MY FIRST CAT AND FOX HUNT
MY FIRST CAT AND FOX HUNT—FALL OF 1915.
I live in a little town in the eastern part of Maine, on a beautiful harbor about two miles long and a quarter of a mile wide, with an island at the entrance, making it a very nice harbor for boats and vessels sailing the Bay of Fundy. The average ebb and flow of the tide is about 15 to 16 feet, making a strong current of tide on the ebb and flow. When the wind comes out to the south it makes it very rough and noisy on the shore, which makes it bad about hunting with a dog on the sea coast, because you cannot hear a dog bark at any great distance.
On November 4 I started for my first fox hunt, as I supposed it to be; but to my surprise it turned out to be a cat hunt. I took my 12gauge shotgun and hound and went down to the fish wharf and borrowed one of the fishermen's dories and rowed across the harbor to the opposite shore, making my dory fast to a wharf. I started out for my first hunt, taking an old wood road. After 10 minutes' walk I came out in a heath. I stopped to see if I could see any fox signs in it. About that time I heard the dog to the south of me a short distance. I started on About that time the dog came out in a little clearing a short distance from me, with his nose very close to the ground and his tail going from one side to the other, which told me there was a fox or cat within a short distance of me. because he never fools me. I have trained him to chase cat and fox only, and on those two he can't be beat on bare ground, or snow, either I was very much pleased, thinking it was a fox, and in a few minutes expected Mr. Fox would be out on the seashore trying to fool the dog. At low tide they go down on the wet rocks, where they leave a very little if any seen: at all, as you know that Maine is a rock-bound coast.
It was but a few minutes before I heard the dog going toward the shore barking at even breath. I started on after him and was soon standing on a rock looking down on the short watching the dog going from one rock to another trying to find where the fox, as I supposed it to be, had gone. I thought it was rather singular he was down on the shore, because he most always goes around the bank to where the fox comes back on again. That saves him a lot of hard work on the shore. About that time the wind struck to the southwest, blowing and raining very hard, so I had to find a big tree to break the storm from me, as I was getting wet. I was standing in the shelter of the tree having a. smoke and watching the fishing vessels coming in before the wind for Cutter harbor. All at once I heard the dog barking again. I thought I would leave my shelter and see where he was. I walked out to the edge of the bank and looking to the westward about 200 yards I saw the dog looking toward the top of the bank. About halfway up, to my surprise, there was a wildcat instead of a fox on a rock, looking down at the dog. There was a path leading around the top of the bank, so I went around to where the cat was. When I got there the dog was up on the bank looking down at the cat. When I walked out to the edge the cat saw me and jumped for the beach, going out of my sight for a minute, and started for the woods again, about 50 yards distant. I fired at him about the time he was going in the woods. I turned around to see where the dog was. About that time I heard the dog bark over where the cat went in the woods. I had just reloaded my gun and was looking in that direction when I saw the cat coming toward me en the jump, with the dog about 15 feet behind him I did not dare to fire again, because I was afraid I would shoot the dog. I could have touched them with my gun when they went by me. In a few minutes I heard the dog on the shore again. Walking around the bank I saw the dog on the shore again, going from one rock to another, trying to find which one the cat was under. Before I got down to where he was I heard the dog and cat come together under a big rock. I spoke to Hunter and he came out from under the rock. I got down and looked under the rock; but could not see the cat I got a stick and tried to feel him, but he had got in beyond my reach and the dog's reach to. I worked and rolled rocks, but I could not see him. I looked at my watch and it was 2.00 p. m I was wet and quite well discouraged, thinking I would have to go home without the cat About that time a large wave came in toward me, which reminded me it was flood tide and in an hour it would be up around the rock. I knew that the cat could not stand that, so I went up on the bank and got in a shelter from the storm as well as I could and kept one eye out for the cat.
In about an hour's time I saw a large wave wash up around the rock and about that time the cat came out from under the rock in a hurry, looking first one way and then another to see it it was safe to run. He did not hesitate long and started toward me on the jump. When he got near enough I fired, killing him as he struck on the rock. The gun had not much more than spoke before Hunter woke up from a dream at my feet and was on the shore getting satisfaction by shaking the cat almost out of his skin. I went home satisfied, but wet and hungry, with a nice 25-pound wildcat. I went back the next day and shot a nice fox.
Washington Co., Me.
Arthur E. Wallace.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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