During the first week of the shotgun deer hunting season, DFW biologists are stationed at deer check stations across the state to collect data from the deer brought in by successful hunters. This is part two of my day at the Nantucket check station. My companion was Jim Cardoza, a volunteer DFW retiree, who headed up the bear and turkey programs and who has worked at the island check station for years.
10:30AM—One of the few women hunters we see pays us a visit after successfully killing an eight-point buck. She had been in the day before with a deer, but this deer had her bouncing with excitement. Lorraine lives in New Hampshire, but in the past few years has been hunting on the Island with a relative and one of his friends. She graciously allows me to take a picture of her and her deer after we load it back into the truck. Her ear-to-ear smile tells the whole story!
NOON—As we munch on our sandwiches, a hunter comes in, apologizing for disturbing our meal. He’s got a deer and wants another deer permit, but encourages us to finish lunch. After checking his deer, more hunters begin to appear at a steady pace. By 3 P.M. we have checked at least 50 deer.
4 PM—Visitors arrive in the form of students, a newspaper reporter and a local physician. Dr. Lepore collects ticks from the hunters’ deer; they will be sent to Tufts Veterinary School to be examined by a tick researcher. Two students from Nantucket High School plan to use ticks in a science fair project. The other students are college juniors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute working on a class project that relates to communicating about tick-borne diseases to the public. Jim Cardoza gives the group an overview on deer management as I continue to check deer and chat with the hunters piling into the building.
6:15 PM—We check our final deer. There were so many deer to check, we close the station gate at 5:30 and document nearly 20 deer in the last 45 minutes. Our total for the day is 96 deer. Jim mops the floor, while I shut down the computer and printer and then we pull off our coveralls. Dr. Lepore is pleased with his sample of ticks. We load the car with our coolers, computer and deer records and drive back to our lodging. My final task is to call the local reporter with the day’s deer count. It was a long yet interesting day.