Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wile E. Coyote

The dogs are barking outside my window.

As they have done for at least two weeks.

Ever since we moved here we heard coyotes howl far off in the national forest or up on the ridge behind our farm. Never up close.

'Til now.

Some point last week they woke me up. Sounded like they were right by the pond. The dogs were barking and howling and the coyotes were yipping. It was around 4:30am. I opened up the window to see but it was too dark. They calmed down and I went back to sleep. Next morning I looked out to the ridge behind the pond. A snowy trail led from the pond halfway up. Feathers.

They got Pilgrim, our gander.

Poor Daisy and Lily. They cried for two days as they fruitlessly searched for their beau.

I couldn't believe the coyotes came so close.

Philip got the gun and slept out on the deck to listen for them. That was one of the first nights of real big wind. He nearly got blown away (not by the gun, by the wind), but no predators came up that night.

Next night Patrick went out to gather in the cows from the field. There were three coyotes on the other side of the fence, a few yards away. They stood their ground and didn't even run away when Patrick yelled at them.

He and Philip set out some traps. Almost every night they have come up to the farm, 2:30am and 4:30am. Boldly they cross the stream and yip and screech and bark like demons right by the garden fence. The dogs bark back but do not chase them off as they are outnumbered. One morning Philip went out and nearly shot one. "Boooom!" The shot echoed throughout the valley but alas the shadowy creature eluded Philip's aim.

The two remaining geese and the ducks have taken up residence in the barn. The sheep and cattle and goats stay up there as well. My friend's husband loves to hunt coyotes and wants to come try to shoot them.

I guess that it might sound mean to wish to kill a wild animal. Maybe I would have thought so a few years ago.

But those predators have killed a gander, a few guineas and a couple of ducks. There is plenty of wildlife for them to eat in the woods since we are not in a drought right now but they find our farm animals much easier prey. Coyotes could wipe out our flock of sheep or a brand new baby calf in no time so I hope that we can at least scare them off our property.

Besides, I would definitely appreciate an undisturbed night's sleep. So would Philip. So would Blackie and Brownie!


Leonora said...

The coyotes are coming in close here too! It is the first time in the seven years we've lived here. We saw one in the field right in the middle of day! The noise at night is an awful racket. My daughter hunts with a friend and while up in a tree stand, they saw a pack moving in a "V" formation through the woods. Something is definitely different this year... said...

Hard winter coming? They have never been so bold.

Jeff said...

For what it is worth: said...


I checked out your blog and the info on the taste aversion training. Interesting stuff!

I can't eat guacamole due to the same principle! Am definitely of the position that we need to respect balance and allow room for wildlife. We must have bear and coyotes to keep things in check, just like we need areas of weeds and streams to allow space for quail and other wild birds.

BUT, when things get out of order and the coyotes ignore the ready available wild food and come get farm fresh meat from us I am definitely all for helping them establish a good sense of boundary!

Thanks for all the great research you do. So many interesting links. My dad used to use a form of the taste aversion training to a couple of chicken eating dogs when I was a kid. Never thought of applying it to wildlife...