Having a ‘Caddyshack’ Summer

A letter from the publisher of Tallahassee Magazine

The 1980 major motion picture “Caddyshack,” starring Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield, has earned its place as an all-time classic comedy. Over the past couple weeks, I have been polling people and it seems like everyone has seen it at least once. If you haven’t, and you have just a semblance of a sense of humor, then please find and watch it so you can enjoy two hours of side-splitting laughter. Rodney is a wise-guy golfer whose series of one liners and overall respect for no one and nothing will keep you rolling from one situation to the next.

One of the film’s main storylines is about a groundskeeper’s (Bill Murray) quest to find — and eliminate — a gopher that is wreaking havoc on the golf course.

My nemeses are three armadillos that set up shop on the grounds of Rowland Publishing this spring. My first encounter with them came one afternoon in early May when the trio of teenagers were rooting around in our parking lot landscaping. They seemed oblivious to my staffers, who were taking pictures and commenting on their cuteness and blind focus on the search for nourishment of ground grubs and insects, which are their main staple of food.

We all thought they were cute, harmless creatures that gave our corporate property a slice of natural appeal. They would appear most every afternoon and became a playful source of entertainment for everyone.

Then, the dark side of this encounter began to reveal its ugly face. I was in the lobby one day as a customer was leaving the building.

Moments after the door closed, I heard a bone-chilling scream. I hurried outside to see her running to her car as an armadillo casually walked around on the sidewalk after she left, oblivious to this woman’s panicked flight from our offices.

At this point, I realized I had a problem and needed to get it solved to avoid future meltdowns or, worse yet, someone who might be injured by the “diller” or themselves while running for dear life.

Doing research, I quickly learned the following: They are very difficult to trap because there are no baits that will work. They are nocturnal … although this trio apparently did not get the memo on that. They have sharp claws, which means you have to be very careful trying to capture one by hand. And, last but not least, they stink real, real, real bad.

I asked many “outdoor” friends and all agreed a shotgun was the best option. That’s good if you live in the county, but I am within city limits and discharging a firearm would put me, rather than them, behind bars.

The best way to capture them is to quietly sneak up behind them and grab their tail to haul them up off the ground, then place them in a cage and transport them far away from the nesting area.

Much easier said than done. They have excellent hearing. Every time I tried to sneak up behind them, they would transform from slow movers to greyhounds and hightail it to the empty lot next door, laughing at this publisher in active pursuit.

So, over the next weekend I returned with a crab net and made a capture — which, moments later, they tore to shreds with their razor-sharp claws and escaped again. I think I saw a smile of defiance on their pointy snouts.

Two months have passed, they are doubled in size and have become my version of the Taliban, entrenched within my beautiful, natural ecosystem.

But then our staff photographer and woodsman, Scott Holstein, came to the rescue. Check out the web page wn.com/ldavidson02 to see him demonstrate the fine art of “diller” capture. One down. Two to go. I am determined to be part of the exclusive “Diller Dundee” club.

Stay tuned … update next issue.

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