Hmmmm. My Ears Still Ring.
Nope. It don’t make me wanna holler hiDeeHo! (Reference to _____ — you boomers out there?)
I’m talking about two rounds from the .44 magnum short barrel rifle, fired into the bank. I had nothing to shoot at, and didn’t want to. But I DID want to distract the dog from tangling with the bear I saw crossing the creek ten minutes after I got home from work. Tsuga had barked twice from the back porch, and was headed fast in pursuit after a lumbering black form headed for the west ridge.
I was, it turned out, barefooted, but adrenalin can do some amazing things to pain. I grabbed the rifle and got as far as the other side of the garden, heard barking beyond the pines, and fired over into the bank. The dog came running, right past me, across the creek, over into the field, and took a…well, you know the saying about having that scared outta ya. Must’ve happened to him. Whew! Close call, I said to myself about the time the dog bounded back across the plank, back away from the house, back toward the bear. Oh crap!
I ran to the house, BACK across the gravel drive (after noticing thistles growing the yard I would have missed wearing shoes), grabbed some more .44 shells and my boots, and ran faster in this heat than my heart would have preferred, to where I’d last seen the dog. Again, adrenalin is a heady motivator. Another shot into the bank over my whistles and screams, and sure enough, here came Mr., undamaged, tongue hanging, pretty proud of himself.
And I guess I’d never noticed, though neighbors have remarked about it. It just smelled musty–like bear–and knowing that smell, I’ll be more tuned in to when one or more is in the valley. The dog could smell THAT from inside the house, no problem.