Mia Anstine blogs about her daughter’s journey to becoming an outdoorswoman in the mountains of Colorado. In this installment, the Little Gal traps her first raccoon
We acquired Thomas at a 4-H auction. He was intended to be a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and ended up with our family for three and a half years. Tom had a couple of friends who were eaten by coyotes, bobcats and shredded by raccoons.
Tom always managed to survive the attacks and he became an icon at the ranch. A mascot so to speak. Tom was always there when we would shoot targets or skeet. He would stand in the background, always behind the line, and cheer each time you would fire a shot. . Anytime there was action, Tom could be found close by.
He would follow us out to the back field as we went to search for prairie dogs or coyotes. He would come and show our company his pretty feathers every chance he would get. Tom was friends with the hounds, the goat and even the horses.
We have been busy with hunting season and are fortunate to have many people who help us care for the ranch. While Hank and the hunters were out yesterday, one of our very good friends dropped items off at our house. Tom quickly went to greet him and strutted his fancy feathers as items were unloaded. When they were finished, they backed out of the driveway and the unthinkable happened. Tom was squished under a truck tire. Our friend had admired and laughed at Tom for years. He frantically called to attempt to notify us that our friend had suffered a horrible accident.
Today we remember Tom and say thanks. Thomas, aka, Tom, you will be missed at the Anstine Ranch. You gave us lots of laughs and lots of smiles. We’ll be telling your stories for years to come.
Be sure to click on the links throughout the post and read about Thomas’ adventures.
I was out watching our new little filly, Winnie , when I was reminded of spring time’s past and erosion control at the ranch. Spring time in Colorado generally has us thinking of chasing turkeys. The problem is that season doesn’t start until April. Some may not know, but lion season is open until the end of March. Yet another problem. The quotas are not high, and there have come to be many people out hunting lions so the units quotas on lions close quickly. Soooo. We are left with coyotes, Eurasian collared doves or prairie dogs on the ranch in between the big game and turkey hunting seasons. My particular memory as I watched our filly was of a “trophy” prairie dog a spring or two ago.
I reminisced as Winnie ran, bucked and jumped in the south pasture. On the other end of the field there were multiple mounds of dirt. Then I worried about her getting near those mounds of dirt. I knew they were holes made by prairie dogs. If the little filly made her way over there she may slip into one and twist a leg. That is when I thought of being in that pasture before doing a small amount of erosion control.
The pesky little varmints can destroy a beautiful pasture in no time at all, and they are nearly impossible to eliminate. Being a huntress, I like to take time to hone my stalking and marksman skills as well as be gone with a the select few that show them selves.
A spring or two ago I had a record day with the largest prairie dog I’ve ever seen. It is my “trophy” from the south pasture. I know sizes of these mammals can vary, but the ones on our ranch generally range from 6 to 10 inches long. On that day I saw a very large animal and out of the corner of my eye I though it may be a marmot. We have never had a problem or even seen a marmot at our ranch. I took a better look and realized it was another prairie dog. I stalked around the perimeter of the pasture so I could get a better angle on the large rodent. When I got in range and had a good angle I awaited the possible plague carrying rodent.
Then I saw a bit of tan pop up. I was ready but I waited. The tan disappeared. I was patient. Then it came. The entire field destroying animal arose. I steadied myself as it gave me a good angle. I honed in on it and pulled the trigger. BAM! It was over, just like that. All that waiting and then I had my self a “trophy”. I walked over to look at it and most generally do not touch these animals. They are known to be carriers of not only fleas, but plagues and other diseases. I saw how large this one was and could not resist picking it up and taking a picture. It was the largest we had ever seen at the ranch. It was a “trophy”! No, it won’t be going on the wall, and it won’t be mounted, but we will remember it as one of the biggest taken yet each time we see the dirt mounds in the south pasture!