The Wild Life #9
The first thing you should know is that this all started three years ago on a mule deer hunting trip to Idaho, and that’s it’s not over with yet. But as I sit here this morning at my computer drinking coffee and watching the inky blackness out my window for any hint of dawn, the silent starting gun that will prompt me to hook the ATV trailer to my already packed Explorer and begin the grueling fourteen hour trip to the Sawtooth Wilderness once again, I am confident that I possess not only superior weaponry, but a secret weapon in my ongoing battle with the deer mice. A lot of things happened to me that first rookie year in the Sawtooth’s, most of them not very good. My flimsy, fair-weather tent blew down on top of me in a windstorm after two of its fiberglass poles snapped like toothpicks, it snowed, and the temperatures dropped like a rock and the jug of 2% milk inside the tent froze like a block of cement, and me along with it, my little one burner Coleman stove iced up and went into camp stove cardiac arrest, and a herd of crazed deer mice shit in my Cheerios. Actually, they shit in, and on everything I had out on the picnic table and even managed to breach the food boxes in the inner sanctum of my sagging tent which I had by that time named The Ice Cave. Add to all of this that I had also contracted an acute case of Trophyitis over the month I was there, and had passed up several nice deer because I was under the fevered delusion that that they were “tool small” and I needed to hold out for something better, it was not exactly what you would call a stellar deer hunting season an I returned home pretty much in defeat and spent the early winter days shaking mouse turds out of my tarps.
The following year I returned to the Idaho camp, this time armed with a red dot sighted Beeman .177 air rifle, and a handful of standard Victor mouse traps; you know, the kind that just love to jump out of your hands and snap shut on your fingertips while you are trying to delicately manipulate that little freshly mashed cheese ball on top of the trip plate? I had some insane, whiskey fueled idea that I was going to set up in my camp chair a few feet away from the campfire at night with the Beeman, and pop a few deer mice in the head when they peeked out of the split firewood logs as they were so apt to do. I even drew a realistic deer mouse target on a paper plate, to re-sight my pellet rifle in at five yards, but after two nights of this futility, and not getting a shot at a single mouse, and then having to listen to my traps being sprung on the picnic table throughout the night, cracking in the frigid mountain air like tiny bullwhips, I gave up. I didn’t get a deer that year, either, but my Cheerios were safe. I locked them inside my truck.
And then, the following summer, everything changed when I stumbled upon some odd looking, high-tech mouse traps at our local outdoor supply store, Rogue River Pharmacy and Sporting Goods (also known as Guns and Drugs). They were called JAWZ, and they promised to out trap, and out kill, any competitor’s mouse trap on the market and all without snapping a friendly finger, ever again, because your hands stay BEHIND the bait while you are arming the trap. Anyhow, all advertising hype aside, they just looked bad ass, so of course I bought four of them. And after using them last year in deer camp for the first time, I cant attest to the fact that they not only look bad ass, they are bad ass. I now run a veritable mouse trap line in my Idaho deer camp, and it is not uncommon to get doubles, and sometimes even triples, in a single night’s mouse trapping. My deer mouse turd covered picnic table and camp kitchen are both clean as a whistle now, and although I wouldn’t go so far as to leave a box of Cheerios outside on the table all night, I feel confident that with JAWZ on the job, I could if I wanted to. Oh, and here are a couple of hints if you get some JAWZ and put them out in your camp. Lubricate the mechanism very lightly with a little WD-40, especially when the weather gets very cold. This will help to prevent sluggishness of the moving plastic parts when things begin to freeze and will insure that serrated little guillotine will come down lightning fast on the neck of the offender. Oh, and be sure to spring your traps before you leave camp in the morning and head out, because if you don’t, you will very likely get a chipmunk in your trap and they will end up very dead. And how do I know this? Please don’t ask. I am still having a hard time dealing with this one.