Rain this morning, spotty but eventually covering everything. We've had a little to break the grip of the heat and give the land some moisture. This is the little more we need to make the deal stick.
I drove to the lakehouse loaded up with the things I needed. War takes extra equipment: .22MkI Ruger, ziplock with catfood to replenish the trap. Trashbag for the bodies, corn for the deer. Card for the camera. Extra camera for the War Correspondent.
When I skirted the uncut pasture I saw movement in the far corner. There is a crown in the pasture that I have used to mask my movement from deer over the years. A couple of good bucks have died because of that crown. It was the doe with the two fawns. First time I have had a good long look at them in person. She'd seen me, from her high head position but couldn't get the wind and I wouldn't move, no matter how much she flicked her tail, stomped or bobbed. I must have been shining like neon in a grey T-shirt and LaRue Tactical hat carrying a plastic trash bag full of gear. Deervision sees farther over into the infra-red spectrum. Those flourescent brighteners in our laundry detergent were probably glowing. But I wouldn't move. The fawns skipped back and forth and she actually trotted at me, though not closing any real distance from 150 yards. Finally she turned into the woodline. She's raising those fawns right here.
At the camera the trap held the inevitable coon. A large male. I reset the cam, shot him in the head with a 40 grain Wolf Match Target .22LR and shook him out of the Havaheart, (guess not) while he was still twitching, convulsing and blowing blood bubbles out his nose.
It's an ego war- I've got the power and have decided deer coming in is more important than lotor at this location. My MkI will make a dent in the population. The doe won't bring her fawns into a crowd of coons who are busy vacuuming up the corn. I've seen constant whitetail/raccon conflict in the photos over the years. It's not the coons fault. I respect coon consciousness and empathize on many levels. But I also have decided that this is going to be done. Killing off the clan will be random- I might get a key member in the trap or just knock off excess males or kits for a stretch, but eventually I will get enough of them that the survivors will move or quit coming. I used to carry the trap up on the hill and shoot them there to avoid contaminating the camera site with blood but have decided it's just more trouble. Last years bodies were cut open for the vultures and left at the pasture edge. They didn't last 24 hours. Many coon bones up on the bluff. This years coons are going to one of the neighbors who says he wants them. He lives with his 90 year old mom across the creek. He gets a bounty for the right hand and might be eating the rest. I check by often at the house to see if anyone has seen any deer or hogs. I give him about five of Alan's does a year, so I'm a welcome sight. They've got multiple broken down cars and fifty cats at the house on the hilltop.
Shot lots of deer over the years to eat. This is different just making war on the coons. Simple murder, really. A cautionary tale to anyone who thinks shooting any living thing, especially people, even baby raping or cannibalistic folks would be easy or trouble free.
As Robert Capa would say: "Es una cosa muy seriosa." (This is a very serious business.)
Update: No deer on the card cam, just lots of coons. Might be the trap spooked them off, though that hasn't always been the case in previous wars.
Update: This is Part II of the Coon War. Begins down below.