I’ll have to admit when I first saw the baby raccoons curled up in the middle of the road my first impulse was to run over them. Because if there is one creature on Earth that I can’t stand it is the raccoon. If you ever went out to check your chicken house and found what was left of your pet laying hens after the raccoons ate them alive, or seen an orchard or a corn patch that’s been clear cut by a ‘coon party, you’d understand.
Things could be worse. You’d know that if raccoons ever came down your chimney. Then there were the loggers who lured the raccoons into their cabin after they’d been drinking beer, the raccoons that is. Raccoons were made for wide open spaces and tend to run amuck when trapped indoors for any length of time.
So, I wanted no part of any raccoons, baby or not. I drove right on by and left them. Still, I thought I should check on them later and sure enough. The poor baby raccoons hadn’t moved. They were getting cooked in the middle of the gravel road. They might have been dehydrated. A raven flew over and gave a lone croak, probably just waiting for someone to run the coons over and tenderize them for a noon day meal. What could I do? What would you do?
Then there were two ravens circling. I moved the baby raccoons out of the middle of the road to a hollow cedar stump. The three of them stayed rolled up in a little ball. I drove away thinking I’d done the best thing you can do for baby wild animals, ignore them, they’ll go away. It’s illegal, bad and wrong to mess with baby wild animals. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Still I couldn’t just let the little fellows curl up and starve after their mother hadn’t come back to get them the next day. I poured some milk in a (sterile) rigging glove and breakfast was served. They ate like starving wolverines. This was very messy but they groomed each other clean in no time.
After a few days in the cedar stump it was clear the mother raccoon was not coming back. I thought it was up to me to find the baby raccoons a new home. I took them into town in a box marked “Kittens $5.” They didn’t find a new home but it’s a great way to clear out a Laundromat.
It was too late. By then I had built an emotional bond. They had adjusted to solids, chicken flavored cat food. We spent a lot of time together grooming, feeding and bonding. I tried to train the raccoons by enrolling them in a dog obedience class. I thought with those little hands they could be a lot of help. They could make good seeing- eye coons.
One day at the feed store in town I was talking to a flatlander from down in the valley. Somehow the subject of raccoons came up. The old guy went off. When he began talking about raccoons his fists were clenched his face went red. He became so angry he started spitting so we had a lot in common when it came to raccoons. It turned out he was a retiree who lived on a golf course. The raccoons had made a stinking mess of the golf course.
So, he live trapped a bunch of them using chicken for bait and dumped them up in the woods as it turned out, near my chicken house. It all made sense now. But it was too late. By the time I figured every thing out all my hens had been eaten. It was time for a little payback. I began teaching the baby raccoons how to retrieve golf balls. I started live trapping moles. That’s when things got ugly but like I said by now I was out for revenge. I began collecting slugs from the endless supply in my garden.
By the end of summer the raccoons were shagging golf balls like Labrador retrievers. I had a six pack of live moles ready to dig in and a five-gallon bucket of slugs. I drove into the flatlands with blood in my eye. I dropped the raccoons off in the lobby of the clubhouse to create a diversion while I sprinkled the moles and slugs out on the fairway.
It was good to be alive