Saturday, August 20, 2016

Red Badge of Courage

The first time I caught a badger, I thought the Russians had dropped a bomb on my set.  Then I saw the badger in the trap.  But soon I caught a couple more of them and I realized that it's about the same thing.  My friend Jimmy Hill trapped with me some while I was in high school.  Now Jim caught a badger one day and clobbered it good with a broken hickory shovel handle.  The badger moved, so he clobbered it a couple more times.  Convinced it was finally dead, we then put it in a gunnysack, Jim tossed it over his shoulder and we headed for home.  'Bout halfway, the badger decided he didn't like the confinement of a gunnysack.  The easiest way out was through the side of the sack, which would have been fine had Jim's back not been in the way.  Now, if you've never seen a badger's front claws, you are in for a surprise.  Not quite the same surprise that Jim was in for, though, because feeling those claws tear through your shirt gives you a much better appreciation for those claws than just looking at them.  The furor of an angry badger makes the Tasmanian Devil look like a downy chick.  By some miracle, we managed to get the badger subdued for good.  Jim of course, smeared the blood from his back around real well for effect before we headed back to tell our friends of our heroic acts in the face of grave danger.  Jim was a wrestler.  Wrestlers are like that.

Not only are badgers ferocious, but they are downright ornery.  And they can practically turn around inside their skin.  Their skin fits so loose that if it is grabbed by a coyote or anything else stupid enough to try to catch one, the badger can spin around and bite back no matter where it is held.  A couple years ago, I saw a large badger started to cross the gravel road near my home.  When it saw me coming in a minivan, this ornery cuss turned, bared its teeth and came at the van.  His arrogance has earned him a permanent place on my wall.

Bernie Barringer, Bernie Barringer's Complete Guide to Farmland Fur Trapping (Crystal Lake: Moving Mountain Publishing 1997), 289-290.

1 comment:

Ryu said...

No way. He admired the badger, that's why he wanted to mount in on the wall. It may be the proper way to react when another animal crosses your territory, as he crossed the badger's land.