Defending the Fort, part 3

Day 11 in camp.

Despite throwing bottles, oils, lotions, sprays, dog toys and whatever else is nearby at them, the raccoons continue to stalk and steal from me.  I leave fresh water for them daily by the fire pit, yet they still come. Their fresh little hand prints are all over my cook camp area each morning when I awake.  They hover mere feet from our established “home” throughout the day, waiting for me to turn my back for just a minute.  They don’t even realize they will get nothing from me.  Nothing.  I’ve seen to it that there is nothing of value to them that they can get into.

Yet they persist. 

As do I.  Yes I, the stealth hunter, have figured out a better solution for keeping them at bay.  If we cannot shoot them, or poison them, or reason with them, and nothing else is working, they simply need to learn in another way that I mean business and they, and their wretched fleas, are not welcome.

So I go to the Sports Authority in Brandon.   For eight dollars I buy me a handy dandy little wrist rocket, otherwise called a sling shot.   A sling shot is a great teaching tool for animals.  I used to have a problem at home with squirrels.  After repeatedly whapping  them with little crab apples from my tree when they got onto my fence,  it didn’t take long before they stopped getting onto my fence or coming into my yard.  I didn’t even have to get up from my swing.  Just sit, read the paper, drink my coffee, look up and WHAPP!  Squirrels don’t really like to get whapped in the ass by crab apples.  It stings.  They learn.  I think Pavlov refers to it as “stimulus response.” 

So I get back to camp with my new teaching tool, and proceed to look for just the right size rocks.  Dennis wants to know what I’m doing.  “Gathering up the lesson plans for tonight.”  And before long, I have over 50 perfect objects lined up along the picnic table, ready to induct into the evening lesson program.

And then I wait.  And wait.  And wait.  No raccoons.  I take the dogs for a walk, then it’s time for bed.  With a heavy sigh, I abandon my arsenal of pebbles, and go to bed…with my wrist rocket. 

Of course I, the stealth hunter, am dialed in to hear the slightest of sounds outside the safety of our tent, and when the dogs growl to confirm, I know it’s class time.

I sneak over to the tent door zipper.  I peer out.  Oh! Sure, look at him, reaching and touching my boom box, the table, the plastic container with the tight lid….I’ll get him!

Oh, wait, the ammo is out there on the picnic table!  As I am sitting there helpless in the tent, perplexed, the girls break into a bark, and the raccoon turns to look at the commotion.

You’re not even going to RUN?  Oh this is all so insulting.  I spring up and start to unzip the door.  Now the raccoon scoots off—but not far.

Perfect!  It stops between my site and Dennis and Carols. “Think I don’t see you?  Ha, think again!”  I step over to the picnic table and start loading and shooting. 

Thwap!  Thwap!  Thug.  Thwap!  I’m pretty consistent, hitting the mark 3 out of 4 times.  Each direct hit causes the coon to take a defiant step back but it doesn’t run away.  Then I realize he has the unionized group with tonight, and they are all waiting out in the mangroves for instructions.  He doesn’t want to look like a wimp.

Within two minutes I’ve unleashed a line of firepower out of that slingshot into the mangroves heavy enough to build a brick wall.  I am out of ammo.  Eyes are still flickering in the mangroves.  I scramble in the dark to find something else to shoot at them.  Nothin.  A couple large pieces of shell. Ok, shooooooo,   shoooooooo the shells are not very effective.  I’m out of ammo again.

I stand there in the dark.  Out of ammo.  Out of ideas.  Out of energy.  I got no fight left. “Git! Git!  I hiss out into the mangroves.  Brown furry beings scatter.

I crawl back into the tent, and hush the dogs.  I need more, and better, ammo.

For now, they win.

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