Ammo Review: Part 6

Q: Can override physics?

A: Sadly, no. Light loads for small things is a law of nature.

I wanted to test the ammo right away but I was still sick. I’d promised my doctor I’d stay out of the rain. (He probably told me to eat more vegetables too.) Fate intervened…

I was sound asleep when I sensed a commotion. A terrorist! It was probably a raccoon. (A raccoon in the chicken coop is just a small scale, poultry based, terrorist attack.) As any true redneck should, I came flying out of the house with shotgun in hand.

It was cold, wet, drizzling, and pitch dark. Perfect weather for staying in bed. I hauled ass for the chicken coop; running more or less from memory. There could have been a steam shovel between me and the coop and I’d run right into it. All I knew was that the chickens were carrying on like they were under attack. That’s the pre-arranged signal for me to show up with my boomstick and earn my place on the food chain. Whether the issue was a raccoon or a grizzly, we were going to meet face to face very shortly.

Running blind sucks and my lungs hurt. I slowed and gasped for breath as I got to the chicken coop. Being outdoors in pajamas and a t-shirt wasn’t bright for someone with bronchitis. Also the chickens had calmed down. I was too late. The intrude had probably run away.

-Probably- that’s the key word. Just to be sure I stayed. I didn’t move an inch, I didn’t cough (which wasn’t easy). I waited. Raccoons and me, it’s war and I take it seriously.

After a few minutes the clouds cleared and the barnyard was flooded in moonlight. Twenty feet away was the biggest raccoon I’ve ever seen and it was looking right at me. He was a smart one to stay still. I’ll give him credit for that. It was only by unreasonable perseverance (stupidity?) I was still there when the clouds broke. I brought up my shotgun. The raccoon about turned itself inside out trying to get out of the way. I fired. Too low. Mud flew everywhere.

It started to climb a nearby wire fence (hoping to get to the forest beyond). I fired again. It was a perfect shot. Unfortunately the wire fence sagged under the raccoon’s weight and he sunk just below the shot. (That’s what you call a raccoon saving throw.)

The raccoon flopped on the lawn with his back to the fence. He had nowhere to go. Frontier justice would prevail. I took another step.

Ewww! I was standing on a recently deceased chicken. I looked down; gross! The raccoon saw his chance and bolted.

It crashed through the forest like a creature fleeing for its life. I crashed after like an ape in the dark forest. The moon was again covered up by the clouds. It was pitch dark and raining again. This is the opening scene to every horror movie.

Unable to see, I blundered along, banging my shin on a rock, my face into enough stuff that you might say I just ran into “forest”. I dropped my half empty box of shells too. I hate it when the box gets trashed!

“There’s mud all over my testing ammo! You’re doomed vermin!” I screamed. (I assume I sounded tough but I likely sounded like Yosemite Sam.)

The raccoon veered behind some branches. I was close but I won’t fire unless I know the target and backstop. Lucky for me, the moonlight came out again. It was scampering up a fallen trunk, head high, 30 yards out and moving fast. Probably out of range and mostly obscured by brush. It was going for a big old oak.

Ha! Going up are you? Yeah, fine! There was a clear view on an open space just below it so I fired two more shots there to encourage it to keep climbing. It made the trunk and headed for the sky.

Yeah! Treed it!

I was out of ammo but I had the bastard pinned. Any minute now Mrs. Curmudgeon would come with a flashlight. “I got it treed honey!” I shouted.

Five minutes later I realized Mrs. Curmudgeon wasn’t coming. I was standing in the rain, shivering cold and clutching an empty shotgun. My spare rounds were lost in the mud and the raccoon would surely climb down the minute I stepped away. Isn’t life like that?

I tied my shirt around the trunk. Not a bad idea eh? Maybe the scent would dissuade the raccoon from climbing down. This tactic, made up on the spot, is no dumber than other things I’ve done. Maybe it was a useless gesture? I don’t know. Ask a raccoon hunter. They’d know. Also they’d be sipping coffee while hounds did the work. Those guys are on to something. I don’t hunt raccoons so I’m clueless. All I do is maintain a perimeter against incursions.

Shirtless and freezing, I scooted for my truck and fired up the heater. I figured the headlights would keep my worthy adversary up the tree while I warmed up. Like all proper men, I had a flashlight and jacket in the back seat. After a suitable warm up I sauntered back into the forest with a proper jacket and an air of smug superiority. I found the box of shells I’d dropped, wiped ’em off, and loaded up. I’d told I’d find a unique test. I’d done it. Let’s see other ammunition reviewers run around shirtless in a pitch dark drizzle. Clearly this was a real world (if poorly executed) test.

Here’s where things got hinky. For terrorists raccoons I usually go for 20 gauge with 1 ounce of #6 shot. I’d been “testing” (if that’s what you call it) 7/8 ounce of #7 1/2 shot. I shrugged. Going from “heavy game load” to “game load”; how much difference could it make?

The raccoon was way high in the tree. I wasn’t sure a 20 gauge could reach it. It might merely sting his hide some? (Usually I get ’em before they make it to the trees!) I wasn’t sure what I’d do if he stayed up there. I took my time and fired. The was a pause, then the raccoon fell through the branches. It landed at my feet with a whump. Cool!

