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October 18. 2014 8:39PM

A sad dog story, borders and Ebola


 

The story that's on many lips and minds is the sad story about the three Siberian huskies that got loose in Merrimack and were killed by a farmer protecting his piglets as they were being savaged by what he thought were wolves.

I don't know what more I can add to this sorry story, the kind I hate to write, except this: The dogs' owner said they had escaped before, implying, at least to me, several times; and they were not wearing collars but had microchips instead (how would a farmer protecting his livestock know?).

I've often written that our coyotes, already bigger than their Western cousins and getting bigger by the generation, are evolving into what old-time settlers and hunters called brush wolves, akin to timber wolves; and that they have learned to hunt in packs and take down larger prey. Who, having perhaps heard this from me or others, and not steeped in the finer points of canine identification, could be faulted for confusing huskies with wolves?

Whatever the case, whether dogs or wolves, the farmer was entirely within his rights, and the dogs should have not been allowed to become repeat escapees, and should have been wearing collars. Sorry, but as a dog lover and owner I think about three beautiful dogs that are now dead, and that's the bottom line.

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In the swiftly evolving Ebola story, which frankly frightens the daylights out of me - in fact, makes me want never to get on an airplane again, and maybe even pack up a winter's worth of grub and hightail it to camp - a couple of politicians in Congress said they wanted the U.S. and allies to force certain African nations to "seal their borders." (See related story, Page A14.)What hogwash. Do these airbags have even one whit of understanding about the countries they are so blithely yapping about having sealed up?

Their borders are porous to nonexistent. Their infrastructures, governments, armed forces and police departments are in tatters. Bribery and corruption are rampant. There are thousands of miles of so-called borders that are totally unpatrolled and scarcely marked, if at all.

We can't even "seal" our own borders, although along the Canadian line, particularly here in northern New England, we do a pretty damned good job at interdicting illegal aliens and contraband. Still, I fondly call it "The Swiss Cheese Border," to the consternation of Border Patrol friends, on account of a rich local history of smuggling. And we are the self-styled mightiest nation on the planet.

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Thursday afternoon, I drove home from Concord on a warm evening in a driving rain. There were a lot of leafs on the road, blowing all around, but wait - some of them weren't leafs, but what we non-scientific types have since childhood called hoppy-toads.

My longtime friend and former Fish and Game wildlife biologist Eric Orff has for a long time mounted a one-man campaign to get New Hampshire's drivers to be aware of the springtime appearance of these multi-species little creatures, and avoid driving on warm, rainy spring nights.

But warm, rainy fall nights? Well, yup too, I guess. I tried to spot them ahead, and swerve if possible, but you know, that's pretty risky stuff on a turnpike.


Write to John Harrigan at campguyhooligan@gmail.com or at Box 39, Colebrook 03576.


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