While I Was Sleeping: Death on the Farm

 

File:Dont feed the coyotes.JPGWell, TBPH, I didn’t sleep through it.  I discovered, decades ago, that the reason I don’t get much sleep is not that I can’t get to sleep; it’s that I’m a very light sleeper, and everything wakes me up.

So last night, I was unsurprised to be awoken at 2:30 a.m. by a pack of yelping coyotes, obviously down the bottom of my field, making the sort of bone-chilling, “We Have A Kill!” racket that takes me back to my nights as a small child in Nigeria lying in bed and listening to the “laughing hyenas” outside. It’s different from the “howl,” a pack sound that’s often driven by the Claysville VFD siren, to which they respond in a sort of movie sing-along manner. (“The hills are alive, a-woo-woo-woo-w00,” etc.)  These are primal, gleeful, bloodcurdling, screams.

Of course, I was too late.  One of my black rams is dead.  I’ll spare you the graphic here, although I’ll publish it elsewhere.  There’s nothing left intact by now except his head; the vultures have been on the job since sunrise, and in another 24 hours, he’ll be picked clean.  At some point thereafter, I’ll roll over him with the tractor and the brush hog, render him into smithereens, and return him to fertilize the fields on which he’s lived, eaten, and played for the past eight years.  Anyone who finds that distasteful or odd probably hasn’t lived close to the land for a generation or two.

The neighbors are organizing.  I’m not the only one who’s suffered such a loss in the past several days.

Pretty sure this will not stand and (in the ineffable words of Joe Biden), “they will pay.”

But in the meantime, my guys and gals will be locked in the barn at sundown.

That’s top-of-mind in my world at the moment.

You?

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 37 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Truly sorry to hear of your loss. We have coyotes running near our property too.  My friend loaned me an electronic coyote lure (it sounds like a bunny in distress).  I will take it with me next time I go up to hunt deer, and will occasionally trigger it, to see if I can bring a few in and perhaps reduce the pack size. 

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Thanks.  They’ve been out here for decades, but this is the first time I, and several others in the area, have had a real problem.

    I’m of the opinion (without any science! (that I know of) to back it up) is that the fracking and coal-company activities in the area have resulted in changes to the terrain, and that the clear-cutting of large areas, and other differences to the topography as a result have altered the coyotes’ regular migration patterns.  I’m not sure they quite know what to do or where to go.  Which doesn’t excuse their depredations, but may explain some of them.

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    It is only the cities, where people forget what nature can be and is. 

    Our ancestors would not look upon lions and tigers and bears being endangered with anything other than “Well, that’s good!”

    • #3
  4. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    You are one heck of a woman, She! I am sorry for the loss of your black ram. I am an urban dweller, but there have been reports of a coyote right here in the city. I do have a single family residence with a yard and a cat that stays outside most of the time. The coyote spotting gives me concerns as well.

    • #4
  5. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Over here in west Texas many people keep a donkey in the field to keep the coyotes away from the cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Apparently donkeys can create enough pushback that the coyotes choose not to engage. 

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    We occasionally hear the varmints in the woods behind our house.  I’ve only seen one, and unfortunately I was unarmed at the time . . .

    • #6
  7. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Over here in west Texas many people keep a donkey in the field to keep the coyotes away from the cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Apparently donkeys can create enough pushback that the coyotes choose not to engage.

    Yes.  I’ve already put the word out.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I’m so very sorry, She. Yes, the circle of life and all that crap, but a ram! And to know you were hearing them in the act. Darn it.

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Our cat likes to roam outside at night and hunt for varmints. I’d rather she slept during the night and went out during the day to hunt for chipmunks.  When there are coyotes roaming and yelping close by she is usually willing to come in (sometimes very willing if they are really close) and we are not so willing to let her out.   So she sleeps, and then goes out more during the daytime. It kind of works, but it doesn’t change her favorite hunting times.

    There have been a few times when one of us has been awakened by the sound of coyotes, and we go down to make sure the cat is in, or let her in if she’s outside. Turning the porch light on sometimes makes the coyotes shut up, if they are close by.

    We’ve worried that sometimes those coyote packs can make sounds to lure unwitting pets to come over to join them for a meal, but we suspect our cat has been through enough close calls to know better.  She acts that way, anyway.

    Since she was a kitten she has been abnormally afraid of the sounds of machinery, and that has probably helped keep her alive, too.

    • #9
  10. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Back in the ’90s (before it was popular to defend AR-15s) a friend of mine justified ownership of an AR-15 by arguing it was a great hunting rifle when it came to critters like coyotes. If you missed with the first shot you just walked the next ones into it. Mind, he lived on a Central Texas ranch with plenty of nothing.

    • #10
  11. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Over here in west Texas many people keep a donkey in the field to keep the coyotes away from the cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Apparently donkeys can create enough pushback that the coyotes choose not to engage.

    Llamas perform the same function around here.

    • #11
  12. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    That reminds me. How is Oleg? Probably not as cute as he used to be.

