Don’t Bother With Baboons

Barbara was kind enough to share this video Docu-Baboonery yesterday.
Baboons vs. Lion Cubs. No Contest.

If you haven’t got the time or technology to watch the video, it’s a pretty simple story.
Young lions will try to eat anything. Baboons are tempting targets, but they are much better climbers than lions, and holding the higher ground gives warriors of all kinds a distinct advantage, whether your weapon is bombs, sticks or urine.

What interests me as much as the cross-species showdown is the editing and storytelling techniques on display. I don’t doubt that one day a lion chased a baboon up a tree and someone recorded it on video, but the entire incident may have taken only as long as it took you to read this needlessly elongated sentence. In the piece above there are only three shots (taking less than three seconds, total) in the two minute and forty five second video where you can see both a lion and a baboon in the same frame.

The story being told with close ups of isolated animal parts is more involved. We join an adolescent group of reckless carnivores on a mission to have a baboon for brunch. We are embedded with the group, the other lions are our wingmen. We fall into a spirited, shaky-camera chase. We’re out of breath. Our quarry has gone up a tree! We try to climb up there, struggling mightily, out of our element but determined. The rascal insults us with his casual, superior attitude, then with projectiles, and finally the ultimate indignity – tinkle time – followed by retreat.

A dramatized version of real events? Certainly. Is there anything wrong with that?
Nature shows have been doing it since … Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

In the first three minutes of this program, we see Elephant Seals, an Elephant and an Alligator chasing and thrashing about, trying to kill and/or eat Marlin and Jim and another guy named Dirk Ackerman. But that’s MoA’s Wild Kingdom. Some wild creature was always trying to murder Jim as Marlin casually narrated his near demise. I’m guessing the cutaway footage of the guys backing up their Jeep and getting off a few shots at the charging elephant were filmed at another time, and not when the beast was actually bearing down on them.

If animals could make videos about their encounters with us, I’m sure the stories would be equally dramatic. As in this example from Mutual of Honeycomb’s “Large Meadow”, episode 109 – “Nest Attack”.

“I knew if I could get my stinger into a soft, fleshy, exposed part of the huge, lumbering creature, it might turn and leave our community alone. Delivering the sting would be a great but necessary sacrifice, which I was preparing myself to make when Jim suggested a better strategy – fly at the beast’s head and face to unsettle it and make it run away. Sometimes the mere thought of a sting is enough for these unintelligent and overly sensitive creatures to lose courage, but we had to be careful. The behemoths are known for suddenly producing canisters of deadly toxic spray – instantly lethal if the cloud of gas merely touches you!
What’s that in its hand? Fly, Jim, fly!”

Ever have a dramatic encounter with a wild creature?

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90 thoughts on “Don’t Bother With Baboons”

  1. oh no! Wild Kingdom was scripted and photoshopped before there was photoshop?? i suppose you’ll tell me that Ramar of the Jungle was fake also!

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      1. if marlon and jim were local townies catching these animals it would be called poaching and we would think they were stealing from the natural habitat to sell majestic creatures to the zoos of europe. i was unaware at the time but i do remember jim on johnny carson and the fun episodes they had there.
        check marlons hair in the snake fight at the end of the magic kingdom episode. in twenty three years marlon aged a bit. twenty three years from now i will look back on pictures of me now thinking i look pretty good.

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  2. Cool tape, Dale. Boy, don’t you wish you could see some of the stuff from Wild Kingdom that got left on the cutting room floor? Perkins never struck me as overly-burdened with brains, and the beefcake guy he ran around with was even less of a mental giant.

    A friend went hunting for antelope with a bow and arrow. He fell asleep leaning back against a big haystack in a pasture. When he woke up he found a prairie rattlesnake curled up in his lap, enjoying the warmth of his body. My buddy had about two hours to contemplate his move as the sun went down and it became necessary for him to leave. The snake was in a place where my friend hardly wanted to try to shoot it with his bow, for a miss could be tragic and maybe even embarrassing. The snake showed no inclination to leave. He finally erupted from the ground with a mighty leap and a lot of cursing that sent the snake flying (the leap, I mean).

