>Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat

Sonora, CA forecast
& Northern California web cams

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Pungent project produces portfolio

Pungent project produces portfolio

PLODDING DOWN A BANK, Andy Hatch snowshoes toward an animal station site near Dorrington. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).
PLODDING DOWN A BANK, Andy Hatch snowshoes toward an animal station site near Dorrington. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).

By GENEVIEVE

BOOKWALTER

Andy Hatch delicately pours ground, rotten mouse meat onto the tip of a large limb. His hands protected by latex gloves, he stands in snowshoes on about 4 feet of packed powder on a sunny January day that would be perfect for skiing.

A nail pins an open can of Friskies Senior cat food to the limb, next to the rotten rodent sludge.

Hatch deftly closes the jar of mice meat and reaches into his black and green backpack for the coup d'grace.

Gingerly, Hatch lifts out the Gusto.

"This dude makes it, like, in his house," Hatch says, shaking his head in disbelief over Gusto's origins. "This is worse than meth."

Gusto's creator — a trapping product supplier — describes its scent in an on-line advertisement:

"When you crack the cap, you will certainly smell skunk but underneath you will detect a sweet odor consisting of a generous dose of castor and muskrat musk."

With solemn, calculated moves, Hatch pours the runny, beige potion over the Friskies and ground mice.

He perfumes neighboring trees similarly and then immediately peels off his Gusto-soiled gloves "inside out, like I'm dealing with blood."

He seals them in a plastic bag and quarantines the bag in his pack.

If even one drop lands on him, Hatch will have a long, smelly drive home.

Hatch, a biologist with the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, sets out bait for forest animals, in hopes that they will stop by for a free lunch and a mug shot. That way, CSERC can track animals and use the data to support its stands on U.S. Forest Service projects. An infrared laser beam and a cheap point-and-shoot camera sit near the reeking lure. When crossed, the laser will trigger the camera to snap a photo. A shot of a rare critter devouring Hatch's stew is the hope.

After retracing his quarter-mile snowshoe path to his red pickup, Hatch stows his pack with its stinking contents in the bed. Old Blue Note tracks, Paul Simon and the Grateful Dead keep him company as he rolls back to Twain Harte.


Follow UnionDemocrat.com

Featured Classifieds

cmiranda@chickenranchcasino.com We look forward to hearing from you!'>

cmiranda@chickenranchcasino.com We look forward to hearing from you!'> HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO Work In The Entertainment ...

News
Local / Sports / Business / Stocks / News of Record / State / Nation/World / Obituaries / Submit News
Opinion
Editorials / Letters
Photos
Union Democrat Photos / Community Photos /
Classifieds
Search Classifieds / Jobs / Autos / Homes / Rentals / Place an Ad
Online Extras
Weather / Local Business Links / Community Links / Photo Reprints
Union Democrat
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Site Map

© Copyright 2001 - 2014 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use