    • #12
  13. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    You will probably have to keep an eye on your fields during the day for awhile. Coyotes tend to hunt at night, but I’ve seen one or two in Arizona that move around during the day. Coyotes will revisit areas where they’ve had a successful hunt. I’ve also seen them at night on the fringes of, and in the area of downtown Portland when I was on patrol. They adapt to urban areas.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    You will probably have to keep an eye on your fields during the day for awhile. Coyotes tend to hunt at night, but I’ve seen one or two in Arizona that move around during the day. Coyotes will revisit areas where they’ve had a successful hunt. I’ve also seen them at night on the fringes of, and in the area of downtown Portland when I was on patrol. They adapt to urban areas.

    When we lived in San Clemente, CA, I would occasionally see one casually strutting down the street of our condo community during the day. Not a good place to let your puppies out at night unguarded.

    • #14
  15. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    My condolences on the loss of your black ram, or should I say, your ram of color.  To hear the event taking place and having a good idea of what was going on while not being able to do anything about it must have been very disconcerting.

    The thought that first rattled around my noggin was that they had gotten into your chicken coop. I am glad that your Casa del pollo withstood their assault. 

    One especially wet Spring caused the Mississippi to rise to much higher than normal levels, necessitating the opening of the spillway to divert water from the river’s levee system. One result was alligators in the river and on the banks. Another result of the flooding up north was we had an influx of coyotes. They found the battures teeming with small game as well as a bounty of house pets (dogs and cats) nearby. Many people lost Fluffy or Mittens to them. 

    They like it fine down here and have stayed. Efforts by the gummint to reduce their population have been largely unsuccessful as the coyotes are smarter than the local constabulary. 

    • #15
  16. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    That reminds me. How is Oleg? Probably not as cute as he used to be.

    Oh, he is still super cute!  I think he’ll always be small, and he’s not nearly as big as Tatiana, who’s actually a couple of days younger than he is.  I’ll see if I can snap a photo in the next day or two.  Thanks for asking.

    • #16
  17. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    The thought that first rattled around my noggin was that they had gotten into your chicken coop. I am glad that your Casa del pollo withstood their assault. 

    The chicken coop is, I’m pretty sure, impervious to assault.  That’s where I’m headed in the event of nuclear attack, because I think it’s probably the most resilient structure on the property.

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    One especially wet Spring caused the Mississippi to rise to much higher than normal levels, necessitating the opening of the spillway to divert water from the river’s levee system. One result was alligators in the river and on the banks. Another result of the flooding up north was we had an influx of coyotes. They found the battures teeming with small game as well as a bounty of house pets (dogs and cats) nearby. Many people lost Fluffy or Mittens to them. 

    Is it indeed true that folks in your neck of the woods fulminate about the “Yankee waters” that come down from up north and flood your areas?  I’ve heard that.  Ugh to the alligators (I’d never really seen one up close until I spent a delightful weekend with @susanq1uinn and Mr. Susan last year.  Got the shock of my life when this “log” I wasn’t really paying any attention to sprang to life and slithered into the water, only a few feet away from me.)

    And yes, I worry about Fluffy and Mittens too.  Fortunately, all my pets are either so decrepit or so dependent that–even if they spend a portion of their time outside–they rarely stray far from the house.  

    It’s interesting to me that, while the two elderly Great Pyrenees will come to attention and start to growl if there’s a racoon or turkey within what seems like 100 yards of the house, neither of them pays the slightest attention to the coyote racket.

     

    • #17
  18. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):

    My condolences on the loss of your black ram, or should I say, your ram of color. To hear the event taking place and having a good idea of what was going on while not being able to do anything about it must have been very disconcerting.

    The thought that first rattled around my noggin was that they had gotten into your chicken coop. I am glad that your Casa del pollo withstood their assault.

    One especially wet Spring caused the Mississippi to rise to much higher than normal levels, necessitating the opening of the spillway to divert water from the river’s levee system. One result was alligators in the river and on the banks. Another result of the flooding up north was we had an influx of coyotes. They found the battures teeming with small game as well as a bounty of house pets (dogs and cats) nearby. Many people lost Fluffy or Mittens to them.

    They like it fine down here and have stayed. Efforts by the gummint to reduce their population have been largely unsuccessful as the coyotes are smarter than the local constabulary.

    BIROC 

    • #18
  19. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Coyotes are smart, fearless, and incredibly adaptable. They have been known to grab human babies left out on the back yard in Orange County.  Cats are a very popular hors d’oeuvre. 

    We used to own one. She was domesticated (well, except for a few habits that she never shook, like never eating in front of people). And we always got a rise out of the reactions newcomers had to arriving at our home and being greeted by a coyote. 

    Wild ones? Target practice, baby.

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Over here in west Texas many people keep a donkey in the field to keep the coyotes away from the cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Apparently donkeys can create enough pushback that the coyotes choose not to engage.