    If I get back from my doctor’s visit in time, I might say something about my duel with a bat (the flippity floppity bug-eating kind of bat, not a baseball bat). I only wish I could have used urine on it. That was not available at the time.

    Another quickie. Another friend walked in to his deer hunting stand at night (early AM) in total darkness. In fact, this guy was not quite awake. He stepped on a sleeping whitetail deer. We think it was a doe. The deer leaped to its feet, coming up between his legs. He dropped his rifle and grabbed the deer as it charged through the timber. At some point he realized he was in more danger on the deer than on the ground, so he let go.

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  3. Rise and Shine Babooners:

    I am honing in on the final chapter of the Blevins’ Book Club first selection of a book in preparation for our first meeting Sunday–therefore I am having many encounters with domesticated animals who herd.

    I lived North of Grand Rapids for 2 years on a camp property from 1977-1979. What a wonderful place and great opportunity to interact with nature. (And pick up garbage strewn by bears). We saw bald eagles fishing from the lake and loons who would get remarkably close to us on a pontoon boat or canoe. The most thrilling encounter was on a walk, deep in the woods away from all roads. A friend and I were hiking when we heard a clacking sound repeatedly. We looked up to see a very large white owl (24″ tall) with no ears and brown markings. Then the clacking occurred to the side. We followed the sound and saw another, and another. There were five owls looking at us. We looked back at them. Wow.

    They bird book said they were Great Snowy Owls when I compared pictures to reality. The wildlife officer I consulted said “no it could not be.”

    I think they were.

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    1. were the owls’ eyes dark? barred owls make a lots of weird noises. not denying your snowies….. but barred are large, light with brown streaks and are quite plentiful up here (thank goodness – maybe some of them are eating the dang state rodents that plague us! :-) barred owl’s eyes are very dark – brown/black holes in that large white head.

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  4. Cool, Jacque! Owls will concentrate if something brings them together. I have friends who can call in Barred Owls. With my nerves, looking up at five Snowy Owls would be a little unsettling.

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    1. We had an owl tape also that if we played at night, many kinds/sizes of owls would gather. They did that one night backed by Northern Lights. What a sight.

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  5. Barb: Barred owls are Minnesota’s only brown-eyed owl. I looked ‘em up once since I have a barred owl friend. For the rest of you, this is the owl that always wants to know, “Who cooks for YOU?”

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    1. great way to remember the call. my wife helps me remember how to do an indian (bombay) accent by saying “35 millimeter film”(she worked at k mart in high school and was in the photo department where she had many indian customers. its greato have those little memory joggers.

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    2. Great-horned owl: “who’s awake? — mee tooo”

      Tim, i like the 35 millimeter film helper.

      for Gold Finches i think “po-ta-to chips, po-ta-to chips”
      is this on topic or not? :-)
      for T: BWAHHH, BWAHH – i want food
      BWAHHH, BWAHH – i want attention
      BWAHH, BWAHH – i’m bored
      BWAHHH, BWAHH – it’s breeding season!
      BWAHHH, BWAHH – oh boy! new Girls arriving this afternoon!!

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    1. Miss Maple, and others: The RH stream got chased by a lion cub up a tree this morning, but it’s being looked at as we speak. The MP3 and Windows Media streams ARE working however. Glad you’re listening…or at least trying to!

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      1. thanks mike, nice to have a familiar lurker watching over us.
        hey how about them twins 100 plus hits in two series without morneau or hudson. who wouuldda thunk it?

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  6. My best friend once came upon a great grey owl sitting on the ground underneath a power pole.She was able to walk right up to it and saw that one of its pupils was dilated and one was not and surmised it had a head injury of some sort. It allowed her to put it in a big box and she drove it to a raptor center in the Cities. My father’s cousin, on the other hand, lived up at Baudette, and we heard that he was out in the woods cutting trees when he found himself, quite by accident between a mother bear and her cub. She attacked and he had to kill her with his chain saw.

