Thieves and brigands

Posted by Ken Campbell June 1, 2011 0 Comment 665 views

The raccoons are back at Jones Island. Hell, maybe they’ve been back for a while, I don’t know. I hadn’t camped there for a couple of years and I hadn’t given the critters much thought, but all that changed on Monday night.
I remember the way it was the first few times I camped at Jones. The raccoons were relentless. All night trying to prize their way into the food bags hanging from the line, scratching and snarfing around the tents and the table looking for scraps. They knocked over the stove and the dishes, rummaging through the entire camp, grunting and screeching, making sleep impossible. All night. Every night I was there, anyway.
Then the wildlife folks at State Parks started to trap them. Not too long after that, there wasn’t a single coon left on the island. I talked to the ranger once when he was out at the island and he told me that, when they began the trapping program, there were over a hundred of the varmints out there. They had trapped and removed a dozen of them over the course of a week or so and then, like magic, the rest had disappeared as well. They are intelligent beasts, no question about that, and once they saw the welcome mat get taken away, they left the island on their own. Camping on Jones became a much more peaceful proposition and stayed that way for years.
Not any more. They’re back, and it looks like they brought some friends. At one point in the night, I shined my light down on the beach to check on the kayaks and four fat raccoons were sitting atop them, trying to figure out how to get into the hatches. Evil red eyes glared back at me through the darkness, and the rocks I threw had no effect. These are tough and single-minded animals and if they had thumbs, there is no doubt in my mind that they would rule the world.
They didn’t get into the food or the garbage, which is good, but I know that they are always learning, always working to perfect their criminal skills. If you’re planning a trip to Jones Island, you have been warned.

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