Sunday, January 5, 2014

Game Warden Files--Yes, Still More winter memories

The renewal of our winter wars with snowmobiles in our tree farm brought back a memory of a time that doing basic good police work was trumped by just being in the right place at the right time.
It was a winter morning and I'd been headed back to the little community of Hope Falls, about the most idyllic spot in my sector. Driving down the road, you'd break over a little hill, look down into a valley where there was the perfect little farm, some open ground, a nice stream...a little slice of heaven looking like it had been left over from a previous century. It was a road that ended at a snowmobile trail head, it had a few homes and a couple camps so there was not a lot of through traffic back there.
I was headed down there one winter morning, when the guy who owned that perfect little farm flagged me down...and he was boiling! During the night, a few snowmobiles had come down the road--illegally, I might add--then come off the road onto his property and ridden down the outside of the snowbank which was right down the line of about a dozen small evergreens he'd planted just the summer before.  He hadn't even gone out to see how badly they'd been damaged, but the tracks ran right down the tops of them.
I assured him that I'd do anything I could to find the culprits, but didn't offer him any real hope. He didn't know how many machines there had been, had no description of them, he could only tell me about when he'd heard them go down the road.
I checked all the spots nearby where I thought I might get lucky and find a group of snowmobiles, but had no luck on that; so I was sitting at another trail head when a young man pulled up next to me in his car and started asking questions about where all the trails in the area came out. My curiosity aroused, I asked a few questions and found that he and his friends had been lost the night before while snowmobiling and had eventually found their way back to their starting point after wandering around that area for several hours. He was now out to figure out where they had been. The more he answered my questions, the more I was sure that he was one of the guys who had wrecked the farmer's trees.
I finally told him what I suspected he and his friends had done and he readily volunteered to follow me back to the farm and take care of any damages that they may have caused.
When we pulled into the farm's driveway, I looked back at him in and could see him nodding his head. They'd been through there the night before. The farmer came out, looking somewhat baffled and I told him I'd caught his snowmobile violators. He couldn't believe it. He was so baffled by the fact that I'd caught someone that when I left he and the suspect were talking like long lost friends. I don't thing he ever collected any damages...the heart-felt apology was enough.

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