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  7. Having grown up, worked, and played in the woods I have way too many stories, about half about bears. Shot three, one from our kitchen through the window as it tried to break in. Did have a snowy owl try to land on me by accident, but it was in the winter, when it was very clear what it was and when they do come in MN more regularly.
    My wild animal story for the day is that about 60 wild animals along with their trainers are invading my neighborhood today. Dart guns are unnecessary for them; they have their drug program covered.

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  8. my animal story was in the canadian rockies where i went with an artist buddy, we were in a remote campsite area and were the only ones there. the friend wanted to go climb a while and i chose to stay and do some sketching at the campsite. a while after my friend left i was sitting on a bench and up from the woods without notice came this bear. it was about 50 feet away when i first noticed. i freaked a little bit and grabbed a cooking pot and spoon and banged it and the bear got startled and whoosh it was gone. my heart was beating and i went back to sketching and a couple minutes later up comes the bear again. i freak less but still grab the pan and bang again, the bear is not so startled this time and kind of looks at me and wonders where this banging sound business is going to lead. it turns and walks a way stopping every 3 or 4 steps to look back over its shoulder to see if i am really going to deny entrance to the campsite area where it obviously has scored at this time of day in the past. it becomes an issue of weather i even need to try to do my drawing with the continual interruptions from the bear. my pan is beginning to look like a crumpled piece of tin foil with me beating on it for all i was worth and the bear becoming less and less impressed as we go along. now it is coming within 50 feet and standing there looking at me as i am beating the pan for all i am worth. “is that all you’v got?” was the response i was getting. i would beat and half run at the bear and it would back off and then stop and i would keep gong and chase it further out of the site but it would come back. i was determined to claim my territory half hour or forty five minutes into the interaction and decided i would head the bear off before it made its way back into the site and change the sequence of events in order to get the bear working it from a different angle rather than playing the same old game as we had been doing. i went out to where the spot where it had retreated and when i saw it start back i banged the pan and to my surprise the sleepy retreat i had seen up intil that point transformed into a full speed wide open sprint directly at me. it was very fast and very focused and the bear ran by me less than 10 feet away and ran to the 2 bear cubs that had gone unnoticed 100 feet behind me on the other side of the camp area. she chased them up a tree to safety and then looked back at me as if to say “geeze bud are you a little slow on the uptake or what? ” i left them alone for the duration and they made their way down the tree and back into the woods where the stupid human tricks could be observed on another day. my buddy came back from his hike and was wondering how the hell the pans got so beat up while he was gone on a 4 hour hike. i pounded them out the best i could but the beans that got burned into the bottom of the pan over the campfire were a lot harder to rub out with the sand and pebble wash technique i use after the surface became multi dimensional rather than the smooth finish one becomes accustomed to. a small but memorable consequence to a bear interaction where i was trying to impose my idea of the way things ought to be to a critter who lived there and had ideas of its own.

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    1. I can pretty much handle bears up north but not the bears around here. The lore was that if a bear up north charged you, it was very hungry. But out there I read that that is their common reaction.

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      1. First line should read
        I can pretty much handle bears up north but not the bears around there.

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  9. a neighbor’s poodle was attacked by a wolf last month – 9:30 at night. my first thought was why anyone would put their POODLE out at 9:30 pitch dark, in a fairly wild area, and then be surprised that a wolf tried to eat it? an encounter i don’t want to have is wolf-goat. we close the goats inside their barns before dark each evening and only open the doors after sunrise(but we don’t have so many, so that’s not difficult). i know the cattle folks around here do have problems with wolves – especially at calving time, they are really vulnerable. lots of people have dogs, but we hear that a dog may actually draw in a curious wolf or coyote – a canine wondering about another canine.

