|He only looks cute.|
See that hole? Not good.
Warning: Many, many gophers were
mortally wounded seriously harmed in the telling of this story.
I want to preface this story with the fact that gophers, on a ranch, are bad news. They dig holes that unsuspecting horses and livestock stumble into, breaking legs and other appendages. They eat bushels of valuable grain. And they make dozens more little gophers. Who grow up to cause even more trouble. Thus costing ranchers hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Gophers may look cute, with their little dark eyes. Their fur and their ‘chirp’. And their I.Q. which, if it went up a point or two, would reach the level of ‘imbecile’. But they are very bad news. Think of them as the little rats of the ranching world.
On to my story . . .
On a ranch, the use of firearms is a necessary skill. Coyotes, wolves, cougars and other predators can, and do, threaten the herd.
Marksmanship is also a necessity. If you’re going to use a gun, better hit only what you are aiming at. There can be no crazed waving of a gun. No popping off shots indiscriminately.
Let’s put it this way. ‘Bullets leave an indelible mark.’
So we kids on the ranch were taught the proper use of guns. And, during the summer, had daily target practice.
Our targets? The thousands of gophers that infested the prairie hills. We were actually performing two feats in one. Perfecting our aim and ridding the ranch of its number one pests.
It was my turn to be trained in the all-important use of the ‘22’.
Husby loaded me and my trusty little gun into the cab of the pickup and headed out to the nearest pasture. A piece of land heavily pock-marked with the mounds dug by our little, furry vermin. For several minutes, things went well. Gophers would pop out of their burrows. I would aim and fire.
My record, though not stellar, was approaching good.
He moved the truck slowly across the uneven ground. A gopher popped up. And another directly behind it.
I aimed carefully and squeezed the trigger.
Both went down.
I blinked. Two?
We drove closer and I got out. Yep. Two. The second had been blindsided because of the first. As a rancher’s daughter, it was one of my finest moments.
Okay. It doesn’t match the contributions made, daily, by the people fighting disease in every corner of the globe. Or those who constantly put their lives on the line in our defense.
Still, it’s a record that hasn’t been topped by anyone from our ranch.
For a country girl, a real contribution.
Every Wednesday, Delores of Under the Porch Light issues a six-word challenge.
This week's words?
marksman, stellar, blindsided, indelible, crazed and imbecile.
I'm sure she didn't foresee my using them to describe one of the less-desirable facts of life on a ranch.
Sorry, Delores! :)
Hurry over and see what her other followers have created!