poaching captain in a monster storm.
15. The Allagash Way — Poachers’ true colors are revealed. Known locally as
“Moose Towners,” they believed that living on the fringe of society afforded them the
right to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. They dangerously hunted at
night from vehicles while intoxicated, vandalized property, illegally grew and sold
marijuana, and committed domestic abuse.
16. Are You an Undercover Warden? — Maine is one giant small town, and when a simple commercial trout fishing operation nearly brings Bill face to face with a violent criminal from his past, he realizes that twenty years undercover was a dangerous game of Russian roulette.