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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Caution!

 **This post contains images and discussion that some people may not be comfortable with, please feel free to click away now**

Monday night when we let the dogs out for final potty Tucker didn't come in right away.  I thought he was maybe eating grass (he's been doing that lately) and when I shone the flashlight on him he still wouldn't come in.  So I threw on snowboots and trudged over to where he was eating grass blood.  
(I warned ya to click away, there will be pictures of the end result of the blood... you have been twice warned)
It was dark and cold, and I was tired so I scooted Tuck back up to the house and mentioned to Pie that if he had to let the dogs out during the night to keep a very close eye on them as there was a good sized patch of blood just across the driveway from the garage.
I got up for work Tuesday morning and because I was running late I didn't have time to investigate, other than snapping a quick pic with my cell phone... which I posted to Facebook with a few words about how we were possibly missing a barn cat.
Fast forward to Pie calling me at work late this afternoon, "You have to come home & let me in, I've locked myself out!!"
(feel free to laugh, I sure did)
I told my BIL and FIL that I had to go home and let Pie in and got my butt home as quickly as I could.  When I pulled into the driveway there was a strange vehicle there, turns out it was the neighbour Pie had flagged down and borrowed a cell from to call for help.  I thought it was pretty nice that he had stayed until I got there.
He & Pie told me they had investigated that bloody spot while they were waiting for me and that all our barn cats are alive and well.  And that it wasn't a neighbour's cat or rabbit... it was a deer.
**pictures forthcoming, including the deer kill... 
you have been thrice warned
 turn away now or do not complain**
Turns out this neighbour we had just met was a hunter and he looked at the tracks... the story unfolds that ONE dang coyote stalked and chased and ultimately killed a full grown deer.  There were tracks showing where it all happened, including where the deer was attacked but managed to get away.  She sought shelter alongside the two little pines beside the driveway, which is where the blood pooled, probably from an abdominal wound.  The little 'feast' Tucker was into last night.
 Honestly I'm so used to seeing deer tracks through the yard, and I know the coyotes have been going through, seeing tracks like this is nothing new.  It was pretty neat to see them through the eyes of someone that could put the story together.
 A tuft of bloody fur from near where the doe was attacked but managed to get away...
 The guys had told me where the remains of the carcass were so of course I had to go investigate.  Like I said the coyotes have been getting really bold around here.  ALL of this went down between 50' and 500' from the house.  This pic looking back at the garage was taken from where they had their supper.  Those pine trees on the left?  That's one of our dogs's potty spots!
 In less than 24 hours this is all that's left.  You can see there are a LOT of tracks around her, we had fresh snowfall* on Saturday and this is the hayfield where no horses/cattle have been turned out.
*the snowfall didn't amount to much, as you can see there are still plenty of spots with grass sticking out

 And these are the tracks looking toward the back of the hayfield/pasture area, that fence on the left is between our property and Neighbour Tom's.  I'm pretty sure they're living in those small hills at the back of his pasture.
 Now a couple of things to clarify...
I'm not mad the coyotes killed a deer.  I'm concerned for the safety of my critters.
The coyotes around this area are getting bolder and bolder.  In part because there are not many guardian dogs out here for the past few years.  There used to be quite a few but some got old, some were killed and some wandered away.  (and yes I know Hera is not up to the job yet, she's just a baby)
Also the coyotes have a lot to eat out here as far as wildlife, and I'm sure they're picking off barn cats, chickens, dogs, etc.  They're also exceptionally healthy looking, so they're obviously not starving.
It wasn't that long ago that they would not have dared hunt that close to the house/barnyard unless they were under duress.  And yes I know, that deer may have been ill/injured and a tempting target... I still don't like how at home the coyotes are feeling.  So we're keeping an extra close eye on the critters.  And hopefully soon I'll have my firearms certificate and can fire off a couple shots to scare them away when they're too close.

