Thursday, October 11, 2012


 We have problems with coyotes mostly twice a year; once, in the early spring, when they're raising their pups and need extra calories, and again in the fall, when the pups are kicked out of their parents territories and have to set up shop somewhere else. 

As a rule, I much prefer to not kill coyotes.  When you take out a mature animal, younger dogs move in, and there's a learning curve that everyone goes through.  A mature coyote that knows what the basic rules are is much less trouble than a young dog that doesn't know any better. 

Unfortunately, it's hard to teach the coyotes the rules.   I lost a sheep yesterday, and I found this one this morning.   This sheep shows pretty classic coyote wounds.   You can click on any of these pictures for a closer look.  In the top picture you'll see a wound on one side of the neck.  In the picture below, a wound on the other side.  You can see the canine teeth marks in the lower picture. 
 This is a young coyote who is not used to taking down sheep or deer.  The way that an experienced dog will take down a sheep is to clamp down on the windpipe and choke the sheep out.  After it goes it'll kill it.  This dog tried for the neck, but didn't get a good clamp on the windpipe, and ended up tearing out a chunk of the skin and wool on one side.  It tried on the other side, but for some reason didn't finish the job.  This particular ewe is pregnant and probably won't survive these wounds, but I'll do the best I can for her. 
It's mostly the wound in the picture above that concerns me.  There's a big chunk of skin missing, and quite a bit of material in the wood.  Irrigate it, get it as clean as possible, and then sew it shut.  Finish with a shot of antibiotics to combat the infection that often comes from a predators mouth, and hope for the best.  Poor girl. 

I don't know what happened to the mature dog that used to be on the other side of the fence; this may be an interloper, or maybe the older dog isn't with us any more.   I tracked the coyote to where it's entering my pasture.    This ewe was attacked 15' from my barn. 

Since I've had two attacks in two days I don't feel like I have much choice.  I cleaned and oiled the rifle tonight, and I'll be sitting out tomorrow morning waiting for it.

1 comment:

Powdery Top said...

TY says you should let the sheep just manage on it's own. If it survives the offspring will be resistant to coyotes. You will have bred out being prey in a single event. How great is that?
Then - you can stop this farming nonsense (it's hard work) and write some self published fiction... well, more fictional than your farming ever was. Well, if you are TY.