Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Arkansas Coon Peggin'

About 1998 or so, we decided to take a short weekend camping trip to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. It was mostly a chance for Chad to include his youngest brother, Matt. Matt was probably 15 at the time, so an opportunity to go camping with his big brother, and his incredibly awesome pals, must have seemed like the chance of a lifetime. This trip included myself, Chad, Disco, and Matt.

We set up camp in a fairly empty campground. I guess it was still a little cool for the average outdoorsman. After cooking a gourmet camp meal we started hearing something rustling in the bushes right next to the camp. We were concerned about bears so it was a bit tense. Then we heard more rustling on the other side. We were surrounded by what could be large, ravenous carnivores. In order to secure our campsite and the booze, we sent Matt into the bushes with a flashlight and a stick.

Matt retreated quickly, but not from a bear. We were infested with raccoons. The raccoons were soon venturing closer and closer to our campsite looking for food. We shooed them away, picked up our trash, and sent Matt off to clean the dirty pots and pans.

Once we felt positive our gear was raccoon proof we broke out the cards and got serious about the drinking. Not Matt, however, he was not really interested in drinking at that time, and Chad had promised his Mom we would not morally corrupt him. (And she reads this blog)

Once the booze started flowing we realized Matt needed a nickname, all cool people have nicknames. After a brief discussion we decided on "Manius". A combination of Matt and Anius (Anius is a term our group had coined several years earlier. It is a combo of Anus and Genius, and it refers to someone who has done something stupid, but think they did something great.) To be fair, we gave him the option of Manius or Fucknut. He chose Manius with great enthusiasm.

Manius did much more than wash pots and check for bears, he was also an excellent bartender. he would retrieve beer from the cooler and mix drinks for Chad and Disco

Soon we realized the raccoons were still milling about in great numbers on a quest for loose food. Manius grabbed a rock and hurled it into the bushes. He was rewarded with a very satisfying thump, followed by an angry squeal. This was found to be very entertaining, so after sending Manius on a mission to collect more rocks, we all began to take aim at the local fauna.

Quickly it was realized that they would come closer if we turned off the lantern and sat in the dark. We would go pitch black and completely silent, until we could hear them in the campsite. Then, armed with a handful rocks, we would flip on the light and start coon peggin'.

It got hard to guess where they were going to be when the light came on so we opened a can of beans and dumped them at the edge of the campsite. Now, when we turned the lantern on, there was a large congregated swarm at the bean pile, thus making peggin' much easier.

Eventually I would get tired of of rock throwing, so I had found a eight foot stick and was holding it perfectly still next to the bean pile, and when the light came on, I would attempt to poke one before the all ran away. After about an hour, I had managed to poke one. He felt really soft.

I learned a lot about raccoons that night. For starters, when they become over populated, they are very daring in their pursuit of grub. Second, raccoons love beans. Third, getting hit with a rock is not much of a deterrent for hungry raccoons. Finally, if you hit a raccoon just right he will do a flip, but he won't spit out his mouthful of beans.

Later that night, when we were all snuggled inside our sleeping bags, I had a vivid dream we were attacked by an angry mob of rabid raccoons, but it was justified by karma, so I accepted my fate.


Mayren said...

Awww- Coon peggin' just doesn't seem right. I'm sure they totally ganged up on you at some point. I've always heard that coons are seriously brazen and bold when looking for grub.

chad said...

they did gang up on us! they swarmed around our bbq grill. after some gentle nudging, followed by aggressive foot stomping, they showed no signs of retreat. solution: coon pegging!

Julie_Gong said...

Another great story.

"Finally, if you hit a raccoon just right he will do a flip, but he won't spit out his mouthful of beans." HAHAHAHAHA

Churlita said...

I would feel bad for the raccoons if I hadn't had my own awful experiences with them when I lived in San Francisco. One killed our neighbors cat and a bunch used to get into our back porch and take all of our shit. I wish I had known about putting up a bean line and "beaning" them with rocks.

Disco said...

You forgot to mention that Chad and I also coined a drink "the manius".

Citra and Seagrams Seven. A drink made from a soft drink that was so bad it is no longer in production.

Killer said...

In the original version I did mention the Manius, but I could not remember Citra. I knew it was a craptastic grapefruit flavored soda mixed with Seagrams 7.

I also left out our almost getting thrown out off a cave tour when the tour guide accused us of touching the World's largest pile of bat shit. After that we touched EVERYTHING.

mist1 said...

Enough with the sleeping bag stories. Have you ever heard of a hotel?

Liz said...

The very last thing I ever want to do is touch the world's largest pile of bat shit.

heather said...

omg, i remember citra, it was nasty!!
killer, do me a favor please dear. j and i are planning on a week long camping trip with cheeks this summer. would you please stay out of new york camp grounds this summer. lol just kidding. sorta.