Saturday, July 9, 2011

lost a lamb today: Coyote hunting.

One of the ewes was running around distressed today; I wasn't sure what was up, but on counting my lambs I came up one short.  So I counted again.  Still short.  We're down a lamb. 

Sometimes you'll lose one for no particular reason, so I looked in all the places the sheep hang out, and in the bushes and along the drainage ditch; no lamb.  Lamb is just gone. 

My first suspect is coyotes.  The lamb in question was a smaller one though, and it could have been an eagle, but generally when an eagle or hawk kills a lamb they eat it in place, or at the least tear chunks of wool off and scatter then at the kill sight.  No wool -- no obvious kill site.  Coyote still #1 suspect. 

So I start looking for recent coyote sign.  We're down a couple of chickens, too.  Hmmmm...
 When a coyote grabs a chicken they'll come up to the building and grab it, and then run off a couple of hundred yards to eat it.  Here's where a black chicken got eaten. 
 Coyotes will tend to respect fence lines; they'll walk parallel to them, particularly if it's open on the other side, so I'm walking this electric fence line looking for recent tracks. 
 Here's a coyote track in the mud at the edge of that fenceline.  It's moving to the right, and you can make out the claw marks in the mud just to the right of my finger.  The size is right, claw marks... coyote. 

 I'm interested in knowing where the coyote comes from, and where it goes.  They tend to get into routines, and since this one has eaten chickens and a lamb, I'm sure that it'll be back.  In the picture above I'm looking at the grass -- it's bent down in the direction that my finger is pointed, and a few feet further on I'm rewarded...
 by some clear coyote tracks.  another 20 minutes and I've got a good idea of where the coyote enters the property, and the likely route of travel.  I want to know that so that I can set up the shot. 
 This is part of this years lamb crop -- they're not sure what I'm doing, but they sure look tasty.  It's just that *I* want to eat them.  Sorry, Coyote. 
 Here's my prepared coyote blind.  The umbrella is for my comfort.  The logs and plywood are to break up my outline and allow me to sit quietly without being seen. 
This is the siteline for the shot.  The tree to the left center is where that electric fence line is.  the coyote enters to the left of that tree, comes into the pasture about 30 yards, and then moves left-to-right over to where the chickens are, along the brush line.  The black chicken comes from a coop to the left of this photo, so to get there the coyote has to cross about 100 yards of open ground.  I have the luxury of measuring out the distances; from here to the tree is 300 yards.  To the coop is 100 yards.  To the barn to the right 200 yards. 

Guess I'm getting up early for the next few days.

4 comments:

Jason said...

Bruce, check out HB1016 - it comes into effect on July 22. I'd be happy to bring some hardware out to help you out... and not piss off the neighbors. :-)

sheila said...

good luck, hope you get the varmit

Snowi-Ella said...

I'll bring you my Westie. He'll get scared and let out such a vile smelling pool off urine that the coyote will be too disgusted to ever come back.

Or the coyote will eat Fergus and get poisoned. Either way, all your troubles will be over. :P

Romilda Gareth said...

Thanks