Farm Forum

Leaving a meeting at the edge of town recently, friends called to me as I crossed the parking lot headed for my car.

I turned to see what their shouting was all about.

“Turn around,” they bellowed. “Turn around.”

So I did.

A skunk was serenely trotting along about where I’d have been had I continued to my car. Skunks are nocturnal. It was mid morning. Think rabies.

The skunk paid me no heed and pitter-pattered to the shade and shelter of a landscaped bush.

Later at coffee I relived my almost “close encounter,” and our conversation evolved into a discussion on the viciousness of badgers.

It’s the flatland’s wolverine. They are both of the same family. And as wolverines are want to do, badgers will take on any foe. They’re tough as nails and as aggressive as telemarketers.

One of my coffee friends related that while hunting pheasants in the Aberdeen area his friend found a deer’s bloodied hind quarter pointing to the stars with the remainder of the body pulled down a badger hole.

He figured a badger had found the dead deer and dragged it home. It couldn’t pull it all the way into its den because the deer’s hip bones were too wide.

It sounded like a tall tale to me.

Another spiel merchant at our table told about the encounter their friend once had with a badger while Country Club golfing. It approached him snarling and looking for a fight. The golfing friend was backing away as fast as he could.

But he also got in a pretty good swing with his two iron and the badger dropped dead as a carp.

Another of our coffee drinkers had a badger story.

He told of a neighbor and her encounter with a badger. The neighbor was a little lady of grace and charm who wouldn’t hurt a flea.

It happened in about 1950 on a rocky farm near Hendricks, Minn.

She handled the finer things of farm life and had the extra assignment as chicken keeper. She loved her chickens.

A week before the couple were to sell their farm and move to Astoria, the little lady awoke one night to a commotion in the hen house.

This triggered a conditional response that’s embedded in farm folk. Something bad was happening out there.

She rushed out, entered the hen house and observed a pile of her much-loved pullets dead and dying. The offending badger was, as nature had taught it, piling dirt and dried chicken doo-doo over his kills.

The petite little lady became enraged.

Remember, badgers are bad bananas. Even their pelts are offensive. Badgers move their haunches humpbacked, and snarl in a nasty manner. They have razor sharp teeth, and claws and muscled front legs.

The kindly little lady grabbed the only weapon handy, a rusty old garden hoe with a broken handle, and went on the offense.

In seconds, the lady who grew up bemoaning the death of creatures great and small had chopped the badger to bits. Her husband had to pull her back and calm her down.

So remember. Don’t monkey around or badger badgers. They’re not sheepish or chicken and shouldn’t be lionized.

Bullish as a bear, they’re like tigers on steroids.

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