Coyotes and other predators
The western, all-night-howling coyote has moved east and in many instances adapted to city trash can dinners, including cats, and small dogs. This rural area also contains coyotes, and local cattle ranchers fear calving time as many new born are gutted and otherwise eaten by coyotes.
Also from my perspective, distant Virginia counties have been “seeded” with wolves-all in the interests of restocking natural predators, as they existed a hundred years ago.
Our southwestern counties are becoming more overgrown as the farms are disappearing which creates a “natural” habitat for wolves and coyotes. The latter is more adaptable to human surroundings while the wolf seeks the forest.
The experiment some decades ago in Yellowstone Park was the introduction of wolves to create the balance of Elk. Currently the wolf packs are increasing and becoming a threat to humans just like the old pioneering days with packs of 70 or more wolves attacking carriages and winter horse drawn sleds. Of course today’s environmentalists, comfortable in their apartments, say that there are no risks and even discount the early tales that I remember from my youth.
Wolves easily reach a 100 lb mark and can run faster than a horse gallop, easily running down deer and elk-which is intended by the government to be introduced. Eastern Coyotes on the other hand average 20 lbs, some larger but basically smaller and not as dangerous to man since they prefer to be well hidden. But lots of food and a few litters later the coyotes and wolves grow much larger, and within human habitation grow bolder.
Raccoons even with their friendly disposition and masked face that encourages children and young people to rescue as a pet are at risk. Once they reach sexual maturity they turn unpredictable and can actual kill you usually biting the throat as the Daniel Boon enthusiastic child perches the Raccoon on his or her shoulder. The further north you go the bigger they get. Some Canadian Raccoons have topped the scale at 60 lbs. Needless to say they are often identified with odd attacking behavior as having rabies.
I have always encourages mothers especially, to keep the babies and toddlers in sight, or in the house with predators abounding. Even hungry old black bears can easily carry off a child. Predators are always hungry.
Living in the bush, so to speak, usually on old farm settings set way back in the woods is enjoyable for its privacy and solitude. However, you may have to do away with the pests and dangerous wildlife.
I will start with RATS. These are easily poisoned off with Tom Cat™ rodent poison. I find it works as being indescribably delicious to rodents if you add almond shreds to the hole in the chunk blocks. These blocks are dangerous to pets and children. Place as directed in the instructions. Wear gloves. Wash your hands when finished.
CHICKEN PROTECTION: I use the Tom Cat™ blocks in the chicken droppings, 4 feet down in an enclosed area. Otherwise you may have to make a rat box, but better yet is a very tall narrow trashcan baited for mice, but not for rats. Mice have trouble jumping up and out, but can jump vertically almost 3’.
A PVC 4”diameter pipe, 4feet high, capped at the base and open at the top secured upright to a shelf catches lots of rats. The attractant is Tom Cat™, or old meat scraps.
Pet chicken houses currently marketed with the tiny yard space requires a wire mesh flooring as predators will dig under and kill your birds. Unfortunately this limits chicken necessary scratching who makes nice big holes for the yard fanciers.
MINK and WEASELS are the bane of the chicken house, as they will kill just for the sport. Tight metal ¼” netting is necessary on the open spaces. A mink, or even a rat can squeeze with ease through a ¾” hole.
RACCOONS are my bane. I am forever wiring in the egress they seek. They like to get in the chicken house since I put up inner covered wall for my chickens, but that makes a good warm sleeping area for the raccoons. Alas I will have to tear this interior covering down, but as it goes the destructive Raccoons tear everything up. Raccoons are nimble. Once I viewed one climbing face down, head first, several feet on my log barn walls and calmly going to the cat food, pushing the cats aside and eating. On my bird feeders they could not get up because of the squirrel shield so they climbed up in a tree and moved out to the end a branch and lowered themselves to the platform. Smart! Later on they adapted and learned to climb over the post shield and looked for bird suet. Then they climbed down the post headfirst. I have adapted too! I also provided suet to the birds (nesting-baby bird time), but on the wall of the wood shed with sheet metal scrap facing- 4’X 5’- that Raccoons can not grasp to climb. Eventually they will outwit me again.
Old timers would hunt Raccoons at night with dogs. After treeing the Raccoon they would build a small fire, or in more modern times use a flashlight to get the eyes glowing. Pow! The headshot with a .22 Rifle was important so as to not damage the fur hide. Times were tough. Oh yes, they ate the Raccoon.
FERAL PIGS: These domestic hogs are becoming more known and a serious pest, even to the suburb lawns in town. A Hog will make short work of your precious flowerbeds and lawn around your house rooting for grubs, and they delight in your garden labors. What is interesting is that you can now buy a silencer for your pre-threaded Savage Rifle for use in the country so you do not disturb a distant neighbors rest at night. I recommend a .308 caliber. Remember this is a powerful rifle and best use is NOT IN THE SUBURBS, but in the remote countryside. These feral hogs consider your trashcans joy. .
COYOTE: Trapping one is unlikely as they are reclusive night predators and sniffing your chicken house. If you live in the sticks you could lure them with a quality game call, preferably three electronic calls so you can raise their interest. A .22 Magnum is my choice for close work although do not expect to get closer than 100 yards. Your callers with remote triggering and call selection are a matter of experience. More distant rifle choices might be a 22-250, or for even more range a 25-06. Since .223 is a popular caliber this also is quite efficient.
I must add that I viewed a CD on coyote shooting and was quite disgusted with one of the two shooters. One shooter was calm and made a clean drop. The other shooter was deliberately shooting the animal in the spine or hips to cause the animal much pain and suffering. I do not accept this, nor subscribe to such deliberate” criminal” behavior. I am sorry the CD was published. This later behavior I have witnessed in VietNam was as a true “jerk”-not to be trusted with a firearm.
There are other predators which we have discussed in the past articles-human predators are the worst.
Shoot straight. Shoot knowing where the bullet will backdrop.
God Bless America, live long and prosper.
Copyright: Back2theLand.com, 6-1-2015, all rights reserved.