My heart just went numb when I heard the news about the conservation officer who was shot and killed in Gettysburg, PA, this past week. That is why I wanted to dedicate this week's column to not only our local conservation officers but to all officers who serve and protect native wildlife, farm animals, domestic animals and humans.
In my field as a trapper, I have encountered all types of wildlife. Yes, snakes are my preference, but I have years of experience as a Wildlife Trapper as well.
I have had the priviledge of working with wildlife officers in Michigan and Maryland, and they do not have an easy job. They choose to do this because, for most of them, it is a calling to help animals and people. They train very hard and deserve respect for the job they do.
Why that man was out spotlight hunting in the late night, we may never know. But it truly is a very foolish thing to do. There are laws that must be followed and the officers that enforce these laws do not deserve to be shot, spit on, hit or threatened in any way.
You, as a citizen, should know this also. Illegal hunting is happening more and more and there is not enough officers to cover large territories.
I fully support deer hunting but people need to follow the law and respect the hunt. If you are questioned by an officer, don't get smart. Just answer their questions and get on with what you should be doing. And don't blame the officer for issuing you a ticket. Blame yourself since they are only doing their job.
I have high respect for the officers since I have been trained by some of the best. I've been taught trapping methods such as tracking, how to use a tranquilizer gun, proper netting procedures and safe and humane trapping and removal.
I was also saddened to hear about the passing of FNP photographer Skip Lawrence. He came to my home two years ago to take pictures for a story they were doing about my work with snakes. It is true he loved animals. He took several photos of my snakes that day. Felt like a photo shoot for Snake Vogue Magazine but without the fancy clothes. Thanks Skip. I will never forget that day. So, to his family and to the family of the Conservation Officer, my condolences.
Well, until next time.......please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any wildlife or snake questions I can help you with.
Tammy McCormack is a professional snake trapper and writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.