Lee Pitts: Mr. Nice Guy (Best of)
August 3, 2012
I told my wife recently, "I think I should have been born a hundred years earlier."
"That would have definitely been nice," she agreed.
"No, really, I think it would have been neat to live in the 'Good Old Days' and go hunting for my food like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone."
"You would have starved to death," my wife said cynically. And she was right. I am not much of a hunter. In fact, after a recent hunting trip the Sierra Club gave me a humanity and conservation award for helping to preserve all the little animals I was shooting at.
I must confess, I don't like to hunt much, but I am forced to in keeping with my manly image. Mostly I hunt squirrels. Actually, I don't have to hunt them: they follow me around. I only shoot in self defense. The experts say that 300 squirrels can eat as much as one cow so on my place I can run 120 cows or 36,000 squirrels.
You have to be nuts to run either one.
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Have you ever noticed how when you hit a squirrel it always runs faster after you've shot him? And they always seem to make it into their hole. Either I am using some sort of delayed-response bullets or my scope is out of alignment once again. (I seem to have a lot of trouble with that.) It's widely known amongst the squirrel community what a bad shot I am and they are now coming to my place from miles around. I am running a retreat for squirrels, not a cow ranch.
Now I don't mind peacefully coexisting with all the furry critters but recently a skunk took shelter under the ranch house. Every time the heater was turned on we had to leave the warm house and go out into the cold because the smell was so awful. Knowing my prowess with a gun, my wife called the county trapper to get rid of our new friend.
The county trapper came out and set a trap under the house for the skunk. He used dog food for bait. Sure enough, we caught the dog. Which made it easier for the skunk to spray him.
On the second morning we checked the trap carefully only to find that we had caught an opossum. I turned the cute little thing loose and he ran right back under the house. We caught that opossum with the sad eyes three times. I tried to shoot it at point blank range while it was still in the cage but my gun jammed. At least that's what I told the trapper. Finally I took the opossum to the city limits and turned it lose with all the stray cats and dogs.
On the fourth morning we caught a squirrel in the skunk trap and I'm pretty sure it was one I had previously "shot" deader than a door nail. Now that was adding insult to injury!
That same day we discovered a water leak underneath the house which gave me a great idea. We would drown the skunk out. After a week of not fixing the leak and letting the water run, the house slowly started sinking into the muddy ooze. That was the final straw. I got my gun. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
I fetched my dog (he hadn't lost the scent) and tried to force him under the house to scare out the skunk. When the footprints got fresh the dog quit, and so did I.
A month later we were driving down the driveway and I heard a thump. The dead skunk in my rearview mirror and the pungent aroma were the sweet smell of victory. Who said I wasn't a great hunter?
You know how when you enter the house of a real hunter there are mounts of animals seen only in Africa, zebra-skin rugs on the floor and a gun cabinet full of real man guns? Well, we're thinking of having a rug made out of the skunk hide, if we can ever get near it, and we're going to put it in the living room as a testament to my hunting prowess. Make no mistake, one way or another, I always get what I go after.F