Early this morning, I heard the sounds of dog battle from the front of the house. Otty was the only dog outside, but when I went out to investigate, I didn't see her or anything else. Last week she got all torn up in the face after an altercation with some varmint right after I let her out in the morning, so I wanted to find her to make sure she wasn't injured. A. found her shortly thereafter and said she didn't have any wounds or anything, so we figured she had chased something off and then we forgot about it.
Later when I called Cubby in for lunch, he came in and announced, "There's something scary under the front porch. It growled and rustled around when I was under there."
Immediately, I thought of Otty's skirmish early in the morning and her ripped up face last week, and I knew what was under the front porch.
So while the kids ate their lunch, I took the spotlight outside and stood by the north side opening to shine it under the front porch. Sure enough, there were the glowing eyes of a raccoon reflecting the light back at me from the south corner under the porch.
I called A. at work to let him know his gun would be called into service when he got home from work (he just loves to get those kinds of calls at work), and after the kids were done with their lunch, I told them they could see the coon. So we went back out with the spotlight. Unfortunately, Mia found us and immediately plunged under the porch.
I knew this wasn't going to end well. Not only is Mia getting up there in years (almost 10, which is pretty old for a collie), but she's been lame in one shoulder for a little while now. She's not exactly in prime fighting condition, and raccoons are fierce and aggressive fighters.
There was really nothing I could do except call Otty to help her. Otty came over and went under when I pushed her in that direction, but she came scurrying out again almost immediately, with Mia right behind her. I guess Otty had had enough run-ins with that raccoon and wanted nothing more to do with it.
The coon was still under the porch, and now Mia had a ripped-up toe. Great.
Though I was pretty sure that coon was not going anywhere while there was daylight, I still didn't feel very comfortable having the kids playing outside while it was under there. It was too nice a day to stay inside, though, so we went to the Punishing Playground, which pleased the children greatly. Jack was only partially enthusiastic, mostly because I thought his coat was in the car and it wasn't, so he wasn't as warm as he might have been. I did commandeer Charlie's hat for him--over Charlie's voluble protests--but he was still a little chilly.
There were no further incidents with the raccoon until the besuited assassin arrived home at 5:30 p.m. He changed into his killin' clothes, loaded up the .22, spotlighted the coon, aimed, and fired. Four times. That's how many shots it took to kill it. Apparently, raccoons have to be shot right in the brain to kill them, so the target area is only a couple of inches. Kind of a difficult shot while crouching and aiming into a dark spot.
It expired in the end, though, and after dinner A. skinned it in preparation for tanning.