Typical Plumas County season change is upon us. What typical means around here is that “It’s never been like this before.” We have gone from days of never ending rain, road closures, dam mishaps and water gushing from places water ain’t never gushed from to bright, warm sunshiny days.
One of those bright days brought a sight of something I really didn’t want to see. This creature was charging down the back hillside, with its tail stuck straight up in the air much like the universal human gesture of disrespect. It was a ground squirrel out of hibernation and ready to breed up a few thousand progeny to spread hate and discontent around the neighborhood.
I had just finished paying off a work crew to clear out a drainage ditch that had backed up from all their digging debris. Scientific study has yet to come up with an explanation as to why these things must dig constantly, but my back hill is covered by mounds of spoil. What these nasty little hombres do is dig holes and cover them up — constantly.
The blockage from this dirt had caused water to spill out and course across the garage floor, spreading mud and leaves throughout and bringing my level of discontent to a murderous rage. The great and wonderful God has yet to prove to me why things like mosquitoes and ground squirrels exist. Of course, He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, but even so …
Then, of course we all know that the ideal nesting material for baby ground squirrels is the stuffing from inside the outside chair cushions. This fact may not be obvious until the homeowner steps outside to the front porch and discovers the insides of cushions on the outside and strewn up and down the driveway. About 30 bucks a shot to replace these things.
The new scope for the .22 has now been zeroed for the coming season.
But as much of a problem ground squirrels are, they can’t compare to the destruction and frustration created by a much larger pest common to our area. Stormy and Troy Rittgers woke up last week to find that another pest had come out of hibernation. Their chicken coop was in shambles, fencing knocked down and what was left of dead chickens scattered about.
The bear was partial to white meat and had eaten the breast out of a few chickens before discarding the rest of the bird. The thing about bears is that they will return to a food source even after it is gone — just in case. For three consecutive nights, the bear returned smashing through the repaired doors and dining on more chickens.
The Rittgers called Fish and Wildlife who sent a hunter down. He issued a depredation permit, set a trap and stayed on the property that night until 1 a.m. The bear, of course, failed to show and is still at large.