Wally was worse than ‘wascally wabbit’

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 24, 2004

It all started on New Year’s Day. One might remember, that wasan unusually warm, sunny winter day after some dreary cold oneshere. Enjoying the day, I looked out over my pond and saw him – abeaver!

He, too, was enjoying the day, sunning himself in the middle ofthe pond. Earlier that morning we had noticed some evidence of aproblem at the pond and had even heard a splash. Apparently, he hadseen us before we saw him.

Now, as I understand it, beavers tend to be nocturnal in nature.It is rare to see one rummaging around at mid-day.

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As I went to load my shotgun, I realized all I had was birdshot.Undaunted, I decided to stalk him, hoping maybe he would swim upnear where I was sitting.

He, of course, was watching me and stayed a good 50 yards away.At one point, I think just to toy with me, he swam to the otherside of the pond and crawled up on the bank.

Huge does not begin to describe the size of this guy. As hestood up on the bank, he appeared to be three feet tall and a footand a half wide. I think he winked at me.

He continued teasing me, swimming and sunning just out of range.Bored, I took a shot at him anyway. The birdshot bounced off him ashe dove for cover.

A few months later, he appeared again in the early evening. Iwas getting a walk in when I heard a splash that sounded likesomeone had thrown a large rock into the water. It was dark, so thesound startled me.

Thinking one of my daughters was playing a trick, I snuck arounda bush with my flashlight to catch the culprit in the act. Theflashlight caught the varmint as he swatted his tail and dove underwater. He did that about three more times, obviously issuing achallenging to me.

The next night I was ready. This time I had buckshot!

The critter was not afraid. I think I heard him chuckle as hewatched me trying to aim the shotgun and point my flashlight at thesame time. He swatted his tail a few times just to make itinteresting.

Not to be outdone, the next night I recruited my beautiful andwonderful wife to help. Very graciously she stood there, barefootedand in her pajamas, holding the light — snickering as only a wifeof 24 years can do. The water exploded with my first shot. AssumingI got him, we walked back to the house triumphantly. Amy continuedto snicker.

It had been almost three months since my last sighting of thevarmint. By this time, the girls had named him — Wally.

Just two weeks ago he appeared again. The damage he had done wasnow evident by the large burrow in the side of pond bank. He had,obviously, been a busy beaver.

Without Amy to hold the flashlight, I was back to juggling thelight and aiming the shotgun. Mosquitoes were his ally.

Wally taunted me several times, swatting his tail and diving. AsI stood on the bank with a flashlight precariously stuck between myknees, he popped his head up just as the water exploded withbuckshot.

Missed, I grumbled to myself!

Two evenings later he appeared again at early dusk, this timevery close to the bank. I grabbed my shotgun, loaded it and set outfor the hunt. I got a shot off, but again I missed.

Then I noticed something in the water, just alongside the bank.It was Wally, and he was not feeling so well.

Proud of my apparent shooting abilities, I looked closer. It wasobvious that old age had taken ole Wally — not mymarksmanship.

This past week as I was standing on the pond bank, instead ofWally I was met by two of his relatives.

They were taunting me, it seemed, slapping their tails on thewater in unison. Obviously, they are now enjoying this more than Iam.

It may be a long summer.

Editor’s Note: Yes, I know they are cute, butthe damage they do to one’s property is not quite so cute. The Gameand Fish guys said I could declare war on them, because LincolnCounty has more than its share of beavers.

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to bjacobs@dailyleader.com.