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Posted: May 29, 2012 9:00 p.m.

Long live city squirrel hunting

I was musing on the incongruity of two laws, announcements or whatever you call them enacted by the Covington City Council in the last few years. The first outlawed the shooting of squirrels in the city of Covington even with pellet guns or BB guns. The second approved the shooting of deer with bow and arrow within the city limits. I fail to see how a bow and arrow is safer than a BB gun. If I walk early, I see deer in the city cemetery. I would hate to think someone is taking aim at them while I walk by. I also mourn that they have taken away from the citizens of Covington and my husband in particular the perfectly satisfying and helpful sport of squirrel hunting.

The thought came to mind as my outdoor cat Julianne recently was scratched in a fight and my husband was looking for his pellet gun for revenge. Julianne is fine now and nothing came of his search, but he does have a long history of shooting squirrels in our yard (as do several of our neighbors).

I have a pecan tree on one side of my house and several oak trees on the other side. The squirrels enjoy my yard as they can find lots of food. On the occasion when they are able to find a way into the attic, I swear they play organized sports, racing from one end of the house to the other and then back again. They enjoy digging in my planters and killing my plants just to bury their nuts. In the spring, several oak seedlings will grow with my flowers.

As far as I am concerned, squirrels are nothing more than rats with tails and a nuisance.

The cat that we had when we moved over 40 years ago into the house where we live now was called Milton Fox. I named him Milton after the poet, and then my husband watched a movie which had a character named Milton Fox and Milton got his last name. Milton was handsome, a light gray and fluffy.

He was also not neutered or very smart. So he got into a lot of fights. One time my husband had to rescue him from an amorous pursuit in zero degree temperatures at midnight at the casket storeroom of J.C. Harwell & Son Funeral Home.

He was bloodied and had to visit the veterinarian who suggested neutering Milton. His logic was that if Milton was that bloodied, he was not winning the affection of the ladies and, therefore, would be missing nothing. He was neutered.

Later, another cat and Milton got into it and my husband went charging out to defend Milton's honor. In his point of view, if Milton Fox is in his own yard minding his own business, the interloper cat deserves punishment. The two cats ran across the street with my husband and his pellet gun in pursuit. He followed them under Mrs. King's house, sighted and shot. He heard a howl, but he was not sure which cat he shot.

I was unaware of this but was puzzled when my husband kept calling every 20 minutes to see if Milton Fox was home. When Milton Fox returned safe and sound and my husband heard the news, he returned home too.

Around 15 years ago a neighbor installed a small, decorative goldfish water feature in his back yard. It was appropriately stocked with koi or goldfish. Then the fish began to dwindle. It was a mystery until the neighbor noticed a large heron or crane having a meal of his gold fish. The neighbor shooed the bird away and followed it with his car and discovered the bird lived at Academy Springs and apparently flew around looking for tasty meals.

This began the big bird alerts. The crane or heron would fly into my neighbor's yard to feast and my neighbor would immediately get on the phone to alert my husband. If he was home, he would grab his pellet gun and go crashing several yards away in an attempt to get that bird. He never even came close.

I guess my husband will have to stick to fishing for entertainment and sport. But fishing will not give us the excitement so close to home that his previous encounters have.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

 

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