(and now I've probably driven away my few remaining blog readers)

15 comments:

  1. Coyotes are becoming ever more numerous because so many people are trying to get rid of them by killing them. It may seem counter-intuitive, but they are one of the only species that responds to hunting by breeding faster and more often. They also spread out more, which is why there is now a large population here in NY, twenty years ago there were none. If left alone their population will stabilize.

    I have lived in area out west with very large coyote populations, but have never had them do more then get in the garbage. Your horses will protect other stock, perhaps you could graze them near your house for a bit?

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  2. I find it fascinating. Neat to see the whole scene laid out in the snow. Poor deer though, couldn't have been pleasant. Those coyotes can be heartless creatures. Ours have been bad this year too, coming way to close to the house for my liking.

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  3. My heart skipped a few beats when you said Tucker didn't come in right away and that there would be blood...Sheesh! I'm glad that everybody's OK. That would sure give me the creeps though. Take care.
    Now is the time of year that my cat buddy deposits his "gifts" of mice and what not right outside the door. He rarely eats them, I guess it's just for sport, but he really tears the crap out of the little critters, first the head gets ripped off, them the entrails, then he walks away for all to see his "handiwork". Fred steers clear thank goodness, he just looks at me like "clean this up, Gross".

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  4. I find it fascinating too - it is part of living in the country, really. I've never dealt with coyotes up close and personal like that...I hope that your critters all stay safe. I was really worried it was a poor barn kitty...

    I was going to ask if you are allowed to shoot them if they get too close? Cool that you are getting your firearms license (I work for the RCMP, lol and have been meaning to get mine as well)

    I hope the LGD can help keep them at bay. Do donkeys work as well? Some people here have donkeys out with their cattle.

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  5. Girl no way you could drive me away ;)


    Keep a sharp eye. Get a couple more donkeys? You know- to help Hera? :)

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  6. Yikes that they are getting so bold and close! I haven't seen sign of coyotes near my new place...yet. There was talk a few months ago about a mountain lion though, but they have been saying that for years.

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  7. Yikes! That is a little too close for comfort!

    And, for the record, you didn't scare me away either. It's nature, survival of the fittest.

    Coyotes are starting to move into Maryland too. As of right now I haven't heard of any in the county that my parents live in but I do know my cousins in the county North of us have quite a few around them.

    Makes me fear for all of our calves (they raise beef too) if a single coyote could bring down an adult deer. Though I imagine having a herd of cattle is far safer than say a single cow/calf pair.

    Keep those critters of yours safe!

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  8. Get Donkeys - they will help. And, of course you didn't drive me away. I love your stories. It was neat to hear how it actually probably played out.

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  9. The donkeys will help, but I'm all for taking a few pot shots to let them know your home turf is off limits to them. Wouldn't hurt to bag one and leave it where they travel,as a warning. I may have to do that here, the pasture I turned Beamer out in the other day has plenty of yote tracks. It's only a hundred yards away, and I saw a big healthy coyote the other day heading west just a few yards from the mare pen. I just need to find out if it's legal to shoot here, we are pretty close to town, but I've got a 30-06 solution to the coyote problem.

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  10. Its a bad year for coyotes, all that snow last winter was pretty hard on them but good on mice and so last summer had lots of food fo them so they did well. Our neighbor sets a trap for them and has caught 40 this year. And with no snow to cover the traps even! We have never had a problem with coyotes eating a calf or our cats, we have more problems with deer (haha) so I dont worry too much

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  11. Our local gov trapper is coordinating fly over shootings that should start any time now. They've been known to get as many as 70 in a 3 mile radius...really hard on the cattle and sheep growers this time of year. Of course Cindy Sue's episode was just a year ago and fresh in my mind~Glad all your critters are OK.

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  12. You didn't drive me away! I said, "gross!" but this was interesting!

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  13. Didn't drive me away at all! Love your blog!!

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  14. We have Coyote problems all the way down in Tennessee, small newborn calves and pets seem to be the prefered prey. They are a Wiley bunch. No problem with the content of the post, your followers are mostly ranchers and comiserate with the problem..:-)

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  15. Really interesting! Scary that the coyotes are so well fed and bold - glad you got that adorable Hera to defend your critters.

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