Today is the last day of deer hunting on the refuge. I think everyone who works here is happy to see it over. Who knew running a check station could be so time consuming?
It isn’t so much the TIME because it is only Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We work in shifts. First shift starts at 7:30 a.m. and works till 5:30 p.m., 2nd shift comes in at 11:30 a.m. and works till closing at 9:00 p.m. And it can get a little mind numbing if there aren’t any hunters coming in to check in their deer. OR it can get extremely busy, running both scales at once and two people letting you know the weight, the age, the condition and how many points or if it is a doe, etc. All of this info is hand written on a graph. While the others are doing the “physical” of the deer, the person doing the entering of info also has to talk to the person who took the deer and get their permit, the hunting license, their driver’s license and find out which compartment (section) they took the deer from.
One man came in yesterday with a 14 point. That is the largest, as far as points go, taken this year. The deer here are small. A lot of the points on this buck were very tiny, but they count if they are over 1” long. The buck dressed out at only 120 pounds…and that was minus one of the antlers! For whatever reason, while pulling the buck out of the woods, that antler came off in the guy’s hand.
BUT, the good thing about all of this is, the guys take turns cooking! Whoever has the morning shift fixes breakfast for those working the morning shift. And then another guy fixes the lunch. We are eating fine southern cooking! Yesterday for breakfast, Glen made egg casserole (lots of cheese!) and for lunch Toby made jambalaya and cheesy cornbread in a cast iron skillet.
When there are no deer to check in, we sit around and talk (and listen REAL carefully because some of the fella’s have such a southern accent that we two northerners have a hard time deciphering.)
For example, the guys were all talking about food and various ways to fix wild game. Then they got on the subject of pigs head and snout. It appears from that conversation that none of them would consider eating it, but the point being made is that some people do not let any part of the animal go to waste.
Glen then started talking about mountain hosses (not a typo..just trying to spell it the way it was pronounced). I kept listening to the conversation figuring I’d eventually be able to understand what a mountain horse is. About 5 minutes later I had to ask what a mountain horse was (could have been an edible weed for all I know).
Glen got this comical look on his face and said it again, and I still thought he was saying mountain horses. FINALLY THE LIGHT CAME ON!!! MOUNTAIN OYSTERS!!!! DUH!!! He was talking about pig testicles!
Next week, most everyone that works here will be off for vacation time. So, we are kind of on our own. I’m not sure what the other couple is doing next week (there are another couple camping here volunteering too), but we have a list of things that we have been asked to do. I HOPE to have some photos of one of the projects because it involves finishing off a very large fishing pier while the lake is drained…and it is all clay, so Dan and I hope it remains dry. Otherwise we’ll be taking our shoes to the pressure washer before we can even come in our 5th wheel.
Another project will be mowing a bit around the helipad and then painting the yellow markers on the pad. And of course more weed whacking to be done which will also be at the drained lake. This is the section that they will be doing the controlled burn on so we need to get as much fuel (meaning weeds, branches, etc) out of the way so they CAN control it.
So, we’re off to work in a bit. Catch up with ya later!!!