Why is a groundhog hanging on the fence? To get to the other side?

by Vivian Sade

Following is the first humor column I wrote that was published in the Albion New Era in 1990 — two years before the Churubusco News was launched.

It was at that time a collection of odd, discombobulated thoughts at the end of a weekly column I was writing for the New Era called the Green Center News, which was all the news in Green Township, Noble County.

If you know anything about Green Center, you know that there is no news, not daily, not weekly. So I was left to my own devices, which never ends well.

Scribbles by Viv

August 29, 1990

Bill Haber, who lives with his family on C.R. 550S, told me the funniest story about one of our new neighbors.

It seems Bill’s wife was at a club meeting and one of the women in attendance — who had just moved here from the New England area — was baffled by the local hunter’s practice of hanging their “kill” of dead groundhogs over fences.

As I understand it, this is done as kind of a strutting and boasting “Look what I shot” testosterone kind of thing.

The New England lady could not for the life of her figure out why all of the groundhogs in northeast Indiana were suicide prone. Why did they keep climbing on top of fences and impaling themselves on the wire?

Come to think of it, I shouldn’t laugh too hard, because I, too, was mystified when I moved to the country and noticed a number of dead groundhogs straddling the fences.

I thought they were hung there by local farmers to serve as a warning to other groundhogs to Keep Out! It made sense. I pictured a rotund ground hog and his wife walking around, looking to homestead some land and suddenly they look up and see Cousin Louie dangling precariously from the fence via rigor mortis. Horrified, they turn tail and quickly move on to the next field.

And then there’s my friend, Cheryl, who lives in Fort Wayne and thinks I live in the Ozarks. After she saw several dead groundhogs along the fence rows on her way out to our place one day, she was wondering about the humanity of the hunters in Green Township. She was furious by the time she got to my house.

“Why,” she asked, “do the hunters or farmers wait until the groundhogs are climbing over the fence to shoot them?

“It seems it would be much more sportsmanlike to let the groundhog at least get over the fence and get a running start,” she said.

Actually, I think this whole situation with hanging dead animals over a fence explains the basic differences between the sexes.

The majority of females, no matter how hard they try, cannot find the logic in hunting, killing and displaying a dead groundhog carcass as a kill trophy to others.

It makes more sense to us that the despondent groundhog was a severe manic-depressive and decided to end it all by impaling himself on a sharp fence. VIV SADE now lives in Churubusco and is 26 years older, but none the wiser. Reach her at vsade@kpcmedia.com.

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