One of the first things I needed to learn after moving out to the country was how to shoot a gun. My husband decided that I needed something light and easy to use so he got me a 410 over/under shotgun. For you city girls, that is a shotgun that shoots little bullets out the top of the gun and big shells out the bottom. I don’t like shooting the big shells cause the noise hurts my ears and the “kick” of the gun hurts my shoulder but I kinda get a charge out of shooting with the little bullets.
My first encounter with a wild creature took place in our barn. I heard our dogs making a commotion in the barn one day after we had gotten our first baby chicks and I ran and got the gun and went to see what the fuss was all about. There up in the rafters was a huge porcupine. Porcupines eat chicks, don’t they? So I took aim, squeezed the trigger and fired. Down it came. Unfortunately, I hadn’t killed it and so I had to reload and walk over to it and shoot it in the head. Now, this gave me no pleasure but I didn’t know what else to do. But now I had a dead porcupine in my barn and two dogs that were bound and determined to get into it so I dragged a piece of plywood over to it and put it on top of it. Now my dogs and chicks would be safe. I must admit I was rather proud of myself. My family started calling me Robyn Oakley. A rural legend was born……
My next call of the wild came that winter. Mid-January, freezing cold out. All of a sudden I hear this “whirring” noise right above my curio cabinet in our dining area. Sounded like a woodpecker was pecking at our roof. I had seen the damage the peckers can do to wood so I was sure this pecker was going to put a hole in the roof so I got all bundled up and took my trusty gun and went outside for a looky-see. Hmmmmm, can’t see anything on the roof but just in case, I fired a shot over the roof and stepped back to see if anything flew away and fell face first into a huge snowdrift. My daughter who was watching from the window said I looked like a big X laying there. Snow was in every nook and cranny I had. But at least I had done my duty and my husband would be so proud. Later that evening I was regaling him with my tale of heroism when all of a sudden the sound was back. Did woodpeckers peck at night? And in that same darn spot. Well, my husband began to laugh and laugh and showed me my “woodpecker”…..it was his pager that was set on “vibrate” going off on top of our wooden cabinet! Another legend was born that night.
My latest kills have been those pesky red squirrels. We have a grand birdfeeder that my hubby made right under a set of windows in our great room and the red squirrels like to make themselves at home in it and eat the birdfeed. Normally, my philosophy is “Live and let live” but I had just seen a show on TV about squirrels and how if they get in to your walls or attic you are in for a heap of trouble. So out comes the gun. But how to kill them without having to go outside and walk around the house. Being the creative genius I am, I thought why not open up the window and put the gun barrel out and rest it on the feeder and shoot them that way. Well, danged if it don’t work slick! They come right up to the gun and I fire and problem solved. Except for the fact that shooting them at close range like that is messy and they fall to the deck and I am too chicken to go and clean up the mess….ew…..so my poor husband has to do it. But I think he is so impressed at my ingenuity that he doesn’t mind. The legend continues……..