Monday, August 30, 2010

They're Back

They came out of the gathering mist at dusk last evening.  There were two.  Earlier in the week, we'd seen five.  Tawny bodies, running low to the ground, too low for a deer.  Bushy tails.  The dog weighed, perhaps, sixty pounds, the bitch, a little less.  It was time to lock up the turkeys for the night.  It would seem, since the demise of our Great Pyrenees, the coyotes have moved in permanently and seem to be making a fine living from fawns and other easy-to-down game.  We didn't want our turkeys, nor our chickens, to be dinner a la carte for coyotes.

So we herded the turkeys into the outer yard of the chicken coop, probably the safest place on the entire farm, with an electric woven fence, very hot, connected outside the chickens' yard.  The turkeys seemed relieved to find themselves in an enclosure.  They settled down immediately and stopped their incessant peeping. We'd thought to put them in the larger garden, but after sighting the pair of canines that seemed too risky.  We decided on the vacated coop, especially as night was swifly making it difficult to see turkeys in the grass.  Wise move.  Jessie helped us gather all 14, and we locked them in.  I slept better knowing they were secure.

MM got up several times during the night, listened for any sound of the coyotes.  But as far as he could tell, none visited us, but Jess seemed to be on alert each time when he arose during the night and went out to check.

They're here.  They're not good neighbors.  When we caught sight of the whole family early in the week, there were four tawny ones and one black and white, revealing their interbreeding with domesticated dogs.  They were at a distance, some 100 yards or so, sprinting away from us as fast as they could go.  But they get bolder as food grows scarce, temperatures drop, and the snow flies.  We'll have to be watchful.  I had my .222 rifle last night as we were gathering the turkeys, ready to pull one down if it showed.  It didn't.   But it will.  And, I'll be ready.  I'm an excellent shot with a .222, even at 300 yards.  I expect to put an end to several of them in the not-too-distant future.  It's them against us.  There is no room for compatible sharing in this instance.  With fruit, veggies, nuts, grapes, we have enough to share.  It's different with coyotes.   If we don't win, we lose.


  1. Hi, Elora. Here's hoping you're able to take out those unwelcome visitors soon. When we first moved here, we could hear the coyotes howl every night and found their scat in our yard, but I think perhaps our many farmer neighbors have managed to take care of the problem, as I haven't heard them in a long while. I'm so glad you've found a safe place for your turkey family.

    By the way, I really loved the picture of the buzzards with the outspread wings in your previous post---wonderful!

  2. It's such an alien concept here, having to shoot predators to protect your livestock (though farmers can and do shoot wandering dogs) that it highlights how close you live to nature. I hope that you don't have too many broken nights before you manage to shoot the coyotes. Will shooting this group keep others away? I sincerely hope you don't have the same sort of problem with bears as they sound even more dangerous. I'm glad our only unwelcome night visitors are horrible big slugs crawling across the kitchen floor (a couple of our recent guests had the nasty experience of treading on them in bare feet).

  3. Hey, Beth! Great to hear from you! Thanks for the empathy! I'm sure there are some animal rights people who can't agree with us, but that's understandable. It's eery and sleep-depriving to be concentrating on a true predator that has lots of "smarts." We have not seen them again, but they tend to make circuits and reappear just when you think they've left for good! Wow! So far, we've not had them in the yard, thank you!

    Ruta, great comment, know it's tempting to think of coyotes as being "in the wild" and we are, to be sure, some distance from urbania. OTOH, coyotes are infiltrating cities in droves because habitat for humanity and habitat for wild critters, is colliding. The lines blur between what's wild and what's not. Newly constructed subdivisions sprawling out from cities, offer great hunting for coyotes who like pretty kitties and unwary puppies. All kinds of formerly "wild" things are making a stand in neighborhoods they once thought were theirs.

    Slugs inside? Large? And a barefoot encounter? Now that's kind of nasty. I would not be happy about that. The old salt technique, maybe?


  4. Slugs are yuck! The ones that appear indoors are the big 6" long ones. I don't often see them as they only emerge late at night, (our visitors were night owls), but there are usually silver tracks across the hall carpet showing that they have been around. It's only to be expected as we are next to a stream and the old part of the house was built straight onto the clay subsoil. We used to get a lot congregating on the front patio but it is not so bad since I started putting the cat food out on the other side of the yard. Every now and again I don rubber gloves, collect them in a bucket and throw them in the stream to be washed down to the lake.