Friday, August 21, 2009

Other Hunters

While out scouting I came across another hunter. He was so intent on his quarry that at first he was oblivious to me. I watched the pursuit as he chased young squirrels out of their den and down the stump. As they were about to be captured they would leap off of the trunk and down to the ground. There they were either caught and mortally wounded or retreated back into the old snag and then pursued again. This repeated until the hunter was satisfied the den was cleared of its occupants.

A short tailed Weasel in pursuit of a young Douglas Fir Squirrel.

I was not aware Weasels were such skillful climbers or that they hunted prey as large as a squirrel. I was impressed how adroitly and methodically he hunted. He was relentless and fierce even made a threatening gesture to me when I moved in to take pictures. I did not wish to interfere with his hunt, but my curiosity drew me closer.

Witnessing nature in action is fascinating. Through my human emotional filter the method seemed cruel (but effective), plus it was obvious he was unlicensed, hunting out of season and was not concerned with limits. He was hunting for his own survival and if I were to intervene could result in his death.

Nature is indifferent. Death benefits the living - whether that is a tree that becomes a snag or a juvenile squirrel becomes a meal for first the weasel and the leftovers are consumed by the bugs. The circle of life, unbroken. Those that thrive require the demise of others. Witnessing this happen reminded me that we too are part of that cycle - it was good medicine.


Albert A Rasch said...

What a great opportunity!

Best regards,
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Biology on the Bay: Mangroves

Albert A Rasch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Woozles are tricksy!


Anonymous said...

or perhaps, you could re-title this post

"my favorite marten"