Lousy Bandits

Posted May 13th, 2005 by Mike Cherim

My wife and I grow an incredible bi-color corn in our garden. It’s an awesome hybrid we’ve sown for years. We do it because the taste of this corn far exceeds anything else we’ve tried. It grows well in our area (southern New Hampshire) and it yields a sizable harvest. It seems to handle pests well, too. A great crop. One problem, though: Raccoons. They like our corn as much as we do.

A few years ago we were raided late at night by a pair of raccoons living on our property. Or rather our corn crop was. This is near harvest time and the ears of corn were well developed. By the following morning, 25% of those ears were wasted. Utterly destroyed. It’s not like the bandits took a half-dozen ears of corn to-go, bringing them into the woods to enjoy their meal. Hell, no, they sat there right in the field and took a big bite out of the middle of the ears. What a waste. We don’t mind sharing, but this was a disaster.

We had 75% of our crop left and we hoped the raccoons were satisfied and would leave us alone and let us have the rest of the crop we had grown all summer long. Hoped we did, but to no avail. We were raided again. And we lost another 25% of our crop. Suckers.

The following night I waited up for our midnight marauders. Yep, like an old farmer I guess, I sat on my porch waiting for them ‘coons, firearm in hand. I waited for them to dare show up with me right there, but show they did. The fearless pair walked right into the garden and started yet another wave of destruction.

I brought my weapon — a .22 caliber rifle with a scope — to my shoulder and care leveled it, zeroing in on one of the bandits. I moved the sight slightly to the left of the lead and released a round. The rifle made its report. I lowered the weapon to see if the “message” was delivered. It wasn’t. Raccoons have very agile little “fingers.” Well, one of those fingers, looked like a middle one, was raised to my view. Could it be?! Did that raccoon just flip me the bird?! They started eating the corn again. The warning shot apparently having no effect whatsoever.

Well, a guy can only take so much. I had reached that point. The next warning shot was to the head of the lead raccoon, downing him instantly. This time the warning was directed to the lead’s partner in crime and this time the message was delivered. The remaining raccoon scampered off.

We though that would be the end of that. The next night we had no visitors. The corn complained of boredom. Just the way we like it. Mission accomplished. Casualties of war: minimum. Not.

The night following the now-solo bandit was back in the corn. We found out about it the next morning. We were stunned: “Come on!” we cried, “How can this be?” Needless to say I stayed up once again playing the role of angered farmer. And sure enough the bandit showed up. He entered what was left of the corn and started munching away. I brought the weapon to my shoulder and sighted in. I paused for a minute and wondered aloud if that raccoon was overweight… we was looking portly.

Once again I missed on purpose, sending out a shot of warning. And this time it seemed to work. As soon as the shot broke the silence the raccoon ran like hell. Scared. We won, the raccoon never came back and we got to harvest what was left of our crop.

That was, until last night. Our corn has yet to break the soil’s surface, but we had a bandit visitor all the same. This time he came right up to the house. I watched him late last night. I watched him start eating my cat’s food. I ran outside and scared the ‘coon away. He high-tailed it into the woods. Did it work? No way. The cat’s food was gone this morning. Raccoons are not easily discouraged.

We’re not sure what will come of this, but based on our prior experiences, we can assume the worst without being too pessimistic. We are pretty certain that this new problem will continue on all summer long. Our crops will again be ravaged. I don’t want to go the way of the gun if I don’t have to (can’t we all just get along?), and urinating behind the corn doesn’t seem to work — even though it works very well with deer. We will consider the use of a blood-based repellent designed for rabbits and deep, but we’re largely uncertain of how things will unfold at this point. I’ve eaten my “Wheaties” and I’ve done my push-ups today, so it’s now just a matter of time.

What would you do? Or what have you done in the past if you’ve had a similar problem?

2 Responses to: “Lousy Bandits”

  1. Joshua Kendall responds:
    Posted: June 12th, 2005 at 8:23 am

    Tack a coon skin hat at the part of the garden he comes from… that would be discouragment enough for me. :)

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