*NOTE: All animals seen in this blog are dead, and were hunted legally, IN SEASON in Upstate, NY. Opening weekend of 'regular' season, Region 8.
So today's trip was to a deer check-in station at the DEC Region 8 HQ. This trip was not mandatory, and not very many people were able to participate due to few spots open. I jumped on it right away, and played hooky from work, because THIS is cool stuff.
So I went to the deer check station which is in Avon, NY with classmate of mine, Sara. We got there around 12:30, and there wasn't much hope of having many deer come through the line, since today is day #3 of the regular gun season, and this is not mandatory for hunters to do. The DEC's goals are to obtain biological information like: age, sex, age (determined by quality/quantity of teeth), where it was taken, and how it was taken. All of this information is used for future determination of management strategies in the region and across NYS.
Luckily, even though as predicted by the DEC biologists to be slow, several hunters pulled up with their deer.
After the excitement of the bear, the Region 8 Wildlife Manager, Mike Wasilco, asked me if I wanted to accompany him to a deer processing location just a mile down the road. This is where most hunters bring their kills after the check station to get butchered into steaks, sausage, etc.
Throughout the afternoon, over ~4 hours of work, we checked probably 70+ deer. It was gruesome work, even though all I did was fill out the paper work. As you can see, the deer are tightly packed, so Mike had to crawl over and through the deer to get to each animals head. He had to read the tags to me to get location information and tag #, then he had to pull open each deer's mouth to check the teeth. Bloody, back break work. I did not envy him. Still, it was a very interesting experience. As I said earlier, I have had no first hand experience with hunting, so I was fascinated to speak with the hunters, and to see the deer up close. Even though the white-tail is very common in NY, it's neat to see one up close.
Overall, today was a great afternoon. Makes me want to pursue this field even more. The hands-on stuff is the best part, I think.
For more pictures from today's events: click here!