January 25, 2006

A life outdoors

The Denver Post profiles district wildlife manager Lonnie Brown of La Veta, Colorado. (Link may expire.)

Like a lot of game wardens, Brown patrols with his dog, Romo, both for companionship and because the dog's nose can be useful.

"He's a good buddy - probably the best dog I've ever had ride with me," Brown says. "He's helped me with a few law enforcement cases" - finding deer heads or legs left behind by poachers - "and when bears were a big problem in 2001, he fought a lot of bears for me. He won't track them like a hound, but he'll hassle them enough to make them move on."

Given recent reporting on upcoming retirements among Brown's colleagues, I wonder if I am detecting the fine hand of the Colorado Division of Wildlife's public-information staff here.

Well, fine. If so, they are earning their salaries. Brown's life sounds a lot better than spending 9 to 5 in a "cube farm."

Brown, who sports the lawman's signature mustache, doesn't really have an office except for his truck, equipped with a pair of two-way radios, a cellphone with sporadic service, and an industrial-strength laptop called a Toughbook, with which he can instantly check to see if someone has a fishing license, for example.

In the door pockets and back seat, he carries manuals of rules, citation tablets, maps, a cattle brand book, a duffel of winter survival gear and a camouflage coat "in case I get out somewhere I don't want to be conspicuous."

Doesn't that beat looking at beige walls and eating lunch in the food court?

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