Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Never Ending Feud
Spring is in the air. It's been in the 70's and 80's for the last few days. We rolled forward the clocks and it's starting to feel like spring. My never ending feud with the raccoons has swung into full gear. Generally, I will set up one trap by the chickens and bait it with some of the cats food. It is a simple set up that rarely goes wrong and I haven't lost a chicken since I started.
Late last summer, just before falconry season, I missed a raccoon. It had found its way into the food chute in the hawks cage. Now this is a small opening, not much larger than a mail slot on the front of a door. But this particular raccoon had forced it open wider, squeezed himself in, and found his way to the hawks perch.
It was the middle of the night, so my then female Harris, never saw it coming. I found her laid out on her shelf perch, spread eagle. Her head was gone, and her chest cavity had been stripped of all of its flesh and meat.
I was devastated.
I buried the bird.
I fixed the food chute with a lock, then I moved the trap from the chicken cages, over beneath the food chute. I peppered the trap with cat food.
There was a raccoon there in the morning. I was pretty sure that this was the perpetrator of the previous nights crime. I wanted to be mad at the coon, but even as angry as I was, I couldn't hate the creature. It was just doing what it does.
I called the SPCA the next morning and they came and picked up the raccoon.
Since that time - the war rages on down by the hawk cages. I get about one or two raccoons every week and about the same number of opossums.
The coons are given to the SPCA to be euthanized.
I relocate the 'possums.
I would kill the coons myself, but I don't have a gun. I've been meaning to get one, but I've never owned a gun. I'm thinking maybe a little .22. Something inexpensive to plink squirrels in my backyard, as well as shooting raccoons. Any suggestions?