Filling in for the fall
Craig residents take second jobs during hunting season
Craig At first, Chelsey Herod just wanted to get experience.
So, when The Backwoods Diner needed some help for the hunting season two years ago, she took the job.
"My mom told me I might need to waitress some time in my life so I should learn at a young age," she said about the job she took as a high school senior.
Herod is one of many Craig residents who take a second job for the visitor-heavy hunting season.
"I really like doing it," she said. "There are some familiar faces every year, and it seems like everybody is always friendly."
This will be Herod's third year helping at Backwoods. She said she enjoys it enough that she doesn' t mind the extra-long days that will start Oct. 13.
"I work at Backwoods from 4:30 (a.m.) to 9 (a.m.), and then I go to my other job," she said. "The days are long, but it's easy money for Christmas."
All around Craig, the signs of hunting tourism are starting to show. The first of the two largest tourism weeks, the unlimited rifle season from Oct. 20 to Oct. 28, is quickly approaching.
Accompanying "Welcome Hunters" banners are "Help Wanted" signs. Businesses that benefit from tourism expand their hours or services during this time of year.
The Golden Cavvy Restaurant and Lounge and Brothers Custom Processing are two of those businesses.
The Cavvy's assistant manager, Charlotte Gariner, said the business always hires extra work for the season but is still in the process of making those hires.
"We don't hire the same people every year, but I know that a lot of people take on a second job because it's needed," she said. "We will finish up our hiring in the next week."
Brothers co-owner Dave Satterwhite said his business hires 25 extra employees during the hunting season.
"Our needs increase a bunch," he said. "I can't think of any names off the top of my head of people who help me out every year, though. It's been a long week, though."
Shelly Peters is getting ready for her upcoming long weeks. Last year, she helped out Craig Sports during the hunting season and has the same plans this year.
"I grew up around hunting and I learned I like helping the hunters," she said. "Last year, I probably averaged about 30 hours a week helping at Craig Sports."
Craig Sports' store hours expand to seven days a week, and the shop opens at 7 a.m. and stays open "until the hunters leave," Peters said.
Like Herod, Peters considers the extra job a Christmas bonus.
"I have two boys so this helps with a little extra for them," she said.
Sometimes, the second job grows into more, like it has for Mike LeWarne.
The former school district employee started to realize he might have an extra money making opportunity when he stopped recognizing the people he was hunting with.
"I was taking friends of friends of friends out to hunt with me, and I realized I had turned into a guide," he said. "I realized I could make some money out of what I was already doing."
In the summer of 2005, LeWarne co-founded Mule Deer Specialists and started booking hunts for the fall. That year he left his job with Craig Middle School just before the hunting season in order to be able to do his guiding.
Last year, LeWarne started working for Intermountain Real Estate with his father-in-law, Jim Ross. The guide business is growing, but it is now more of a second job.
"I step away from real estate for about six weeks and work really hard with hunting," he said. "Our outfitting business is what helps us pay the bills, which isn't bad for six weeks of work."