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Hardy Ham-Game Warden Retires at 92

02/06/2015

At an age when most folks would hope to be still drawing breath, Harland Hitchings, K1HHC, retired recently as a game warden with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) -- after two duty tours and a total of 55 years of service. Hitchings, who lives in the Down East community of Princeton, has been a well-known figure in the in the Pine Tree State’s Amateur Radio community for many years. He became a game warden after high school, well before he got his ham ticket in the late 1950s, and he remained for 13 years.

“They gave me a uniform and a couple other things, and they put me in a camp in the woods,” Hitchings, now 93, told free-lance reporter and Maine SEC Phil Duggan, N1EP, for a January 14 article in the Machias Valley News Observer, a regional weekly. During his first stint as a game warden, Hitchings piloted a Piper airplane for the service, something he said he still misses.

Later Hitchings did electrical work and TV repair for 17 years before returning to the IFW as a recreational safety coordinator for Washington and Hancock counties, logging “thousands of miles and countless late nights and long weekends during his tenure,” the IFW said in announcing his retirement. During his second duty tour, he taught or coordinated courses in outdoor activities such as boating, firearms safety, trapping, boating safety, and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use. The IFW said Hitchings is “looking forward to assisting with future safety classes in the area.”

Hitchings told Duggan that he enjoyed chasing DX in his early years as a ham, but now he’s a regular presence on 75 meters, chatting with friends throughout Maine and elsewhere in New England and checking into the occasional net. He also still attends a hamfest or two around Maine. Lately, he’s taken up painting — mostly outdoor scenes. His advice: Get outdoors!

Hitchings is an honorary member of the Saint Croix Valley Amateur Radio Club in the US-Canadian border town of Calais. — Thanks to Phil Duggan, N1EP/Machias Valley News Observer

 



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