“Aren’t we all baying for the moon?”
– Édith Piaf
Which is correct grammatically – ‘Baying for the moon’ or ‘Baying at the moon’?
I googled this, but couldn’t find an answer. I’d go for ‘baying for the moon’
Whatever. Who gives a f—k anyway?
In the end it took nine years to kill the Outlaw. They began by offering a $100 reward and trappers from far and wide rode in. A hundred dollars could take you a long ways in those days.
The trappers tried everything –packs of dogs, traps baited with poisoned bait, deer distress calls – but the Outlaw was nowhere to be seen. He seemed ta lead a charmed life. Year after year, they raised the bounty higher and higher, till by the time the great war began in ‘39, the newly created Canadian Wildlife Service had pegged the bounty at $1000.
In the eighth year of the hunt they located a hunter name Darth Strickland. That’s your’s truly. I am expensive but I am the best. My instructions were simple – track and stay with the Outlaw until he is killed, no matter how long it takes. My fees were sizable, enough for me ta retire on, but I won’t tell you how much. I don’t need no computishun.
With my new contract, I set off into wolf country. Sheriff Doug Hooser of Custer County was my point man in the hunt and he told me there had been lambs missing out at the Wilson range. I went over there and nosed around a bit. I was looking for fresh tracks but didn’t find any. I buttonholed old man Lamarr Wilson as he was getting into his buggy to go over to his alfalfa spread and he told me he lost two lambs and some chickens the night before – but he hadn’t found any spoor, so he had given up.
I sensed that the Outlaw had been around and would probably shack up in those rocky dens around the Oka Hills, so I drove over in my old Chevvy and laid out a string of traps in fifty foot intervals, along the Oka Lake shoreline. Other trappers like ta lace their traps with poison but my traps are clean. Poisons seem kinda sneaky to me.
The whole time that I was busy setting traps, I had a sense that I was being watched and I knew that the Outlaw was on my trail, some place just beyond my line of vision. The next day I got my first glimpse of him, but I didn’t see the coyotes. I reckoned maybe they had fallen out and parted ways. (If you have been paying any attention, in Part-1 the Outlaw had acquired two coyotes as sidekicks, after his missus got killed).
I already had my .22 Rimfire Ruger in my hand, having unslung it a while back. Among small calibres, the Ruger is the deadliest, lightweight – just 5lbs, no kidding. You can grip it in one hand and fire, no sweat. Pull the trigger and a Nosler Partition dual-core round will leap out, it’s two lead-alloy cores separated by a couple of millimeters, encased inside a tapered copper alloy jacket.
Departing the muzzle, the round will gulp up 4225 feet every second, until it enters the target, the front tapered lead alloy core continuing forward, making a neat hole, until it exits from the other end, it’s kinetic energy barely impeded. Meanwhile the rear cylindrical core, blunt and slug-like, will blossom outward, ballooning in diameter as it slams into flesh, bone and tissue, pulverizing everything in it’s path.
The Nosler Partition
If you want ta eat the prey after you kill it, the Nosler Partition is not the bullet I’d recommend, because the havoc it wreaks is kinda uncontrolled. The rear core might accidentally rupture a whitetail’s entrails, bladder or windpipe – tainting the meat, rendering it inedible. But if you just want ta whack a beast because he’s public enemy#1, there’s nothing even close to a Nosler Partition.
Turns out I was wrong about the coyotes. The one behind was actually further back, maybe fifty yards. Soon as I tried ta close in on the Outlaw, the ‘rear admiral’ started yelping. The Outlaw was ambling along when the ‘rear admiral’ took off, flashing past him and he took off as well. The last thing you enjoy as a hunter is being outed by the prey. You just got ta turn around and go home then.
I would have to shoot the coyotes if I wanted ta get the Outlaw, that was clear. Having them hanging around with him was not going ta help. I don’t have any feelings either way, about killing coyotes. They are like cockroaches. You don’t have pangs of conscience when you squish a cockroach, do you? Even though it did you no harm, you would kill a cockroach without compunction. Same thing with coyotes – they have been stereotyped in our minds as pests that need to be exterminated, period.
Killing coyotes is not exactly a cinch, but just follow some simple rules and you can get a coyote or two, easy. Trust me, I’ve killed hundreds over the years. If you are crouching in the brush, just make sure you can see at least 75 yards ahead. Chances are you won’t see a coyote easy. They are cautious m—ther f—kers, they really are. Look for movement, like a sudden swaying of undergrowth. If it’s late December to early March, that’s the coyotes’ mating season – have a good mating call handy. If it’s not, a nice injured lamb bleat will do fine. You can download calls from the Apple app store anytime, no sweat. Bring along a bluetooth enabled 50-watt speaker, stick it in a tree trunk and you got a call that will carry 80, maybe 100 yards.
And listen, have some patience. A coyote likes ta be sure before it breaks cover and steps into an open clearing. So, he may take a while before he appears in your cross-hairs. Just be still and lie low. He’s agile, so be ready.
Most importantly – and this applies ta hunting anything, not just coyotes or wolves – remember ta acquire a sense of detachment. If you stare too hard at the prey and think of letting him have it with both barrels, he somehow senses it – it’s like telepathy. Are human thoughts carried by brain waves? Do these vibes let out a silent alarm that the prey picks up? I don’t know, but trust me on this – at the point where he is in your sights or about ta come into your sights, do not think of killing him and do not stare at his eyes.
I never think, after the prey sails into my field of vision, about shooting the animal. I let my thoughts remain in a sort of levitating, neutral, idling mode and force myself ta think of something else. I try ta engage my mind on my next blog post or whether I need ta clean out my basement this weekend or something. I never look into the prey’s eyes and allow it ta feel my presence. When I pull the trigger, for me the prey is just an aiming point, like a target at a shooting range, not a living breathing animal.
Think of it this way – when you’re making love, if you allow yourself ta think of what you’re engaged in doing, you’ll come way too soon. But if you force your mind to think of something else – like maybe the sales presentation you need ta submit the next morning to your client – trust me, you’ll last way longer and your woman will take you to be fookin Don Giovanni. Try it, but don’t go overboard and think of really heavy stuff, like the Holocaust or something. You’ll end up with a wimpy limpy twiddledidum then.
So, I killed Abbott and Costello. But alas, it didn’t make getting the Outlaw any easier. He continued the cat and mouse game. He made a kill at the Fournier farm – a lamb that had somehow managed ta step outside the barn alone in the dead of the night. He was maybe expecting ta find a ewe named Rosy or something and instead he bumped into the dreaded beast. The Outlaw sank his jaws into the lamb’s neck but it was already dead by then, from sheer fright.
The Outlaw didn’t sit there in the open ta eat. He zig-zagged his way through the brush, until he could camouflage himself completely and only then did he start chomping on the lamb. I’ll be honest with you – I wasn’t there that night and I’m simply supposing that’s what happened.
A month went by after the Fournier range attack and I didn’t set my eyes on the Outlaw all that time even once, leading me ta wonder whether he had moved to Oka or Mont St. Hillaire or some place else. Wolves are known ta move around quite a bit, sometimes over hundreds of miles. If he had in fact moved to another county, then my contract was redundant and I could just collect my fee and go home.
(to be continued…..)
ps: Hang around. Lie still. Breathe evenly. Part-3 is where it all goes down.