A Loaded Question
I was feeding dinner to the mares yesterday when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I realized there was something making its way towards us across the pasture. I started walking out to get a closer look when I realized it was a skunk. Obviously I beat a hasty retreat at that point! I tried making some loud noises and banging on the fence a bit so that it would hear the noise and change its path to head in a direction aside from me (and the mares). Unfortunately it kept slowly coming our way.
I was at a loss at to how to avoid a disastrous situation. I knew at some point the horses were going to notice it, thankfully they were too busy eating at that point, but they were soon going to be finished eating and someone was going to get curious. I called Jason and apprised him of the situation. He told me to keep an eye on the skunk and he would be there shortly.
A minute later I notice Jason striding down the hill with a purpose, rifle in hand. He watched the skunk and it was still on its path right towards us and the horses, getting closer with every second. Jason felt it was not exhibiting normal behavior coming right at us, especially since we kept making noise and clearly making it known that we were there. The skunk was shot as Jason was really concerned that it was not acting right.
Of course I started on the whole “what if” tangent. What if it was a mommy skunk that was just desperate to find food for her babies? I must confess that I hadn’t actually a clue what skunks eat and had to google it to find out. What if it was a baby skunk that lost its mommy and was hungry? What if . . . ? In the end though I do think it was the right decision to shoot the skunk. Jason buried it. 🙁
As always happens in these scenarios Jason starts in on me that I should have a rifle or a gun of some short. Ummmmmmm, no. As always I respond with “I’m not carrying a rifle around with me, you don’t either.” Right on script Jason responds with “you should take a handgun course, go through the checks, and keep one with you.’ Ummmmmmmmmmm, HECK NO! I’m sorry, but I am not walking around with a shoulder holster on me. That is just ridiculous, stupid, an extreme over-reaction.
Jason then says “what would you do if I wasn’t home.” I told him I would call my dad. So then he asks who I would call when we move to our new farm since my parents won’t be right there. I told him I would call a neighbor. I can tell Jason is pretty much ready to throttle me at this point because he thinks I am being unreasonable. I think he is being unreasonable. And ’round and ’round we go in this discussion where neither of us ever changes our stance.
His big thing is that if there was an immediate emergency, like coyotes or stray dogs attacking the goats (this happened once a few years ago), or the times when an opossum or raccoon gets too comfortable in the barn, or in the case of this clearly not right skunk, that I should be able to handle it myself, immediately, especially if no one else is home. Quite frankly I just don’t see myself ever being able to pull the trigger on anything, but then again maybe if I watched a pack of stray dogs or coyotes trying to kill Mina and Jo I wouldn’t think twice. I don’t know, but Jason feels strongly that I should have my own gun, fire it regularly, and have it at the ready. His other point is what if a horse was truly, traumatically hurt and should be euthanized immediately and not wait for a vet? I personally know two people who have found themselves in this situation, freak accidents do happen with horses. They both have said their greatest kindness was being able to immediately end the suffering and not having to wait for the vet while the horse was in agony.
I will admit that I do find amusement at the irony in this. According to stereotypes I should be the gun happy American while he should be the gun avoiding Canadian. We seem to have reversed those roles. Jason had about 20 rifles when he lived in Canada. Many of them he inherited from his grandfather and father but certainly not all. He said he always kept a rifle in the tractor with him when he was working on his farm in Canada (he farmed a couple thousand acres), mainly in case of a bear getting after his calves. Not that a bear encounter was likely but I can see that you would want to be prepared just in case! He said he would also fire off a shot from time to time if a big flock of seagulls was overhead to scare them off so he wouldn’t get pooped on!
My “loaded” question is, if you were me, would you get the gun, or do you already have one? What kind, a handgun or a rifle? Would you actually use it, could you really shoot the skunk, or a coyote, or whatever else was causing trouble? Jason thinks because our farm is big enough that we have no neighbors who can see or hear if anything really bad is happening that I should be prepared in case he or my dad are not around. I have resisted owning a gun for years. It feels wrong to me to even think about it. Maybe I am not looking at it from the right perspective though.
Definitely something to ponder on a rainy day.
Asterik, Winston, Ogie, B-Rad, Faune, Sebastian