The Legend of Wiley

Marian asked about the history of hare hunting on the Hill. Rob leaned back, pulled back his hat, propped his pointed shit-kickers up on the handlebars of the bike, took a long draft of creek water, and headed straight into a yarn…

Hares. More hares. Hares were everywhere. Sons or cousins of the original Wiley. (Actually they were probably great-great-great-grandcousins, given the hare reproductive proclivity.)

Who was Wiley, you ask? He was the original… er, what did Steven Jay Gould call it? The original extraption, a punctuated leap in the otherwise glacial movement of evolution. Yes, Wiley was born with a very special adaptation – he RAN. When he heard a quad bike or a boot on the track, he RAN and didn’t stop, didn’t look back, didn’t pause, just RAN and RAN and RAN like a bat out of hell.

Now a stationary hare at a hundred meters is no easy shot for the best of us, but a hare on the run is damn near impossible. Parenthetically, this is totally dependent on motivation. For instance, if Rob is out for a joy ride, drinking Kiwi beer and shooting up the forest, he couldn’t hit the brood side of a barn. But if some damn hare has been nibbling his trees, then God help it, whether it’s still or weaving or in a fricking rocket ship, it can run but it can’t hide. Rob has been known to nail the buggers on a full on run at 500 paces, much to Jamie’s – our neighborhood DOC ranger, our champion and friend – amazement.

Back to Wiley. He RAN, and so he drew fire from all angles. They tried for weeks to get him, but he was so quick, so … er, wiley, as they say, they couldn’t even draw a bead on him on a full run. He was a marvel, no doubt.

It was Jamie that came up with the idea. Bring out the big guns. Literally. He brought what looked like an elephant gun. A freaking bazooka. We went out on the bike and there, a thousand paces over the hills and dales, was Wiley himself. Jamie stopped the bike, shouldered the bazooka, and KABLAMMMM! No more Wiley.

We buried what was left of him in the middle of a beautiful pod of exotic trees over a hundred years old and planted by Charlie, the original homesteader – last name, Haines, himself back in the day. Jamie called the group to order, asked for a moment of silence in memory of the first extraption, Wiley One. But alas, Wiley had managed to father others before his demise, and so the mutation was passed on.

And now we have hares that only RUN and never stop.

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