The area in dispute, my own personal Gaza Strip, is once again being threatened by insurgents. Silently they come in the dead of night from secret hiding places, deep in the heart of the forest, wearing masks of anonymity, to raid the avian storage facilities commonly known as bird feeders. Some call them raccoons; I call them thieves, pirates, and sons-a-bitches.
Oh sure, they’re cute all right with their bright and shining eyes, perky ears, and twitchy whiskers. Do not be fooled! The little buggers will rob you of every seed on the farm and grin while they do it. There is a long history of backyard battles here at the humble abode. Every possible means of non-violent persuasion was used to combat the theft of the highly expensive black oil sunflower seed. The following list is of failed attempts to thwart the pillage:
• Squirrel proof feeders with self closing ports.
• The use of tube feeders with collapsing perches.
• The use of “squirrel proof” plastic shields that tilt with any weight.
• Suspension of feeders hung from a cable with a minimum of five feet from feeder to ground.
• The use of 4” PVC pipe on the above mentioned cable after a coonie was observed hanging upside down and going hand over hand, paw over paw, (or is it foot over foot?) directly to his objective.
At long last, a solution was found. I ran across an ad for a fence charger especially designed to keep critters out of gardens. The electrical pulse felt by the animals that came in contact was not lethal but as the ad described, it would be memorable.
Did it work? Oh, yeah. It worked so well, that after one week of use, I unplugged the device, never to be insulted by coonie raids again. Even the squirrels quickly learned that it was in their best interest to leave the territory…until last Saturday.
There, only 30 feet from the backdoor, a coonie was strutting around under the feeders like he owned the place and this in broad daylight, high noon in fact. As I stepped through the door, the brazen little bastard stood his ground and stared at me like “Yeah, what the hell do you want? You want a piece of me? C’mon.”
Well, I must admit to being a little intimidated. A daylight raid, alone, and seemingly unarmed? What matter of intruder was this? A new breed, honed through generations of battle, with a genetic DNA of fearlessness and cunning? We glared at each other for several moments before the coonie flinched and retreated to a tree where he continued to give me the evil eye but from the relative safety of a 15 foot high branch.
With visions of coon vs. cat battles and the inevitable vet bills, not to mention my own risk of dying a horrible death from rabies, I needed a plan. The problem was, I had no idea how to get a raccoon out of a tree without the use of deadly force and since I wasn’t sure the thing was actually diseased, I watched from the window and thought about it. Two hours later, it was still up there.
I had wandered off in pursuit of other diversions, when the Missus calls out, “The coon just went under the back deck.” Not good. Not good at all. There is an opening between the earth and the flooring of the deck that the cats love to crawl through and do whatever they do under there. The room beneath the deck now had double occupancy, or so we feared.
But minutes passed with no screams of pain or cries of battle. Perhaps the felines had checked out. As of this writing, that’s where the situation stands, tense but stable. I have set up a live trap just outside the opening where the coonie disappeared and baited it with juicy doggy treats. If and when it is captured, Mr. Raccoon will be relocated to more natural surroundings with woods, a clear stream full of tasty crayfish, and beautiful young female raccoons… or males, depending on which way he swings.
The saga continues.