Steve woke up to open windows at 1:30 this morning because it had gotten too warm in our room. I heard chittering, so he went out to check. After a fruitless search, he returned to bed disappointed and we went back to sleep. At 3:40, we one again heard the death-squawks of a stupid chicken. There were more of them not going in the coop than we had thought. This time, we actually did dash into action, with no discussion whatsoever, and out we went. Steve had the shotgun, and I was reaching for my 30-30 when I remembered that I had neglected to load it after I unloaded it following my patrol last night. So I was back to the 22, since it was the only other rifle handy. I actually managed to find a good flashlight - a tiny little AA mag lite that was hiding in a glove drawer - because all of the dim flashlights have been moved form their usual locations.
We did our patrols around the house and coop without seeing anything. Yesterday I had seen a chicken foot and feathers under the barn, so as a shot in the dark (literally) I passed my good strong light over the crawl space under the barn, and happen to catch eyes flashing red in the light. I called Steve over, but by the time he got there, the eyes had gone up and into the barn. I was considering our options when I saw the dang things up off the floor, above the old wool area. I was actually seeing them through the big gaping hole in the barn roof. I pointed the eyes out to Steve, and this time he managed to get his eyes on the too. He traded me weapons and took a shooting stance. The little bugger dropped out of site. Steve relaxed moved forward to get a rest. The bugger popped back up again. Now Steve couldn't see the eyes. He came back to me, and saw the eyes. Took his stance. and the eyes went out. This time he held his stance, and the eyes came back on. He couldn't see them. We did this for a while, with me saying, "There they are! and him replying, "Where?"
Finally, I convinced him to give me the rifle and handed him the flashlights. The eyes moved a bit during this exchange, and I was afraid the stupid bugger had finally lost interest, but then they came back on. I was ready. I got the scope on him (I usually detest scopes, I will admit just this one it helped because I could see more than just two glowing eyes), and pulled the trigger. The rifle discharged, and then we heard a large thump followed by a lot of random thumps - death throws. Steve looked at me with what I'm sure was amazement (I wasn't looking at him, so I can't say for certain) and said with some shock in his voice, "You got it!" I responded with, "Yeah - I got it. I'm a good shot." He seems to periodically forget that fact. It was gratifying to remind him with something more useful to be shooting than a target. And it was a heck of a good shot, after all. We were in the old ram pasture, by the chicken coop, and the critter was in the barn - at the upper end below the old feed chute.
|Locations of all interested parties|
We went to see what I had gotten. It might have been a cat after all. The horses met us at their corner of the other end of the barn and were looking at us as if to say, "What are you doing out here at this time of night?" They followed us until we went into sheep area (I installed a board so they can't go in but the sheep can). We went through the sheep and up into the main area of the barn. Sure enough, there was the dead raccoon in one of the old feed troughs that Steve had stacked in front of the old wool bin. I head shot him! Steve again expressed his wonder (yes, I'm gloating a little. I'm almost done). And we returned to the house. I, of course cannot sleep. Steve is already back in bed and is sound asleep. I'll take a nap later. For now, the chickens are again safe. Even then ones that are too stupid to go roost in the nice safe coop. At least until another raccoon comes through.