December 28, 2013

Out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of a tall hunter in camouflage waving to me it seems in something of a panic, or at least with enough urgency that I wonder, “Good grief, now what?” and I pull the wheel line tractor joystick into neutral to stop its roll across the pasture. The man stands within The Lane (he had to have hopped unseen the fence along Cascabel Road) and then drops flat out on the ground–I think he must have been in physical trouble and has fallen with a heart attack! But no … he rolls under the fence along the #1 Pasture and bounces back to his feet, runs towards me in great agitation … “Oh oh oh oh oh, that Bobcat! that Bobcat! I’ve got to get him!” “What Bobcat?” I say. “The one that’s right behind you, been staring at you from that row of mesquites! Don’t you want me to get ‘im?” (He brought to me warm and fond thoughts of Black and Tan Coonhounds we farm kids snuck into bed with us, dogs that had to be encouraged to keep themselves calm, thoughts of duck dogs you had to see didn’t chomp down too hard on the teal he was retrieving …) “Well no … the policy of this place is to let things be and see if the herds and the predators can’t work it out among themselves first out in the parking lot …” I don’t tell him that Bobcat and I have had something of an each-mind-our-own-business relationship for a good while now. The hunter stiffens, pulls himself even taller than he was already, and slowly lets out with managed aggression and the slightest of menace that since we don’t have “No Hunting” signs close enough to each other to meet the law’s requirement out on the road fence, he could just come in and take that critter as he like, but–not to worry!–he’ll be gracious enough to honor the policy I told him about but I’d better get more notices up on those fenceposts.

New, regulation every-quarter-mile signs will be up by New Year’s Day! Turns out the man was indeed within the law of Arizona, and I’m grateful to have had his instruction.