It was crisp and cool with a gentle breeze – a beautiful fall day, a great day to be walking in the Big Woods. And that's where I was, slowly making my way along when, about 20 feet ahead of me there was a patch of moving fur. The fur turned out to be a raccoon that was twisting and turning as it groomed itself –
Apparently the raccoon hadn't seen or heard me (dressed in full camouflage) walking toward it, but it soon realized something was wrong and began walking away –
Then it turned and headed straight my way –
Raccoons in broad daylight are a reason for caution since they're normally nocturnal and raccoons acting out of character are sometimes ill. Because raccoons are frequent carriers of the rabies virus (which is fatal to humans), I backed away as the raccoon approached. Seeing my movement, the raccoon veered to the side and headed for a tree. It passed up several large oaks and began to climb a small red maple –
Up and up it went until finally settling where a small limb branched off the tree's main stem –
There it appeared to go to sleep –
Was the raccoon sick with rabies or, more likely, canine distemper, some other disease or just plain tired?