Monday, November 22, 2010

Coyotes, coyotes, coyotes

This morning when Mike was in the woods looking for downed trees to use as firewood, he found a pile of bones that he assumed to be the remains of Snuggles, our sole Old English Southdown sheep that has been missing for several weeks. For the first few days that we didn't see him, we kept making excuses, assuming he was lagging behind the other sheep, or maybe he was in a brushy part of the timber, and we just couldn't see him. After a couple weeks, we started to quietly accept the idea that perhaps he had been eaten. The skull Mike found is a polled ruminant, and it is too wide to be a deer. Since Snuggles is the only sheep or goat to be missing, it seems obvious that it is him.

I have no doubt that without the llamas, I would probably have no sheep at this point. In August, Tuscany, my smallest gelding, was bitten in the knee of his right front leg. And a couple of weeks ago, Merlin, one of the older boys, was limping, although we couldn't find any obvious injury on his leg. He spent about three days kushed (that's what they call it when a llama is laying down) or walking on three legs. Both have made a full recovery.

Our mail lady said that someone a mile south of us shot a coyote and hung it up on a fence post by the road, which is a little creepy, regardless of how much I hate coyotes. The man who lives down the road said that a pack of coyotes had his dog (a German shepherd mix) pinned against his house about a month ago. He's lived here his whole life and said he's never seen so many coyotes as this past year. Their house is in the middle of a cornfield, and the packs come into his yard on a regular basis. The coyotes are probably a lot closer to our house than I want to know, but we can't see them because we are surrounded by timber and little bluffs and creek beds, where they can hide. The sheep are spending most of their time in the cow pasture. I imagine Bridget's horns are good protection. Someone else told me that there used to be a bounty on coyotes, so people would hunt them. But there is no incentive now for anyone to shoot them other than livestock owners whose animals are being killed. It's feeling a little like the Wild West here.

7 comments:

LindaG said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your sheep. We may end up needing llama's or some such because we saw a fox last May when we left our retirement property.

And when my husband mowed the pasture he said there were plenty of mice out there.

Hope things will be good this week. Have a blessed Thanksgiving. ♥

Chef E said...

How do llama's protect- are coyotes afraid of them? This is like a spooky story, so I was so intensely reading it word for word...

Joan said...

We're very sorry to hear about your sheep... Thanks for the excellent heritage turkey we purchased from you. It was exceptionally moist and tastey. We're signing up next year the first chance we get! We roasted it on Monday because our daughter Sarah is vegetarian and wouldn't be home until Wednesday. We'll have second Thanksgiving, vegetarian, with her on Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving and very best wishes to all at Antiquity Oaks.

MSW said...

Nasty coyotes. They're bad around our place. Our Great Pyr cross showed up at the door somewhat bloody this past Friday. On closer examination very little of the blood was his and the next day we found a coyote carcass in the ditch about a mile away with signs of quite the struggle. It's the second one he's taken down. The first one would have been on his own, but he may have had help from his Great Pyr apprentice for this one. Good dogs. He got some extra attention after that one.

I'm sorry about your sheep.

Nancy K. said...

I wonder why hunting coyotes isn't allowed. In cases like yours, it sure seems like it should be!

Imagine if you didn't have two llamas and a LGD! No ~ on second thought, don't.

How's my little buddy doing in his new home?

Spinners End said...

The market for coyote pelts is the real driver for coyote trapping and hunting. Current prices for coyote pelts range from $4-30 dollars, and the desirable pelts are from the prairie region where coyotes have shorter hair. Russia and China are the big buyers of US coyote pelts and they prefer shorter haired pelts like otter, muskrat, mink etc...

Of course, some folks like to predator hunt for the "sport" of it as well. Bounties may work well for this type of hunter, but in general those folks trapping for fur wouldn't probably be driven to hunt coyotes for a small bounty reward.

The bounty system is rather grim- the hunter turns in ears and/or feet in order to get their reward...it didn't work very well here in Michigan on coyotes. Organized predator hunts on the other hand have seemed to have a local impact in some areas.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

I'm so sorry. That's awful. Thankfully you do have the llamas.

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