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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wussified Montanans play it safe

The lovable but not huggable American badger. 
Photo courtesy of Chuck Gackstetter.

The police in Billings blasted a badger that was hiding under a loading dock in a shopping center.

The game commission and animal control agents --those who normally solve such problems and usually by non-lethal means, didn't want to be bothered.

So Barney and his fellow police took care of this public menace with buckshot. 

I suspect the animal found itself in the wrong place, took cover, and was waiting to make tracks.

But this is Montana. Out West.

Where, as folksinger U. Utah Philips used to say, "the states are square, the men and are men, and the sheep are all worried".

Well, that's how it used to be. They say the demographics of the west are changing.

What the hell happened to the Montanans who weren't afraid of badgers?

My friend Brian Miller with whom I had to commiserate, had this to say:

"What a bunch of wimps.

When I started school at Wyoming, a badger fell into a 8 foot by 3 foot window well of a University building. The window well was about 5 feet deep.

They called Hank Harlow and me to come and catch it.

We dropped down into the well, put a #10 corn scoop in front of our feet for protection, caught the badger with a rabid dog noose and released it onto the prairie."

That reminds me of the time my childhood friend Tom Briggs found a sleeping badger.

We were on a field trip to Tesla Road near the town of Livermore, California.

Back in the late 50s it was good badger country, all grassland and valley oaks.  

Not heeding the adage about sleeping dogs, Tom took off his belt and slipped it over the animal's head.

The badger woke up in a foul mood and started to snap and twirl like a whirling Dervish.

Maybe leading it back to the truck to show his friends wasn't such a good idea.

Tom decided to let it go.

The snarling badger took off and Tom went home without his belt.

Which brings me back to the law-and-order cops of Billings.

I think they could have done better.

A fire extinguisher or bear spray would have sent that scary badger packing.

Or they could have zapped it with their taser, thrown it in the trunk and headed for the prairie with flashing lights and wailing siren.

Now that's the kind of story I'd prefer to read about cops and badgers in Big Sky Country.

[Thanks again to the Outdoor Pressroom for posting goofy news and other good outdoors stuff, and to Chuck Gackstetter who seems to have the camera trapping record for great badger pictures.]


Carol said...

I agree...sometimes it's worth the extra effort to help nature co-exhist. I've never seen a Badger, and there's one I'll never see.


randomtruth said...

There used to be Badgers in Livermore? Wow. I grew up scouring the Tri-Valley for wildlife (mostly herps) in the 70's and had no idea.

Btw - same thing happened up by the place I camera trap - they shot the local cougar last fall because it got a little rough while trying to play with a house cat and broke its leg.

Guess they couldn't be inconvenienced to relocate it (or just leave it alone).

Beverly said...

Heyyyyyyyy, I used to snake hunt on Tesla Rd in Livermore...and the other roads around the Lawrence Radiation Lab (okay, I know they renamed the place to make it safer (ha!)). But I never saw, or heard of anyone else seeing a badger. Now, that would be way cool!!!

Sigh...and about your story; I guess we just haven't yet rid the west of cowboys, huh? What a bunch of stupid weenies. I like the way you hunt, Codger!

Wow Gold said...

Very Nice Blog

Wow Gold said...

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Owlman said...

Whimps indeed!