David Kocka is a wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Contrary to belief, he explains, biologists are not park rangers or game wardens. Mainly, they perform scientific work in the field and in offices most of us would find boring—and this book covers none of it. Rather, it relays all the other things Kocka does that remind him his duties are apt to evolve at a moment’s notice.
Specifically, it’s the interaction between 8.47 million people and the wildlife that also inhabits Virginia that Kocka finds amusing and at times trying.
His often humorous “tails” (all short, all worth taking to deer camp) highlight a reminder that deer are not pets even if they are raised in the basement of a double-wide; the difficulty in convincing people they need bear-proof trash containers; and his work on a 10-year bear study when Kocka personally dealt with dozens of bruins that were trapped, tagged and cataloged. What is also amusing is the number of times Kocka must dart a deer or bear in the presence of witnesses. It’s enough to remind us we are lucky if we never become the fool who accidentally darts a bystander.