Avon Park AFR Florida Military Special Places Workamping

Home on the Range…

These are Sandhill Cranes – roaming freely through the range

This holiday season finds us in sunny Florida workamping at Avon Park Air Force Range. We are enjoying getting to know more about our jobs here and we have no complaints! It’s December and today’s temps are in the 80’s.

The volunteers met for a Thanksgiving Pot Luck organized by Dee

As I explained in last month’s post, we rotate through weekly assignments here at Avon Park. Our first couple of weeks we got familiar with the game check station. Since then we have learned about opening and closing the range for the weekly hunting schedule and we’ve manned the “Frostproof Gate.”

Some of the hunting units are for military hunters only

The Open/Close/Post assignment is fairly simple. It just involves a lot of driving around the range. When the new range/hunt schedule comes out we post it at kiosks throughout the range. We take our assigned volunteer vehicle and drive approximately 60 miles, posting at the gates and campgrounds. We radio range control to gain clearance before opening gates within the bombing range.

The roads are rough with few street signs and no street lights so the drive is slow. This assignment usually needs to be done after dark so that slows down the process as well.

We lucked out and our first time to post was during daylight hours. We took our vehicle to get gas and a quick wash on base before heading out.

Along the way we met a military hunter coming out with a doe. Mark was able to help him load it into his truck.

Besides posting schedules, we also flip tags at 2 of the campgrounds to show which units are open for hunting.

The campgrounds on Avon Park are all primitive; no hookups and only port-a-potties and solar powered showers available. Some of the campgrounds allow generators, some do not. It is the volunteers’ job to make sure the campgrounds are mowed. Volunteers have access to weed-eaters and a zero turn mower for use in maintaining the grounds.

Another assignment we recently completed was Frostproof Gate. This job involves manning the gate for hunters to sign in between 5 am and 9 am on open hunting days. After unlocking the gate, we sit in the booth well equipped with radio, TV, VCR, Videos, a small fridge and a heater (believe it or not last weekend it was in the 40’s at 5am.) Some hunters like to come in this gate to get quicker access to areas they prefer to hunt in. At 9 am we lock everything back up. Hunters can sign out at the Hunt Headquarters. The hardest part of this job is getting up early!

That’s all we’ve learned so far. We have been able to see a little bit of Florida in the past month too but we’ll save that for next post. We hope you are loving life, wherever you may be at the moment! As always, let us know if you have any questions, we look forward to hearing from you.