Today is the first day of hunting season for shotgun users and I’ve been hearing gunfire echo over the mountains for the last month in preparation. The past few weeks of hunting season have been strictly for bow users only. Over the next month or so, there’ll be a plethora of camouflaged, gun-toting neighbors creeping around in the woods that abut my property, and sitting in makeshift deer stands. My husband saw a crossbow wielding neighbor stealthily striding out of the woods last week and felt like I had dodged an arrow.
As a new country lass, the first experience I had with a hunter was when I was hiking. Rounding a corner, our group chanced upon a man; perfectly still, holding what looked like an AK-47, looking like a stocky, camo-version of Bruce Willis in Die Hard. The gun made him look at least eight feet tall. He stared. We stopped. He silently crept towards us and then passed us without so much as an excuse me. We kept calm and carried on.
A mink has moved into my neighbor’s yard and my dog, desperate as always to make new friends, was a little overly zealous in his introduction. My dog almost made friends with a bold, friendly deer once, and for a few minutes they chased each other around, but I ruined it by getting in too close for a picture. That’s country life. We left the mink in peace and haven’t seen him since.
A beaver has moved into the hood, specifically the woods at the end of my road, and now I realize why the term “eager beaver” came into existence because he’s highly prolific. In his new habitat, a roadside pond, he has downed nearly ten trees in the short space of a week and was spotted yesterday, clearly from the road, swimming around on his back, surveying his work. One of the trees he felled looks to be about a foot in diameter. The town excavators who were clearing out all the gulleys in the area last week may not have noticed his handy work, but it looks like the over-achieving beaver is building the Empire State Building of dams and this could be a problem for the small stream that drains through the pond. He swims late in the day when the sun has warmed the pond, so I’ll be back around 4pm to see if I can catch him.