Animal Tracks

With all the recent rain we were having there was plenty of mud which gave me an opportunity to scout about the property and see what wildlife had been spending some time with us. Most of the tracks belonged to deer. The white tailed deer usually hid from me and ran before i even knew they were there but the axis were bolder and often i got to glimpse them as they decided i was not to be trusted and turned and fled together through the tattered fence. There were some tiny tracks up near the gate which i believed probably belonged to Max the possum. If Max the possum ever showed up with a bunch of tiny glowing eyes in the dark we would have to rename him Maxine, but so far he was a Max. Most of the tracks appeared to be deer tracks. Something i didn’t understand though was the presence of what looked like tiny deer tracks. Was there a fawn in january? There were some places where holes were dug in the grass and the yard appeared pretty torn up. I assumed it was the handiwork of an armadillo.

One night Cashew was giving me a world of heck wanting to go out every two hours. It was my day off and i was attempting to finally get some sleep. There were 4 illnesses going around in my work world and i had been downing gallons of coconut water and concentrated elderberry syrup and just making it to my day off and now i was finally going to get some sweet beautiful rest…or so i thought. Cashew was not on board with this idea. I stomped out of bed and opened the crate door with my eyes still half closed. She ran excitedly in circles. I was on some kind of rant about off-days and sleep deprivation when i opened the door, stepped onto the porch in my long johns, and spat, “potty”. Cashew sprinted off the porch and popped a squat. As i stood there on the porch i recognized a sound. I was listening to the noises of a pig. But where was a pig? I didn’t have any pigs. My neighbors didn’t own any pigs. Had my neighbor gotten a pig i didn’t know about? But no, if it was on my neighbor’s property it would be at least a couple acres away. The noises wouldn’t be as audible as they were in the darkness. This was a pig somewhere on my property, not the neighbors’. But how did i have a pig….SHIT! I was awake now. Not a pig, a hog. I reached for my…the machete was in the house. ****! I was standing there barefoot in long johns with no machete. **** my laziness. I stood on the porch whisper-yelling at Cashew who also heard the hog but was in mid pee. “No funny business! Come here. Come here right now! House! House…”. Without a fuss she finished peeing and made a beeline for the porch. She was in the door before i was. Apparently, my fierce guard dog drew the line at wild hogs. Thank God. Perhaps there was hope for her intelligence yet.

The next morning i sat in the rocking chair and thought. I had intended to let Sili out as well but after hearing the hog noises i had kept her in and she held her potties until 8 am, unlike her sister who made 6 total trips outside for pee pees in the night. I would put money on the notion that she didn’t actually have to go potty each time and was just bored and unsympathetic to my need for sleep. At 8 am Sili was let out into the dog run to potty and i set out looking for tracks. All i saw were deer tracks. Suddenly i wondered, was i mistaking hog tracks for deer tracks? There were slight differences in some of the tracks i had assumed all belonged to deer. also, some of the deer tracks were large, some medium, and some tiny. Did some of the tracks belong to hogs and was that the reason behind the differing sizes? The holes in the grass….were they really the handiwork of an armadillo or was it the hog from last night that had been digging around? I wasn’t sure. I had never met a wild hog….hadn’t had any chance to study them and their behavior. I didn’t know much about them except that they weren’t afraid of humans and they could be quite destructive in a garden. I would have to start putting on pants to take the dogs out and carrying the machete. Since the dogs learned the command “potty” i had gotten lazy. The noises in the night would put an end to that. A wild hog was not something i wanted to meet in my long johns barefoot.

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