Thursday, April 5, 2018

Coon Tale


"Lately in , Ohio, raccoons' tiny, nimble, human-like hands are only the second scariest thing about them. The first? An outbreak of what residents have described as "zombie-like behavior" involving raccoons who bare their teeth, walk on their hind legs and don't seem to be afraid of humans." (See source at end of post.)

Raccoons have been in the news lately. We go waaay baaack with raccoons. Oh, you have NO idea! My Mom was Bonded With Raccoons! She grew up with them on Wildcat Creek. She LOVED COONS! She got my Dad to capture baby coons and adopt them into our Family. Seriously. The coons has free run of our humble home.

 I had to compete with raccoons to use the bathroom. The coons took over the bathroom and actually learned how to flush the toilet. Yep, we had toilet-trained coons. The coons owned our kitchen, too, and I remember being afraid to go there lest their bar their teeth and keep me away from the cookie jar. Oh, My Gosh, the tales I can tell about growing up with coons for brothers (and sisters)!

That's why I had a casual, Laid Back, Laissez-faire about raccoons when The Lion Hunter came to give me a coon. Back then in 1990, I was managing Brown Springs Ranch. (Long Story.) Anyway, Brown Springs Ranch was "Coon Heaven" an the Lion Hunter knew it. He had caught a baby coon and nursed it to adulthood and kept it in a cage beside his Lion Hounds.

 By and by, he recognized "this was not a good idea," so he came to me and asked if he could release his coon at Brown Springs. I said, "Sure, no problem." So, he brought out the seemingly docile coon in a dog crate and released it to run free in the wonderful, mature riparian trees of Brown Springs. All went well for quite some time.

 Fast forward a few months when Dear Friend Gary W. came to visit Brown Springs. We went out walking through the magnificent towering trees of the property and Gary spotted the coon sitting in the crook of one of those trees. Gary asked, "What about that coon?" I replied telling him the story about the Lion Hunter and Gary nodded and we proceeded on.

Meanwhile, The Lion Hunter's coon had other ideas. It scurried down out of its tree and hit the ground running, teeth barred, a snarling 20-30 pound mass of muscle and meanness! It ran straight toward Gary and grabbed his right calf in its vice grip jaws. Gary had just been taking kick boxing lessons and he instinctively went into a kick boxing drill and danced into the air and twirled around and spun the coon off his leg. And then Gary took off running like an Olympic sprinter with the coon following right behind--both running at peak speed--one hoping to out distance the threat while the other hoped to chomp once again on my Friend's flesh.

 I stood in abject horror watching the sceen unfold. Eventually, Gary outdistanced the coon and the coon lost interest. Then the coon turned to me. I could see the sun glint in its eyes as it reared and charged. I could almost hear it say, "I'm gonna go for the short, fat, slow guy." And it came roaring down the hill and around the pond aiming straight to kill me, as predators are wont to do.

 Luckily, I was carrying my Smith & Wesson Airweight 2-inch barrel .38 Special pistol and I had time to pull out the pistol and get down on my knee and brace and hold an aim as the wide-mouthed coon charged straight for my face. I will never forget the vignette of that charging coon. I knew that my two-inch barrel pistol had no accuracy beyond a few feet so I held my fire until the coon leaped into my face and I pulled the trigger as the coon was in mid air.

 The bullet went straight down the coon's wide open throat into its head and it fell dead at my feet. I stood there shivering and trembling as the pistol smoke curled above the scene.

 Gary cut the head off the coon and took it to Maricopa County Health Dept. for a rabies analysis. It came back negative. It was just a Bad Ass Coon, that's all you can say. Source of opening quote: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2018/04/04/he-thought-something-was-wrong-with-the-raccoon-then-it-stood-on-its-hind-legs

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