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  10. Okay one of my stories: our dog Boots the border collie used to go out amd meet up with wolves. One winter day he dragge home a sick wolf and put him, still alive on our back stoop and stood over it. Did he think we would heal it, was he bragging?

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      1. The border collie was closer to 35 pounds and the wolf was thin and barely alive, givinh no resisitance.

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  11. Good Morning to All,

    Here in S. Minnesota, the wild life we are most likely to confront are squirreles. Of course there can be some deer confrontations such as the time I hit one with my car. The main squirrel confrontation is trying to keep them from destroying bird feeders. The most unusual squirrel story I can think of is about a squirrel that apparently fell down our chimney and got into the house by crawling through the funance. I chased it out the door when we found it in the house on returning from a trip

    I am getting the RH stream.

    I could tell some bird stories, but I don’t have any thing as dramatic as Jacque’s owl story. One evening we did watch a hawk eat a bird while sitting on a limb in one of our backyard trees.

    Years ago I sometimes watched large jack rabbits go leaping away across corn fields, but I haven’t seem them for a long time.

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    1. my fish stories don’t pack much of a punch either. they are enjoyable in the aquariums but it is an appreciation thing not a great story telling venue.
      it swam form one end of the tank, then it turned around and went back. in just a little while it did it again.

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  12. I live alone and experience all manner of things by myself daily. One night I was sleeping on my couch when my loving little spaniel came and shoved his nose into my face. I looked at him. He was wagging his tail and looking up. I looked up and saw a bat flying madly around my living room. It’s hard to describe how I felt. Cold sweat is a small part of it. I ran to my bedroom and closed the door. (“I’ll be fine in here and deal with it in the morning.”) But no, this determined little creature really wanted ME. I could hear it banging against the screens in the kitchen. I remembered that you’re supposed to turn on all the lights, remove the screens and they’ll (supposedly) fly out. So, okay… I learned how to remove a screen FAST with a bat dive-bombing past me. They’re not supposed to be interested in us – I know – but everywhere I went the little devil followed. So I got a screen off, the lights all on and fled back to the bedroom, slamming the door. I could hear it still banging against the kitchen window. Then I heard another sound – like claws scraping on metal and a slight banging on tin. I realized that the monster had crawled into an air conditioner vent and was following the AC ductwork inside the ceiling. I assume it entered the vent in the kitchen and I still felt relatively safe in my bedroom with the door closed (“I’ll deal with you in the morning…”) but the sounds kept getting nearer.

    Suddenly I felt a swoosh. The beast had made it through the ductwork and into my bedroom! Now it was in an enclosed room with me, making its fast dives! I grabbed the quilt over my head and ran out. I slammed the bedroom door leaving the horror in my room. But I still had the problem… so I gathered my nerve and went back in there to remove a screen. I closed the door after myself, trapping myself and the bat together in a 10 x 10 foot room. I ran, shrieking, to the window and cranked it open. The bat dive-bombed me repeatedly. They come at you with their teeth bared – I’m not kidding. I removed the screen and used it as a shield as I ran back for the door. I left the light on and closed the door. By this time, I could see the daylight starting to come.

    I should mention that I was shrieking loudly much of the time with all of the lights on in my house and the windows open. Apparently no one in the neighborhood noticed.

    I went to work and returned at lunch time. I looked all over my room and never found the bat. I assume it flew out of the opened window. I don’t know how it got in. I was neutral on bats before but I’m not neutral about them anymore. They are my #1 fear. I worked for Nongame Wildlife – I know, I KNOW, they’re good little animals. They eat a lot of mosquitos. I KNOW. Feeling and knowing are very different human experiences.

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    1. p.s. it pooped on me – having the advantage of height. I wasn’t a baboon then and the Morning Show was still a big part of my daily life.

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      1. wonderful story krista. i am able to visualize the shrieking and the over the shoulder looks as you try to undo the screens.

