Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hunting Coyotes

Yesterday they finished cutting the corn that grows around my house and now there is little but dirt surrounding my home. We have a significant number of coyotes around our the area we live and they make a lot of noise, and also eat my cats. I have not had a single cat reach two years of age since we moved here. Last year around this season I spent a bit of time trying to kill one, but I believe I lacked sufficient weaponry. This year my father-in-law lent me a rifle equipped with a scope with which I have been successful in shooting blue jays and pigeons. Now that I have regained confidence in my marksmanship, I hope to kill a coyote or two.

Last night I was enjoying a film when I heard a noise of some sort. When I looked out of the window of my living room, there was a coyote standing no more than ten feet from me on my lawn. He looked at me and I at him, and then he scrambled off into the night as I scrambled for my rifle. I went outside to see if I could still get a shot off at this animal but I could only hear it running around in the field across the street with what sounded like other coyotes.

My wife immediately did a head count of our cats and after a few minutes managed to find all but one of them. Pedro was missing. Worried that he was the latest victim and still angry over the recent loss of Kip to the beasts, I remained outside for over half an hour, waiting for the animals to walk near my house so that I had enough light to shoot them.

While I was waiting, trying to stand perfectly still, a number of things went through my head. Even while my body is still, my mind is always racing ahead and I was conjuring up not only this account to share with you, but also other images that were romantic and suspenseful.

At first I thought that I heard the animals feasting on Pedro nearby. I would have testified under oath that I heard the crunching of bones as they gleefully devoured my pet. Then I imagined the animals waiting, watching me from the shadows. I could not see them, but they could see me. Several times I became paranoid enough to peer around the garage to see if in fact they were standing with their backs against the wall ready to ambush me.

Meanwhile my cats (I had six before Kip went MIA), were enjoying a snack of cat food that my wife offered to lure them into the garage in order to perform a roll call. Besides that, one of them, Debbie, was playing with the cuff of my pants, and biting my big toe. When this became unbearable I kicked her away from me even though it risked revealing my presence to the coyotes.

This went on for about forty minutes with no sign of a coyote. I stood as still as I could, thinking it a challenge to remain in one place holding my rifle all the while. At the end of this time period Pedro came running into the enclosed area of our patio. He was alive after all.

My anger subsided and after only a few more minutes I returned to the warmth of my house, slipped into bed and tried to forget my feud with the coyotes. Still, one day soon I hope to shoot one. I feel like I need to shoot one for some reason. I don’t know if it is because they have killed so many of my cats, or if it is some kind of macho motive. Either way I will not be satisfied until I have killed one. Like the white whale, I must kill a coyote. Perhaps if for no other reason, just to say that I did it.

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