Cave Coon by Mike Disalvo
This story happened on a bright clear day at the Lenni quarry. Looking back after all these years I wonder what I was thinking, after all it was maybe a $15 coon. But I know if I had to do it all over again I would, trappers can be so dumb sometimes!
One November Arnold and I had some coon sets on the Lenni quarry face about half way up. There was a small ridge about 20 feet across full of brush and brambles. The coons were living in the numerous small caves and eating the rose hips off of the wild rose bushes. To get to these sets required walking up a very steep slope full of loose and stationary rocks. One Saturday while checking a few sets on the quarry, Arnold informed me that he had caught a coon. I told him “That is well and good; now kill it so we can get off this God-forsaken cliff.”
Arnold followed the drag mark down the cliff face. I was almost to him when he informed me that there was a problem. “What’s the problem?” I asked. “Well it seems that the coon has drug the trap and drag into that cave there”, he said as he pointed at a small opening in the cliff. “You’re kidding me?” I asked hopefully. “Nope”, he replied. I looked in the cave mouth and could see the drag, a 14lb. cement block resting on the floor of the cave. I didn’t see the coon however; Arnold said he couldn’t see it either. We decided that the coon had escaped the trap. We decided to come back later after checking the rest of our sets in the area, and retrieve the trap and drag. So we checked the rest of our sets, and climbed back up the god-forsaken cliff face again.
Arnold said, “I’ll go in and get the trap”. I was like “yeah right”; there was no way on God’s green earth that he was going to fit through the small opening. I informed him that he would never fit. He said “Your right!”, and thrust the flashlight into my hand. This did not improve the situation; I had to take my jacket off in order to fit into the opening myself.
Since I had just come from a bright sunny day into a dark ass cave, I couldn’t see a darn thing. The flashlight I had was bad at best; it would only light up about 2 feet in front of you in a dull yellowish light. So I’m standing there in the cave, which was actually quite large when I got into it. I started shining the light around and around. Arnold finally yelled “It’s on your left.” I looked to the left and saw the block; I grabbed the block and pulled on the wire, thinking the coon was long since gone, this was a bad idea. The wire suddenly jerked back into a little cut in the wall of the cave, with loud growling coming from it. I asked Arnold to give me the rifle, so I could dispatch the coon. Pay no mind to the fact that Arnold insists I screamed, “Gimmeeeeee the Riffle!” in a scratchy shrieking voice. He’s prone to exaggeration, plus it’s my story and I’ll tell it anyway I want.
Arnold did give me the rifle, and I found the coon and dispatched it. The coon had the chain and wire all snagged up in cracks in the cave floor, so was not going anywhere real soon but, I didn’t know that at the time. I finally got the wire and chain all unengaged and took the dead coon from the trap. When I climbed out of the cave, I was blinded by the sunlight and my ears were ringing, firing a rifle inside a cave doesn’t do much for you, and my heart rate was up. I informed Arnold that he had better lose some weight. “Why?” he asked. I told him, “Because, if another darn coon of yours goes into a cave your going in after it.” He laughed, and so did I. We headed down the cliff and back to the truck, hell we still had more sets to check.