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Character guest post
Tracking is an art. That’s what I’ve been told.
I’m Gabriel Hawke, Oregon Fish and Wildife State Trooper who is Paty Jager’s character in her new Gabriel Hawke series.
Growing up, I didn’t realize how learning from my Nez Perce grandfather to track animals and people would help me secure the job I coveted. Life on the reservation can be hard on a kid. I was lucky to have a mother who always told me I didn’t have to stay on the reservation, I could dream of getting out and do it. When the Army recruiter came to our high school, I saw joining as a way to get off the reservation and get work experience for later.
The military wasn’t much better than high school with there always being someone calling me Chief or Indian, but I didn’t get in too many fights and when I left the military, I had my sights on becoming a game warden in Wallowa County. I was specific about where I wanted to work, because the Wallowa area is where my ancestors wintered and summered. It was a sense of pride that made me want to watch over the animals and land of my forefathers.
To become a game warden, I had to be accepted into the Oregon State Police Academy. I was lucky to get in when they had received funding to put on more patrolmen. I worked patrol for seven years before the Fish and Wildlife division had an opening in Wallowa County. When it came open, I applied and received the job because of my tracking skills. With me in the county, they wouldn’t have to bring in a specialist to find lost backpackers and hunters. It was the first time I fully understood how special tracking, something I had taken for granted, was.
Now I am a seasoned Fish and Wildlife State Trooper who will continue working in the Wallowa Country until I can no longer ride a horse or drive a vehicle. But I will teach others how to track until I am no longer of this earth.
If you would like to learn more about me and how I am as tenacious as a bull dog when I want follow a trail, be it footprints in the dirt or clues to a murderer, check out my first book, Murder of Ravens.
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