Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Six:
Case File No. 06-266
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Where We Left Off:
We had an internal investigation into the special ability of Gus being able to escape human vision and disappear.
In April, I had Gus outside like a normal morning. I had lots of time in the woods with Gus. He’s so smart sometimes and this is an example of that. He led me to the trails and we entered the woods in the northern corner.
We had to leave the trail in order to reach this barrier of rocks that forms a border, almost like a rock “wall” that goes between the properties. I enjoy hiking with Gus there because the rocks keep me mostly away from thorny bushes. The branches that do sprout between them or alongside are easy for me to prune with my small shears. Gus is usually well-behaved, but once in a while, he prefers to ditch the easily visible area of the rocks and go hunting in the thick brambles where I can’t see him. This lovely April day, he stayed right by me and we were enjoying our time.
Gus made it to the spot where some trees are down and form another superhighway for him like the ones in the north woods next to the Fire Trail. This spot of fallen trees is close to where the property border is which means it only takes a few seconds to be on a strangers’ parcel. We’ve previously researched into that parcel and learned it is absent of buildings and used only for hunting. We’ve seen the tree stands and bait feeders (gee, it must be so hard to shoot a deer standing still and eating corn right near you). The warning signs are bright colors and you can’t miss them unless you’re a cat who doesn’t give a shit about borders and trespassing.
After Gus had a good amount of playtime on the trees, we started our rocky journey back. From that elevation, I could see the trails.
CRACK – CRACK – CRACK – CRACK!
We heard something that sounded like rifle shots. I’m not 100% sure that’s what it was, but Gus was unnerved by it and wanted to get the hell out of there. We were near the trail and needed to get to a little cut through path I made. He paused in one spot where he could’ve fit but bushes slightly obscured the secondary path. The slightly better path to the trails ends at a large black rock where it’s nice to stand or sit for some meditation. When we heard those alarming sounds, I said, “Go to the big rock,” and Gus did! He scooched through the path and made it to safety of the trails where they form a corner.
Gus kept pausing every 20 feet or so to look back and wait for me to catch up! I tried to hustle, but I’m always cluttered by all the things I carry for our explorations and field science. The trip down the corner trail was fast. We made it back to Bunny Hollow, quickly moved through it, and had to cross the entire open area of the back yard.
Other humans of the household were close to the building and asked if we had heard gunshots. I told them the whole story and about how alarmed Gus seemed. All of us thought the noises were firearms. The Butler said it wasn’t deer season anymore. I double-checked anyway because there are some days that are for youth hunting. Not to mention, smaller game has all kinds of overlapping seasons.
“Who cares about hunting seasons? What if someone was shooting at us?” Gus yelled.
I prepared his second breakfast and hoped it would calm him down. I didn’t want to ignore his concern, but if one human is anxious and then the cats are anxious, the energy of the room feels explosive.
“No need to get so upset,” the Butler said. “They could be shooting at targets.”
I picked up on that line of thought. “And there’s no season for that. You can shoot on your property any time you want.”
It was a bummer of a realization. Some of us practice with targets too. I do however, find it to be a form of noise pollution that affects humans and animals. I can go years between my own target practice sessions because I worry what the noise does to the animals that I want to feel safe here.
We never found evidence of anyone hunting animals on the property we explore. We didn’t go onto the strangers’ property and look for clues. Our best guess is that someone was practicing or bored and shooting nothing in particular. Oliver suggested one other possibility: that whoever was shooting could have been firing to scare off a predator like a coyote. It’s possible, but seemed much more unlikely than the target shooting theory. The most important thing is that Gus and I returned home safely.
Case Status: Closed