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    2. We bought a piece of antique furniture in Red Wing. Brought it home to Mankato in the back of our pickup. Brought it into the house and opened the door to clean it. Inside were four large valuable Red Wing Pottery bowls, all undamaged, and a bat hinging on a back rail. We returned the bowls but they did not wan the bat. I told them if they take back the bowls they really should take back the bat.

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    3. I lived in an apartment for awhile that was a bat magnet. With one bat I discovered just how brave my roommate was…he was fine with trying to hoosh the bat out our big front window (I was locked in my room, avoiding the bat, allowing Roommate to be the hero). But then I heard a shriek. I thought it might be that the bat had done something untoward to my roommate, but no – it was a great huge cricket he was screeching at. I took on the bug while he battled the bat. I was able to keep my critter from flying about by dousing it with Windex (the only spray bottle I could find – I figured a bug with soggy flying apparatus would be grounded). Bug was conquered, and shortly thereafter the bat found its way to freedom (after a short break hanging on the stereo speaker).

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  13. my bat story is about the guy at the cabin up north who was playing poker and sat down in his chair where a bat had nsetled in his sweater while he wasn’t looking. it bit him and he freaked and threw the bat out the door. (wrong) he got back to the cities and the doctors told him if he could find the bat they could inspect it to be sure of no rabies otherwise he would have to get the shots. he said there was nothing to compare to the pain involeved witht eh2 week regiment of shots for rabies. so keep the bat once it bites you (words to live by).

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  14. Our little house in S Mpls draws a lot of wild life – not too surprising since we’re close to Minnehaha Creek, but a little surprising for an urban setting (especially since we’re only a block off a major intersection). We see hawks a lot, woodpeckers, a kestral once (carrying off something fuzzy and gray and as big as it was) – no bears, though, at least not yet. Last summer a mama bunny decided a spot under Darling Daughter’s climber was a good place to move her babies and their nest. Silly bunny, she was hounded by curious children and was ultimately only really able to visit the babies at night or when everyone was off at school. The hawks were *very* interested in our back yard for most of the summer – even after Mama moved her bunnies farther away from the curious humans.

    Oh – and this wasn’t an experience I had, but As It Happens (from Canada) interviewed a teenager from Colorado on Tuesday about a bear that accidentally drove off in his car. He had apparently left food in his unlocked car, which was on a hill, and the bear mozied in for a snack. Somehow the bear managed to engage the door locks and put the car in reverse (or at least took it out of gear and it started to roll down hill, backwards, and into a tree). Trashed the inside of the car in its confusion – and was let out by police who used a rope to open the car door once the remote key fob was found for the car…made me think of Bart and what he would say about such shenanigans.

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    1. I think we live within shouting distance of Anna. We are in Mpls — it’s the city, right? In the last year we’ve had a deer, wild turkeys, several barred owls, and dozens of raccoons in our back yard. And a block away, while walking the dog, I saw a coyote run down the hill, across the creek, and into a wooded alley.

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      1. Wow – a coyote? My husband has seen deer and owls by the creek, but not a coyote. (I’m not too far from the Washburn Library to give you a landmark – I think Sherrilee is nearby, too.)

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  15. Ooh, fun, will have to read stories later. I’ve had a few in-the-woods encounters with a fox or deer, where we both stop and stare at each other. Before I know it, I always unconsciously say “Well, hello!” as I’m frozen in space. One of us finally moves and the other runs away, usually them. So far they haven’t said “Hello” back.

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  16. Morning everyone; great stories!
    Friend of mine just mentioned that he has heard Jack Rabbits are making a comeback… that would be neat.

