Friday, December 13, 2013

Game Warden Files--Reflections

Sinatra sang about having regrets too few to mention, and that's the way my career with DEC was. There were some mistakes made along the way, to be sure, but overall, it was a great career. Not many folks have had the variety of experiences that an ECO gets to have--and get paid to have them.
Seeing the sun rise on an open ocean or over a salt marsh, or watching it set with the same view is something that not all experience. Riding an open boat on the ocean in waves taller than the length of the boat is something that few have done; I got to do it with a boat operator so good that it was a fun ride, not a fearful one. Over the years that I navigated through fog thicker than the proverbial pea soup, arriving home safely.
The job took me deep into the Adirondacks in summer, winter, spring and fall. Though I used snowmobiles well enough, I preferred to make make treks on snowshoes or skis. My checking snowmobiles deep in the woods while on skis was an eye opener for the them to be sure! Of course, trekking open ground on snowshoes did cause some interesting moments when the ice on a beaver pond wouldn't support my weight; and it happened more than once when the trappers were really active; but I survived it.
I spent two nights with another ECO babysitting a dam on a remote lake in case some eco-terrorists decided to blow it up. We lit a fire and enjoyed our night...what else could we do?  Watching the sun set while hearing the call of loons and seeing it rise again while watching ospreys fishing the lake made for a pretty good time.
Over the course of they years, I got handled all manner of wildlife, both alive and dead, and had a hand in rehabilitating and releasing many game animals to the wild. Watching a golden eagle that was as good as dead only a few weeks before, but was now health and flying free was partly through my efforts, was pretty neat. We tracked her via telemetry until she molted somewhere in Labrador. Things like that add some significance to the job.
All that and more having happened, I also don't regret making the decision to put it behind me and retire. Though I still loved the law enforcement profession--particularly fish and wildlife enforcement, it was time to leave the demands of full-time work behind. I have chosen to to continue in the profession, now having two part-time police jobs and working a day or two a week instead of 50 or 60 hours. That keeps me pretty happy.
Regrets? Too few to mention.

No comments:

Post a Comment