The Thrill of Shooting Babies

RELAX! RELAX!… that’s just a clever hook to get you to walk in the door.  Although I’m comfortable behind a handgun or rifle, I was referring to my other hobby – “shooting” wildlife with my CAMERA.  Clearly the big game and birds dominate our photo outings, but every once in awhile we are lucky enough to have the smaller subjects drop by the house for some quick posing.  This is exactly what happened back in June.  I was piddling around (Linda’s words) when I stumbled upon one seriously pissed off raccoon.  Now I am not a big fan of adult raccoons firmly believing that they are one evolution away from throwing us off the top of the food chain.  They clearly spend their free time thinking of clever ways to wreak havoc on our house – especially the bird feeders (and not wasting it on Internet searches for Hank Williams Jr.)  .  Fortunately for them, I have a golden rule – The Young Shall Not Be Harmed Nor Adults In Company Of Their Young.  I know the consequences when they become adults, but everyone should have a right to enjoy the innocent years.  The 8 baby mice that I came across in our propane tank lid resulting in having to spent 45 minutes rounding up and coaxing their mom to lead each to safety last month can attest to this (probably should be some commas in that beast of a sentence).  I know that some will make it to adulthood to drive me nuts but convictions are convictions.

I’ve had enough encounters with raccoon mothers to know when babies are close.  Like this one they turn nasty and start hissing and baring their teeth.  Due to being an evolution away, they eventually recognize their shortcomings and try to draw the danger away.   If you simply stand your ground they eventually give up and head for safety.  Don’t be fooled, they do not go very far but create enough distance from you that you tend to forget they are out there.  Whenever this happens I start looking to the trees to see what was worth trying to protect.  One thing their mother’s always teach their offspring – when in trouble take the high ground.  This eliminates a large number of threats around here and cats pretty much want no part of this game.  Sure enough, not far from where I was standing was this:

How cute is that!  As much damage their parents have done around here I’m going to get a little benefit.  Linda happened to come out of the house at the same time so I had her grab the camera.  Raccoon babies are excellent photographic subjects.  They tend to stay stationary and have a cute factor that is through the roof.  The struggle with this one was getting the composition right – no matter which angle I took there were leaves in the way (not too surprising since we do live in the woods).  The wind was also blowing adding another factor to the mix.  A few minutes into the shot we were greeted with another surprise.

Score – double cuteness.  They were fairly calm about the whole ordeal likely due to the fact I’d come upon them before and let them pass without harm – no camera then though.  Our attention kept them very alert.  Their ears were nicely tuned forward and for the most part they kept those eyes wide open (very glint friendly).  See that paw clinched onto the tree?  Should this particular baby make it to adulthood, that paw will be continually testing all my bird feeder protections.  Note, when looking some information up on these critters I was shocked to learn that they do NOT have an opposable thumb yet since I was a kid always thought they did – another childhood education fallacy in the vein of the Brontosaurus and Pluto – they may actually be more than one evolution away now.

There’s more (literally) .. hit the jump!

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