What happened next was not part of the plan. It jumped up and charged at me!

I let out a high octave scream that would embarrass a child and scampered away. It was maybe 9 feet away and closing when I shot it in the foot.

The critter made a sound which was pure hatred. It was a battle cry that proves not only that raccoons can go to Valhalla but this one intended to earn a seat at the best table. Rather than run away it kept advancing. Aside from its foot, it seemed in perfect health. As raccoons go, it was pretty big. In the dark I estimated it at 250 pounds and made of titanium.

I decided then and there that the difference between “heavy game load” and “game load” is a big fat hairy deal! You heard it here first folks. When you’re under attack from a woodland mammal that’s channelling the spirit of vengeance… get the heavy game loads.

Once again I was down to only one shot left in the chamber. Apparently there’s something to this whole “tactical reload” concept.

Time for a mental reboot. Am I not a rough tough dude? Wasn’t Ranger Rick here simply a hen killing critter? Missing close shots and running like a fool wasn’t helping my bronchitis and it was likely to get my ankle bitten (or from this demon creature… I’d get dismembered). So I calmed down and put the last shot right where it needed to go. Even then the raccoon flopped around a bit. “Game load” indeed! Raccoons around my farm have interbred with Kodiak bears and I’m arming up from a box that has a dove on the front? Lesson learned.

I returned to the house and told Mrs. Curmudgeon. “It’s OK. I got the raccoon.”

“Huh?” She mumbled. She’d slept through the whole thing.

The next day the raccoon barely fit in a 50# feed bag. We lost one chicken.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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13 Responses to Ammo Review: Part 6

  1. Steve_in_CA says:

    No pictures of the decedent?

  2. abnormalist says:

    I love your stories, they make me chortle at the office

  3. Anonymous says:

    If the beast barely fit in a 50lb feed bag, then you’ve got a real whopper there (either the coon or the story or both- not sure which). And yes, real coon hunters let the dogs do most of the work. Except for the interminable walking. There’s always too much walking. And fences.

  4. bluesun says:

    I hate racoons. The only thing I hate more than them is skunks, because they get caught in my live trap that’s set up for racoons and they stink. Couple years back when a couple of my chickens were killed by a racoon, by the end of summer my “live” trap had caught 6 coons, 5 skunks, and I think two or three squirrels (innocent bystanders, maybe, but they were digging holes under the shed). Got tired of digging separate holes that year, and just made a mass grave for them all.

  5. razorbacker says:

    Be very careful when fighting raccoons. If he can lure you into water, he’ll climb onto your head and try to drown you.

    They’re not fearless, they just aren’t scared of much. Why should they be? From being found only in the American South they’ve extended their range…darned near everywhere.

    Not that I would have done any better, but I’m not sure that you’ve struck much fear into the raccoon hordes.

    That’s why you should make yourself a new cap. While the others wait for that one to drown you, you can take the rest out.

    You could have asked Davy Crockett, but that one on his head finally got him. It wasn’t the Mexicans, contrary to popular opinion.

  6. Tim says:

    Brilliant! If I lived in the free world I would totally buy some ammoforsale ammo.

  7. yukonpass says:

    Yours is the second story I’ve read about the decision to deal with the soft and furry raccoon in his natural night environment. I encourage you to read another blogger’s raccoon “intervention”. Please follow the link —->

  8. Phil B says:

    @BlueSun and @Adaptive

    You might want to look at these FREE (which should appeal to the – Ahem! – BUDGET mindedness of our favourite blogger) books :

    And for h real “No messing about” business :

    Joking aside, although the Deadfalls and Snares appears be a collesction of magazine articles, it does have a lot of information on setting traps that:

    a) Can be constructed from timber that you don’t need to buy (again appealing to the budget mindedness of the readers)
    b) Work

    You may be able to sell the pelts and make some cash (and buy MORE ammunition …

    (Search the Gutenberg website for “hunting” and “trapping” and see what shakes out of the woodwork).

  9. Chocs says:

    Aaah man, just the right way to start my Sunday morning with some snark from Mr AC 😀
    As for coons, I’ve never had the opportunity to tangle with one, but I have lived on a farm where we had “invaders” after our chickens; they were dealt with speedily.

    A cold remedy which I suspect you’ll approve of : one/two tablespoon honey in a mug of hot water, splash of lemon juice and a shot of whiskey.

  10. Joel says:

    If you consider a racoon that will barely fit a 50# sack a smallish racoon, it’s possible you actually have been fighting bears all this time and didn’t know it.

    I used to summer with an uncle who loved hunting racoons beyond all things. Kept a pack of dogs for that single purpose. To this day more than 45 years later, when I think of tedious things that keep me up all night for no really good reason, I think of racoons. Even at the time, when I was still armed with youth and two feet and clueless stupidity, I did not understand the charm of the sport.

  11. rapnzl rn says:

    Oh geez. Aside from rain and bronchitis, this sounds way too much like one of our ‘neighborhood watch’ meetings a few years ago. At least you got your poultry terrorist!!!! The wily raccoon fears no mere mortal…even one with a loaded gun. Especially when chickens are involved.

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