    Out here on the farm we see lots of deer, turkeys, and Red Tailed Hawks… the occasional skunk, possum, coyote, and more seldom we see owls and Bald Eagles the last few years.
    (plus all the usual little birds and critters…)

    But my stories are mostly about raccoons. Especially back when I was milking cows… we have two silos (the gray, cement ones); one has hay silage and the other is for corn silage. In the winter especially, the raccoons would crawl up into the corn silo to pick out the corn. Easy meal for them. But when I would come down to do chores about 5:00 and turned on the silo unloaders, that would scare them out of there and they would run in various directions after reaching the bottom; sometimes that way, sometimes this way.
    My dogs would always be right there waiting so they could get in on the action if the coons came this way. And that’s what happen one night; raccoon came down, two dogs have it in a tussle right out of MoA’s Wild Kingdom as Dale describes it. And me, being rather dumb but trying to be helpful, is out there with a pitchfork. Now this is all in slow motion (as all good dramatic stories are). Zack, dog 1, grabs the raccoon and drags it backward right between my legs. Gus, dog 2 is in hot pursuit. As it goes through my legs the raccoon reaches up; looking for –? What? Shelter? Protection? All it got was me. Not right in the crotch but about as close as you can get and not be there… wasn’t a bite, just two little puncture marks; one claw apparently, and there’s me yelling like a little girl….
    Eventually between the three of us we killed it– cause I sure wasn’t going to let this one get away now. And I went to the ER and the coon got tested for rabies (negative). And I learned something that night… I learned to do chores earlier. And maybe not get quite so involved…
    Other stories of possum in the milk house or skunks in the garage… we get possums in the chicken coops too…
    Never had a squirrel in the attic… knock on wood…

    Clyde, oats ran 55 bushel / acre with 34 test weight. Respectable for this year. When I was a kid, my job was to drive the pick up around the field following my Dad on the old John Deere pull type combine…. that’s where I learned to drive a clutch.

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    1. We never had a crop like that up north. How many acres?
      We saw a jack rabbit recently on the prairie, cannot remember where, not around Mankato. We get a lot of wildlife right in our small neighborhood on the edge of town. Saw twin fawns the other morning. We’ve had snapping turtles. A couple of years ago in one week I saw a fisher and a bobcat within a block of our house, near a pond.

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      1. My son and his wife live in a newer development in South Fargo and they see quite a few jack rabbits hopping around the field across the street. We have them out here, too. I love how their ears are so big and black tipped. We have had a dramatic increase in cougars here, and we hear of horses sometimes being attacked. No people attacks yet. We have Swainson Hawks here and lots of Golden Eagles. We also have a flock of Turkey Vultures that have settled on the tree covered butte in town, just a couple of blocks from our house. They really do circle in flocks. I counted 10 circling over our neighborhood the other day.

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      2. saw a black jack rabbit in hibbing area backroads last night. thought it must have caught someones angora in the woods

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  17. Living in the UP for the last 7 years, I’ve seen my share of wildlife. Some I’ve only seen the tracks of (such as a VERY large cat paw print in the mud of our creek), while others I’ve caught glimpses of (wolf running across the road, bear as well). I have yet to see a moose, though my former co-workers were out surveying once and caught 5 on video (in one place). Every day on my drive to work, I see a pair of Sandhill Cranes walking along the side of the road. They don’t startle as cars go by, they just continue walking calmly. I’ve seen many deer, chippies, turtles, and skunks.

    The most awe-inspiring sites are the bald eagles. Usually they’re flying around, twirling in the sky, but I’ve seen a few on the side of the road, eating roadkill. It’s interesting, driving by and seeing these huge birds standing regally on dead deer. They look up and watch as you drive by, haha.

    The closest I’ve come to an encounter was actually just last night, and I only got the after-effect from someone else’s tangle with wildlife. My next-door neighbor was trying to get a skunk out of his yard when it sprayed him and his dog. Unfortunately, my window on that side of the house was open, so all night, I was smelling that horrible skunk-stench. Blech.

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  18. Greetings! Great stories, everyone! My last encounter with wildlife was with Sarge the Turtle in my yard. Otherwise, my only real encounter with wildlife was when I went to Isle Royale as a teenager. During our hikes, we would come across fox and other small critters. In our campsite, I remember seeing a BIG moose lounging in the trees nearby. Very cool.

