At dusk on the field, Jason Bullard deftly shoulders his rifle and leveled it against the object. “That looks like one!” he murmurs. It looks like a fuse box. Another candidate, again aimed at the gun, appears as a rock.
In this town besieged by armadillos, anything with a fleeting resemblance to the armored enemy is under suspicion.
Bullard, a polite man in a camouflaged shirt, with a prosperous voice and a formidable beard, has quickly gone from never seeing an armadillo in his bucolic corner to the west. North Carolina to kill 15 of them last year. In the last two weeks, he has sent eight animals.
The owners of the house, worried that the newly grown mammals were breaking the grass, initially replaced Bullard as a sort of bounty hunter, and gave him $ 100 for every month he died. But the armadillos have caused such a catastrophe in horticulture, where dozens of people in Sapphire, North Carolina and the surrounding area now hold Bullard, allowing them to walk around their property at night, armed, hoping to shoot the culprits.
The task is quickly learned at work. Bullard used them in the first armadillos.22 standard rifles did not seem to kill them completely. One of the creatures jumped away in a strange kangaroo-like jump, leaving Bullard stunned. Armadillos give off a bright gray color at night, a bright light absorbed by their bodies, rather than reflected in the eyes.
“It’s like hunting aliens,” said Bullard, who is accustomed to hunting wild pigs. “We don’t know anything about them. It seems we can’t kill them easily. They appear unexpectedly. And their numbers have just exploded. ”
To detect armadillos In North Carolina, it was initially incongruous. This creature has been a mammal of the state of Texas for more than two decades, accustomed to heat in a dry, flat state. There, they are regularly seen as road killers or when they walk down a 40-foot track in small-scale races.
Armadillo meat is consumed in Central America, and to a lesser extent in the U.S., where it was called the “pig of poor men” in Depression-era Texas and has been contaminated by its link to leprosy.
Sapphire, meanwhile, is located 800 miles and is located around the world on the Blue Ridge mountain hikes. It is part of a plateau that receives so much rainfall, where it has developed a warm forest, covered with earth and rocks rich in moss, between firs and large firs. In the fall, the area is surrounded by a wonderful red and orange hue of autumn. The area also has a small ski resort.
When the first armadillo was seen here in 2019, Bullard received a call. “I didn’t believe it,” he said. “I thought the woman had a sore throat and a drinking problem.” But a year later, Bullard was spending his nights on the local golf course, rushing from hole to hole in a golf cart, like a kind of cross between Tiger Woods and Davy Crockett in the dead green armory.