Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Poachers Moon


As the beautiful full moon rose on Friday evening my mind wandered back to the days when Willard and I were Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officers.

November was the month of the Deer Poacher.

Sporadic reports of night shooting would begin filtering in during August and increase with each passing week. As late November approached the calls of illegal hunting activity were coming in almost daily. The nature of the call would vary from that of late night gunshots being heard, to finding deer with only heads removed, to incidents where the landowners encountered or chased the offenders.

As Deputy Officers we worked whenever we could find time between our full time careers and family obligations. November was the month of little sleep. Weekends were spent doing long nights of patrol, often barely making it to bed before the dawn.

Watching this moon rise reminded me of those times. It reminded me of those beautiful cold clear nights standing outside our vehicles watching and listening for the poachers. By the light of the moon the dark shapes of deer would frequently pass by. The bark of a fox was always a pleasure to hear. The howls of the coyotes would sometimes filter past on the breeze. Along with the quiet sounds of nature were other sounds, squealing tires, roaring engines, blaring two-way radios and wailing sirens.

Night Patrol was my favorite part of the job. Catching the criminals, who think that it is great fun to drive the country roads late at night shining a light into animal’s eyes and then gunning them down, that was what made the job worthwhile.

15 comments:

Kerri said...

Absolutely stunning shot! The moon has been wonderful this month!
It is sad that hunters would do this but I'm glad there were and are officers like you out there to catch them!

david mcmahon said...

Beautiful shot. And the words took me back to my childhood and adolescence, when we used to spend winter nights ``spotting'' animals (not shooting them) in the wonderful Indian game sanctuaries, long before ecological balance became fashionable.

Chad Oneil Myers said...

Wow!

Really cool moon shot.

dot said...

This is one of the most beautiful moon shots I've seen!
It was interesting to hear an officer's side of the story. It gets pretty lively around our place some nites.

Lori said...

We had a wonderful moon this evening. I find it so fascinating...

Back in my younger days I used to sit in a blind with my husband..not with a gun, but with cameras. That's where the true treasure lies.

oldmanlincoln said...

Interesting photo of the moon and the story with it is also interesting. I really hate poachers and always wished they could be turned loose and hunted by their peers.

Bill said...

Cool shot, I love the trees in the foreground. I remember taking a photography class a number of years ago, and the instructor said, shooting the moon (so to speak) is easy since it is all bright sunlight. Just set the shutter to 125. I have found that this works but that a tripod and a little cropping help as well. You might enjoy my 12/31/06 shot where I played with this technique. You have inspired me to get out one night this week for some more night shots!

photowannabe said...

Fantastic moon shot Salty.
Now I understand even a bit more about your passion for wildlife. It shows in your words and comes through in your photos.

imac said...

Salty - wow, That is a great showing of the moon, great photo.


Think you mught like this
New post now showing

DeeMom said...

Awesome

TRM said...

Great moon shot, not an easy capture.

Gabriella said...

Oh this is STUNNING!

Meggie said...

Great moon shot, Salty. I'm surprised you didn't catch my silouette as I was flying by on my broom. It was a little chilly but a clear night for flying...good visibility.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Wow great moon shot.. I feel like howling at that one myself.
I like this text as well... I could read more... I bet between you and Willard is a fantastic book of stories, with pictures you have both took. A true best seller.. Put me down for a copy.

Melinda said...

BEAUTIFUL MOON SHOT!