Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Hunted

The Hunter
he came to investigate while I was taking pictures in the front yard

The Hunted

In case you forget me saying it before, I'll say it again - I love living in the country. The peace and quiet, the seclusion, the fresh air...but in the absence of traffic and crazy people (okay, maybe not the crazy people...they seem to thrive out here - for example, the beaver trapper who felt it necessary to knock on my door and interrogate me as to why I locked the neighbour's gate. Um - it's the NEIGHBOUR'S gate.), we still have our fair share of threats and dangers. The most prominent that we've noticed lately, is the wildlife - coyotes to be exact. In real life, these bushy-tailed critters are not quite as gullible as you may remember from "Looney Toons" - they are, however, very wylie. Sneaky. Quiet. In most situations, I would have thought that they would keep to themselves, and I would easily believe the old addage that "they're more afraid of you, than you are of them". I would have thought that they would smell humans and keep their distance. That is, until they started hanging around my back door! Apparently, they've caught a whiff of my little dog, and she smells mighty appetizing. Not sure why, this scrawny little thing is no bigger than a small rabbit, and there's probably better eating in a rat...I mean, she's a Miniature Dachsie! Maybe they have a taste for Oscar Meyer. Regardless, she's now being hunted by at least two different coyotes - and that scares the crap out of me. These creatures that should be keeping their distance in the bush, have been crouching in the grass outside my back door waiting for us to take the dog out...have you ever had to "bear arms", just to take your dog out for a pee? It's not ideal. I'm pretty sure he's been marking his territory (ie. MY territory), because Myah is afraid to go outside and when she's out there her nose never leaves the ground - unless she finds a particularly interesting smell, and feels the need to roll in it to bask in the aroma. And if they'll go after my dog, what about my children? They'll at least run in the opposite direction of me, but I'm afraid that these opportunistic hunters may see a small child as a tasty snack. So I now have a love-hate relationship with my surroundings. I love everything that the country has to offer, but hate that I am afraid to take my children outside to enjoy it.

After doing some research, it turns out that coyote numbers in my area are rising, and bounties and campaigns to cull them don't seem to have an effect; in some instances, their numbers have climbed higher after being hunted. There's also a pretty good chance that these particular animals are a hybrid mix between a coyote and an eastern wolf - which would explain why they appear larger than normal. Coyotes are highly adaptable opportunistic feeders, and will eat anything from apples to deer, and will become specialized in hunting animals that are abundant in their territory (which can range hundreds of kilometers). I'm wondering if this year has been hard on their normal food sources, as a hungry coyote will become more bold and venture into riskier situations - they'll do anything to get food. Even a chain-link fence will pose as no more than an inconvenient obstable, because it can easily be climbed. A few suggestions, if you find yourself living with coyotes:

- don't leave garbage or pet food in your yard
- don't compost meat products
- install motion-sensor lighting

- don't leave pets and small children unattended

- erect a solid wooden fence, at least 6-8ft high

I don't think so. I can keep my garbage picked up, but I am certainly not going to build a barracade around my house. But what if that's my only solution? After our last encounter, I blurted out that I couldn't live like this, and wouldn't live here if I couldn't keep my family safe. Irrational, yes. But I just don't know what to do! Have any of you ever been in this situation? Has your area imposed any sort of program to control the coyote (or any wildlife) population? They say that the coyote population is cyclical, and will "bust and boom"...I'm hoping that a "bust" is in the near future...or that these sneaky hunters will meet a different type of "boom".





1 comment:

  1. jackie take the rifle out and shoot the dam thing, then get ted to hang it on the fence as a warning to the other cyotes. its self defence. shoot as many as you need to to save your dog kids and self. a few years ago when i was with my ex i lived with his mother on an old farm house on 50acres most of which was wooded. one night me and kate were watching tv and we seen something walk past the door on the front veranda. we had three dogs so it was normal, untill we realized the dogs were inside with us! when we turned the lights on we seen a full size wolf starring in at us. we called the misistry next day they said they couldn't do anything. but we loaded the gun just in case. a few days later we woke up one moprning around 7am to 15wolves in our front lawn!! circling our dogs. i immediatly grabbed the gun and shot at one of them, missed, but it was enough to send them running. it wasn't untill we seen them come around the house a few more times, dangerously close again that the ministry finally gave us permission to shoot, and came out to investgate.... so i advise you to just take this into your own hands and shoot them before it gets worse.