Friday, April 25, 2008

Tales From The Possum Hunter

This week’s episode titled: “Packin’ Heat”

The time came several weeks ago when I had to give up the pastime of trapping because my grandfather needed his trap back in order to deal with some predators that were threatening his chicken coup. After returning the trap to my grandfather, I started thinking maybe I shouldn’t totally retire from hunting (or at least deterring) the varmints that discover the small animal paradise that is our back yard. So I went to Wally World and procured for myself a form of small arms. Very small arms in fact. That’s right; I got me a pellet gun. I am now packing some CO2 powered heat.

After spending the better part of an hour trying to cut into the bullet proof plastic packaging that the gun and accompanying can of pellets are sold in, I began the informal process of self-training myself in the ways of pellet gun safety. As per the instructions, I schooled myself in the proper way to handle the mock berretta handgun. But mainly I just tried to figure out how to get the safety lock off the trigger.

After mastering the skills to load the CO2 cartridge into the handle and the pellets into the clip, I took the side arm in hand and headed outside. I was concerned about the neighbors seeing any type of gun in the hands of someone who occasionally has to deal with cats in the possum hunting process, so I opted for using the garage in my quest to see what kind of destructive power there is from a pellet moving at 400 feet per second. I was disappointed to discover that it isn’t enough to go through a piece of particle board, but it is, however, enough to sting when it hits you in the arm after ricocheting off of a piece of particle board.

After inspecting the damage on the board, I noticed that the pellet left a pretty good size dent so obviously the adolescent brain of this carefree man-child began to wonder if a pellet would completely pierce the board if held about foot away. I decided to be smart this time, or at least smarter, and hold the gun at an angle away from me so that the ricocheting pellet wouldn’t hit me this time. I held the gun at arms length, and squeezed the trigger. POW, SMACK, CLACK, CLANK, THUD, PING! I had to duck for cover as the pellet furiously bounced back and forth through the garage. Apparently the angle was too great and the pellet was totally deflected by the board. As far as I can ascertain, the pellet hit the board (SMACK!), then the work bench (CLACK!), and a flower pot (CLANK!) before grazing the deep freezer (THUD) and finally colliding into the lawn mower handle (PING!).

Armed with this new weapon against the local marsupials, I marched back into the house and secured a militarily strategic position next to the breakfast nook window and waited for an encroaching possum. As the sun began to set, I spotted a possum waddling into my pellet gun protected territory. Slowly…quietly…I began to slide the window open, but it wasn’t stealth enough. The movement and sound were detected by the possum’s superior natural radar, and he retreated to the safety of the demilitarized zone of my neighbor’s yard.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there will ever be a different scenario. The only way to get a clear shot is also the way that I will always be detected. So it looks like the pellet gun can only be used as a psychological weapon in what has suddenly became a cold war against the possums.

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