December 10, 2009

Job entails moving closer to the hunt

Job entails moving closer to the hunt
By ALLAN TINKER
Though you would probably have to force the information out of his quiet demeanor, Kim Opp loves to hunt the deer that now contribute to his occupation choice. He is the newest of employees at Doug Auto Body in Martin, a fixer of “deer dings” and worse, some totaling $10,000 in damage.
The huge amount in damage, said shop owner Doug Helm, is now possible through the greatly increased cost of replacement parts and vehicles in general. “I never thought I would see the day when a deer would cause that kind of money damage.”
Opp, who is also learning the management side of the business, started work for Doug’s a week or so ago, after being part of the Bobcat force of workers that were forced to look for other work when that plant closed. At Doug’s he will do everything: body work, glass, and frame straightening.
He had spent 16 years on the assembly line at the Bismarck firm, and had also had a body repair shop of his own for the past ten years north of Bismarck near the Wal-Mart area.
“I like hunting and the small town environment, the people, and fixing cars,” he noted. “Deer hunting could be mine and Doug’s livelihood as well.”
He explained that a large percentage of accidents in this rural area come from collisions with deer, and some other wildlife or animals on the roadways. Though deer numbers are reportedly down from last year, both Doug and Kim state that it isn’t being shown by any reduction in accidents; the numbers holding up favorably, or unfavorably, depending upon whether it is your vehicle that gets damaged or you are doing the repair.
“It is usually the radiator or the windshield, plus anything around that area,” they said. The aforementioned “$10,000 repair” was one of these; the owner still “drove it in,” grinned Doug.
 


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