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Interesting article in Field & Stream this month about rabies and raccoons. I've lived in the woods for some twenty years now, and can remember three occasions where raccoons and at least one possum were in the area, (once in my garage), and displayed rabid behaviour. I shot two of the raccoons and the possum, a couple others disappeared into the night. I had the one that wouldn't leave my garage tested and sure enough, he definitely had rabies. I didn't handle any of those shot. I used a long handled shovel and burned the carcasses with gasoline. The one I had tested I manged to get into a plastic garbage bag for transport to the vet. Something to keep in mind when you see '****, 'possoms or especially skunks, they could be deadly. The vet told me that 90% of skunks carry rabies, (yeah 90%). If you see one at any time in the daylight, he's got it. So remember when that cute little raccon knocks over your garbage can, rabies, untreated is almost 100% FATAL.
 

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Not only that, but ***** is tough! Had one growling/hissing at me in the garage a few years back. Decided I'd take it out with a shovel, rather than discharge a firearm in a concrete structure. Thing can scrambling after me and I whacked it over the head with a shovel. It's legs went spread eagle, blood shot out of its mouth sh!t shot out of its a$$. Figured I killed it. Few seconds later while I was getting a trash bag, the thing gets up, shakes itself off and growls at me! I decided to risk the bullet.

It sounds cruel, but any animal like that, that shows aggressive behavior, or even behavior way out of the ordinary (like nocturnal animals out in the daytime. . .reminds me of a bat that attacked me in broad daylight), should be killed.
 

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For a while we had a young raccoon hanging around here that got to be right used to seeing us around. I know you aren't suppose to fraternize with wild animals, but this one was just neat to have around.

Later on a bigger and older one showed up that started harrassing the younger one. I figured that is just nature, but this bigger one just seemed to act odd at times. Then one day during the early evening, this older **** was standing in front of the house twitching and shaking. When it saw me it started walking slowly towards me. The gun I had closest was an AR-10 in .308 that I had been shooting just a day or two before. The **** was definitely too close to use the scope, but luckily (I thought!) I had see through rings on it. Well, I couldn't see a damned thing through those "see-through" rings! So I had no choice but to use the scope. Of course, my shot went low and only winged that ****, which ran off into the woods.

Damn!

I went and grabbed a S&W Sigma in .357 Sig that I had in the Jeep at the time and went in after it. Now it was getting a little darker, and let me tell you, I wasn't all that keen on being there, but I felt I had no choice. Luckily that **** was preoccupied with it's wound, because I came up on it REAL close before I saw it. One shot with the .357 Sig dispatched it nicely.

Now I don't know if it actually had rabies, because I have heard that distemper is pretty common in ***** and can cause them to act like this one did. But I wasn't taking any chances.

Now here's the weird thing. The next evening that younger **** showed up in the front yard right where I had originally shot that older one with the AR-10. The little raccoon stood up on it's hind legs and looked me right in the eyes. Then turned around and trotted off into the woods and we never saw it again. That critter KNEW I had shot the other one. Guess it wasn't taking any chances on my shooting it as well......
 

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This is just more proof that vets that work with domestic animals should keep their nose to domestic animals and leave wildlife to people that ork in the wildlife field. I really don't like most vets! This is why.

http://www.aspenskunk.org/myths.htm
http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/ID_Report_April04.pdf

Read the first one for a simple "myth buster." The answers are mostly factual based on the knowledge I otherwise have, except that it seems to be written almost exclusively about the striped skunk only.

The second one is just an article I cited to show how funny that 90% statistic sounds. Next, that vet would likely say that mice (or oppossum for that matter....lol) are the number one cause of rabies in humans or something....lol.

BACK TO ORIGINAL TOPIC: First, most of these critters are crepuscular and NOT nocturnal. This means you will see them out in daylight. Matter of fact, wild animals don't read the rulebooks, so don't be surprised if a healthy one is out looking for food at mid-day. It happens and it doesn't mean they are sick. Second, animals that are no longer truly wild living near people (and off of people's trash/etc.) are no longer fully wild and frequently do not behave that way. Why should they? Are all animals in a zoo sick (well, maybe at the Audobon Zoo, but that is another thread.) No, they aren't, but they still don't act right? ....because they aren't wild! The same is frequently true about that animal living in your trash can and under your house. Use some common sense AND true facts instead of MYTH here, people!

BUT, that doesn't mean a sick acting animal should be left out there alive. That isn't good for us of their population in many cases. BUT, if you corner a raccoon, it will attack even in the best of health if it can't run. Fight or flight. I've been chased by more raccoons that I can count, but none ever acted like they had rabies. I just pushed them too far trying to get in for a good shot. (I hunt and eat them. I've even climbed trees to scare them out of a hole for a good shot, so this is MY fault.) I've also been ran out of a tree by a porcupine for the first time recently. That was cool, but nerve-wracking at the time. Got some neat photos, though!

Worst time was a **** that I thought was dead, but was only wounded, that we chased into tall grass. I came runing out of the grass with the **** on one leg while I tried to kick it off with the other leg and run on both legs at the same time. Haahaa. Anyway, we finished it off pretty quickly and brought it home, boiled it in bay leaves, and pit it on the grill. :) I've also been attacked pretty bad by an oppossum that I scared. It was eating rodent chow in my shed when I tried to walk in and grab a bag one night. It reacted just to get out of the door I was blocking. Poor guy. I killed it with a gaff because that was the only thing on hand. I couldn't get out quick enough to let him by, and I was in shorts and openned toed shoes at the time. He wasn't acting sick, but I would have lost that fight if he made it to me first. :(

KJ
 
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