On my way home, I was on my cell phone with someone from work, and kept getting repeated calls from home. I was almost there, so I didn't bother taking the calls. Once I got off the phone, I called home to be reminded that middle son had piano lessons at 6pm that I had to take him to since the good wife had to leave for work at 6pm.
I pulled into the driveway to a flurry of activity. The boys had seen the guinea come out of the hole he went into yesterday and was walking in and out of the hole. Middle son told me that I had to come see. Still dressed from work I ran down to see the activity. Telling them that I had to take middle son to piano lessons, oldest son gets upset that we are so close and we need to catch him so he doesn't get eaten or lost "out in the wild." Reluctantly I start reaching down the hole up to my shoulder, realizing I'm still dressed from work. After about 5 minutes of this maneuvering, I realize, this is going to take some time. Piano lessons will have to wait for next week, we have an emergency on our hands!
After going back up to the house and changing into more appropriate clothing, I head back down to command central. Oldest son had cleverly used sticks in the one connection hole that we dug yesterday to block the guinea from going too far down into the hole. Unfortunately, he was still a bit too far away to just reach in and catch him. That would be WAY to easy.
The live trap was pushed up against the hole with sticks on either side to keep the guinea from escaping. It would just be a matter time. I could reach down into the connection hole and touch the guinea, but couldn't get a hold of him. When I tried, he would head towards the opening, but not far enough to reach. I used several sticks to try to prod him, but no luck.
|The trap in place, ready for the great capture and rescue.|
I had just bought some bird netting at Lowe's during lunch, so I had an idea. We would move the trap and put the bird netting over the hole. This will lure the guinea into thinking that there wasn't anything out there any more and then get him to come out. Once out and into the bird netting, we could just grab him and the rescue would be over.
Oldest son had a better idea that he should be under the netting ready to grab the guinea. After a few minutes we realized that wasn't going to work, and he needed to get out from the netting so the guinea didn't see anyone. Once we got the netting situated and tacked down with tent stakes, we were ready. I reached my hand into the connection hole and prodded the guinea with a stick. He was coming out. He came out. He was under the netting. Grab him!!
Not fast enough. He slipped out from under the netting and took off. After letting him run a bit and then settle down, we began the pursuit. We saw him run and then lost him. Saw him run again, and then lost him. Guineas are really hard to see in the woods with all the leaves on the ground. They really blend in and can hold really still. Obviously traits that will serve him well, preferably after he is full grown. After a bit of cat and mouse, we had him surrounded. All the sons were moving in and I was trying to distract the guinea. Oldest son moved in for the grab.
I told him to grab his foot. He reached up and grabbed him. He had him! For a moment. The chase was on... again! He ran through the woods and crossed the neighbor's road. Then he ran along the other neighbor's back yard fence. All the way around it and into the woods. I was in hot pursuit and the sons were close behind.
I got within a couple inches of him at one point before he bolted further into the woods. We chased and he flew, we chased, and he flew. We had pushed him further and further into the woods. It was getting to the point where I may not find my way home. I sure hope the guinea's sense of direction and home was stronger than mine. A little after 7pm we called the search/hunt/rescue off. We could do no more.
The sons were disappointed. Each blaming themselves for opportunities lost. Another life lesson in exchange for a piano lesson missed. Overall, a more than fair trade.
I wonder if the guinea wants to be found? Maybe he likes being free in the woods? It got below freezing last night and he survived. It is supposed to get cold again tonight, and then rain the rest of the week. I have to believe the odds are against him at this point. Hopefully death will be as elusive to him as he was to us.
Again...only time will tell.