    My favorite though, was at my parents’ cottage in NE Wisconsin. We were on the small end of a flowage, and there was a small island right across from the cottage dock. Occasionally, we would see herons and egrets that would nest there. Our favorite was the large blue heron, as we didn’t see them very often — but when we did it was very special. The heron became a sort of family symbol of our time at the cottage, so my parents had a stained glass window made (by one of my aunts). It was a large, beautiful piece of glass, about 3′ x 5′ I think, that was installed in the loft of the cottage. When they sold the cottage, we took the stained glass window out. I think my brother has it at his house now, as a wall hanging.

    My parents had several pictures of heron and bronze statues in their house that were highly coveted by my siblings when my parents died. Consequently, the blue heron has very special memories for my family.

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    1. That’s really nice and very special. My family has a totem animal too. We grew up on Cannon Lake near Faribault. We’d pile into the big station wagon and go into town for a DQ. One day my mom pointed out the window, “Oh look! A duck! You can always tell a duck!” Famous last words – it was a pheasant. Poor Mom. All she ever gets for Mother’s Day are ducks.

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  19. Crazy Heart – nice Mike! I didn’t get to the movie but have the soundtrack, thanks to daughter who made me a copy and keeps telling me to see it. Ya’ll probably know that the Coen bros. remake of True Grit will be released in Dec. (I believe) and Jeff Bridges plays Rooster Cogburn.

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  20. Great stories, folks! People who fish for trout with flies usually catch trout about the size of ball park wieners. But once a year there is a special mayfly hatch that turns on the big trout, and then you can get one weighing six or eight pounds. The downer is that you have to fish at night to do this, and some of us have nerves not suited for flyfishing in the dark.

    I used to fish the White River in the Bibon Swamp. Imagine a river 20 miles from the nearest human habitation, with no roads over the river, and all the trees are dead. This is Ichabod Crane sort of country, and it plays on your mind when you are out there all alone.

    I was fishing in deep water, almost at the tops of my waders, one night when I felt something hit my fly during a cast. I said something like, “Oh, pshaww!” That smacking feeling on my fly could only mean one thing: bats would sometimes mistake our flies for living insects and go for them. I looked down. The moon was reflected in eerie wobbly waves, and there, in silhouette, was the bat. It was about 12 inches from my chest and coming at me by flailing its wings on the surface of the river.

    I tried to back away from the bat, but I was in deep water and my legs were working four times as fast as my body. Imagine this as a Roadrunner Cartoon. I lost my balance and fell butt-first into the river, hitting it so hard that I jammed my rod deep into the sand of the bottom.

    The really interesting part was coming up again, not knowing where the bat was. Was he still hooked on my fly? Still coming at me? Or was he maybe on my hat or down the front of my waders now?

    I let out a scream and began running backwards upstream, trying to get away from the thing. I don’t know how long I ran like that–maybe 30 seconds–before I realized I was all alone on a black river howling like a maniac. I crawled out of the stream and sloshed back to the car. I had trouble talking the next day. And I haven’t been back to the Bibon Swamp in 38 years.

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    1. Twas’t the “Big Two-Hearted River,” Steve, a story which I cannot imagnine you have not read.

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      1. I am not a Hemingway fan, all that macho repression, but I do like his Michigan stories. Some literary critics and historians think this is one of the seminal stories of the last century. I did so much of my graduate work, and a lot of my AP English teaching, on American nature literature. I do not like Hemingway’s style but it is at full force in that story.

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  21. Just watched the videos… it was fun to see a young Marlin actually getting in on the actioin. And my wife really liked Stan! What muscles! What ever happen to Stan we wonder?

