My husband Paul has an all terrain vehicle and enjoys riding the woods trails around our house. It’s a beautiful ride through the deep woods and out into open fields. The trail starts at the bottom of our street and winds its way up to Charette Hill and goes for miles and miles all the way to Van Buren and beyond.
One day, he was riding the trail and, not too far from home, a partridge came running out of the woods. For those of you who don’t know what a partridge is, it’s a small brown game bird that is hunted in the fall from October through the end of November. It followed Paul’s machine for about 500 feet. When the partridge reached a certain point, it stopped and went back into the woods. Paul didn’t think anymore about it. The next time he went riding, the same thing happened – again the partridge ran out and chased the ATV for a distance and stopped.
This kept happening all summer. Paul really got attached to the partridge and named him “Pat”. Every time he went riding, Pat always met him at the same spot on the trail, followed him to a point, stopped and went about his usual partridge business.
Paul took me out to meet Pat. When we got to that certain location on the trail, Paul slowed down and said, “Now watch, Pat’s going to come out right about here.” Sure enough, out came Pat at a full run and followed us up the trail. Sometimes he would run right out in front of the machine and we would have to stop so we wouldn’t run over him. It was so funny to watch him as he would run along the trail. Sometimes he would stop to eat and then take flight to catch up with us if we got too far ahead of him. Then, when we got to Pat’s stopping point, he would go back into the woods. I don’t think, until I witnessed Pat for myself, I believed Paul’s story. It was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen.
One day, Paul was out riding and Pat again met him at the usual location. This time Pat was bolder than he had ever been all summer. When Paul left him to come home, apparently Pat didn’t want him to leave. Pat took flight and landed on Paul’s hat. He beat him about the head with his wings. Paul told me he was laughing so hard he had a hard time to get Pat off his head. Pat finally gave up and flew off.
After that incident with Pat, Paul started talking to several people who ride those same trails and found out that Pat had been pulling the same stunts on them. It finally dawned on him that maybe Pat wasn’t being friendly but was protecting his territory and has since renamed him “Pat the Terrorist”.
Paul still sees Pat every time he rides in that area and Pat is still patrolling his domain. Our hope is that Pat will survive hunting season. All the guys Paul has talked to say they wouldn’t have the heart to shoot him and neither would Paul. Pat is just too outgoing for his own good.
Elizabeth Harris is 59 years old, has been married for 40 years to Paul Harris and she is retired from Maine Public Service Co. The couple never had children but they do have a Bichon Frise(dog) named Sadie. Harris is enrolled in a Business Degree program at UMFK.