I was fortunate to spend the afternoon on a ride-along with a local game warden. We patrolled his district and logged a few hours with a warden pilot flying low above the rolling hills of midcoast Maine, looking for signs of poachers. We saw many suspicious wheel tracks in remote fields and a handful of jury-rigged blinds recently built near beaver flowages. My neighborhood night-hunters are already getting the autumn itch, it seems.

Mostly, though, we spotted backwoods marijuana patches. Man, oh, man, did we find lots of pot. Just about every tract of woods seemed to contain a half-hidden cannabis garden. The wardens made notes of the locations of these secret stashes and made plans to stake them out in the coming days.

It was a gorgeous afternoon to be in the air — 600 feet above the ground, racing along at 125 miles per hour — and I didn't even get airsick despite the endless loop de loops. I owe the Maine Warden Service a debt for giving me the experience.