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  22. Since my dad no longer umpires and the ladies in their condo association won’t let him feed squirrels (They’re rodents, you know), he has taken to driving south of town to a gravel pit that has been turned into a recreation area to feed the geese there. He goes out with his red bucket and waves his arms and the geese -about 100, mom says- swim to shore and suround him while he feeds them corn. The local paper took his picture which I have included here. http://www.star-herald.com/detail/23195.html?content_source=&category_id=&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=1&sub_type=photos&town_id=

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    1. Cool article, Renee. I remember my parents bringing us to a sort of wildlife preserve in Green Bay when I was little. For a quarter (or less) you could get a bag of corn to feed the ducks and geese. They had other animals and an indoor display of cool stuff for kids to touch. As kids we loved it — for my parents, it was very cheap entertainment for 7 kids!

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  23. tim’s question above about a border collie evoked two memories.
    First: Boots’ favorite game was tug of war, he on one end of a rope and I on the other. When I was in 4-5th grade, and maybe older, we would do this in the winter in the front yard. I would lie down and he would pull me around a bit. I must have weighed at least 100 pounds in fifth grade if not more. Never until tim asked did I realize what he was doing. Boots never ever let go of the rope before I did, a large point of pride with him.
    Second, and this is for Steve, too: in the 50’s, when the wolf population was quite low, the wolves we would see, and we only saw them in the winter, were what we used to call brush wolves as opposed to timberwolves. These brush wolves were much smaller than 75 pounds, maybe in the range of 40 or so, much less aggressive, much more interested in human activity (and I agree, barb, were attracted to our dog), and were much scrubbier looking. They would range through our farm for a few weeks every winter, feasting I am sure on the many rabbits around us. They were never any threat to our animals; it was the bears that went after our pigs and chickens. I, as a result, have trouble seeing wolves as anything but interesting wildlife. I asked about this at the wonderful wonderful wolf exhibit in Ely. They told me, as I have read, that there was never ever such a distinction, that there are only wolves. He told me they were coyotes, with that arrogant superiority that wildlife biologists have towards ordinary folks sometimes. But I had a good friend who was a game warden and then later a park naturalist after he got shot and had limited mobility, that game wardens would get into arguments with the biologists over what they had seen and heard from credible people. But these were not coyotes.

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  24. Hey kids – Before I paint the computer room, here are a couple stories my daughter in Namibia emailed in May. (I copied and pasted verbatim and YES I do know how to paraphrase but that’s mainly for rich people who hate themselves.)

    “Our campsite was at the foot of a mountain called Brukkaros. In the morning some of the students and i got up early to hike it, most of us rock climbing to the top of the highest point (it was absolutely spectacular.) On our way back down we heard baboons barking, and then baboons warring, and then, honest to god, baboons killing each other! You can’t even imagine what that sounds like! or looks like–it looks like a large troop of baboons running down the mountain (the mountain across from the one we were hiking on, luckily) running toward you at full speed, while some baboons are being thrown by others down the mountain. it was the most amazing thing concerning baboons i’ve seen since our drive up north when i saw a baboon at the side of the road holding out his arm in the typical “waving down a car” hitchhiker stance. When we were in the South we had campfires every night and the sky was so clear and full of stars–making planetariums jealous, as usual. Anyway, conditions were perfect for scary story telling and the best one I heard was from our student Morgan. She loves reptiles and used to have a boa constrictor. It was big enough to get out of its cage and it was free to. Anyway, she noticed that it was sleeping next to her in bed at night, like how cats and dogs like to do that. But then she took it into the vet because she noticed that it wasn’t eating anything, and hadn’t been for a few days, so obviously she was concerned. The vet asked, “has it been doing anything else out of the ordinary lately?” and Morgan goes, “Well, he’s been sleeping next to me…” and the vet says, “We have to put it down immediately! Your snake is preparing to eat you!”

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    1. which means I just had to find this:

      There is a more illustrative version done with Johnny Cash singing in the background, but it has put me right off my lunch, so you will have to find that for yourselves, if you so choose.

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      1. We used to sing this all of the time with our kids and now my daughter does with hers, in tandem with Daddy’s Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow.

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  25. Oh dear, I finally had time to read them all. Laughing so hard Husband came in to see what the heck…

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