    You can buy a good, trained watch donkey for $800.  I hear they’re also good against rattle snakes.

    • #20
  21. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    You could adopt a greyhound.  Even a retired dog will instinctively hunt, catch and kill a coyote.  And they are free.  My sister-in-law and her family live on a farm in eastern CT where they raise miniature horses.  (No, I don’t know why anyone would want a miniature horse.)  They keep retired greyhounds.  Coyote problem gone; pests have been eliminated.

    • #21
  22. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    I am currently looking for a job.  Interviews lined up.  

    • #22
  23. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    She (View Comment):

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    The thought that first rattled around my noggin was that they had gotten into your chicken coop. I am glad that your Casa del pollo withstood their assault.

    The chicken coop is, I’m pretty sure, impervious to assault. That’s where I’m headed in the event of nuclear attack, because I think it’s probably the most resilient structure on the property.

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    One especially wet Spring caused the Mississippi to rise to much higher than normal levels, necessitating the opening of the spillway to divert water from the river’s levee system. One result was alligators in the river and on the banks. Another result of the flooding up north was we had an influx of coyotes. They found the battures teeming with small game as well as a bounty of house pets (dogs and cats) nearby. Many people lost Fluffy or Mittens to them.

    Is it indeed true that folks in your neck of the woods fulminate about the “Yankee waters” that come down from up north and flood your areas? I’ve heard that. Ugh to the alligators (I’d never really seen one up close until I spent a delightful weekend with @ susanq1uinn and Mr. Susan last year. Got the shock of my life when this “log” I wasn’t really paying any attention to sprang to life and slithered into the water, only a few feet away from me.)

    And yes, I worry about Fluffy and Mittens too. Fortunately, all my pets are either so decrepit or so dependent that–even if they spend a portion of their time outside–they rarely stray far from the house.

    It’s interesting to me that, while the two elderly Great Pyrenees will come to attention and start to growl if there’s a racoon or turkey within what seems like 100 yards of the house, neither of them pays the slightest attention to the coyote racket.

     

    I had not heard the Yankee waters comment , but I will look into it.  It sounds like something the damn Yankees would do. 

    Interesting about how the Great Pyrenees ignore the coyotes.  

    • #23
  24. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):

    My condolences on the loss of your black ram, or should I say, your ram of color. To hear the event taking place and having a good idea of what was going on while not being able to do anything about it must have been very disconcerting.

    The thought that first rattled around my noggin was that they had gotten into your chicken coop. I am glad that your Casa del pollo withstood their assault.

    One especially wet Spring caused the Mississippi to rise to much higher than normal levels, necessitating the opening of the spillway to divert water from the river’s levee system. One result was alligators in the river and on the banks. Another result of the flooding up north was we had an influx of coyotes. They found the battures teeming with small game as well as a bounty of house pets (dogs and cats) nearby. Many people lost Fluffy or Mittens to them.

    They like it fine down here and have stayed. Efforts by the gummint to reduce their population have been largely unsuccessful as the coyotes are smarter than the local constabulary.

    BIROC

    BIROC?

    • #24
  25. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    She (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    That reminds me. How is Oleg? Probably not as cute as he used to be.

    Oh, he is still super cute! I think he’ll always be small, and he’s not nearly as big as Tatiana, who’s actually a couple of days younger than he is. I’ll see if I can snap a photo in the next day or two. Thanks for asking.

    Sorry it’s a bit blurry.  He’s very friendly and (for a sheep) quite curious, and I have to act fast.  A split second after I took the photo, he’d got his nose all over the phone.

    • #25
  26. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    “Vultures, vultures everywhere.  Everywhere.” (Extra credit for identifying the source of the quotation.)

    One does establish some oddly appreciative relationships with unlikely creature out in the country.  I’ve come to be especially grateful for God’s cleanup crews as they apparate out of nowhere in the form of vultures and (ugh) maggots (the second took a little work, but I’ve seen a hoof or two that–but for their strenuous efforts–might have been a goner.)  One does not always notice when, say, a sheep gets a crabapple thorn embedded deep in the soft flesh between its hoof pads, and things can go south very quickly. In the case of my poor old boy, the vultures will clean him up and ready him for his next life, and I won’t even have to get out the backhoe and dig a hole.  Just as well, because he’s right on top of my septic field…

    • #26
  27. Terry Mott Member
    Terry Mott
    @TerryMott

    An old friend in East Texas has a pretty good coyote control system worked out.

    He shoots feral hogs from a baited blind, then chains the hog carcass to a post out behind the house and pop-shoots the coyotes when they come to eat it.

    A twofer.

    • #27
  28. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    She (View Comment):
    “Vultures, vultures everywhere.  Everywhere.” (Extra credit for identifying the source of the quotation.)

    Casablanca

    And there is this:

    • #28
  29. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    She (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    That reminds me. How is Oleg? Probably not as cute as he used to be.

    Oh, he is still super cute! I think he’ll always be small, and he’s not nearly as big as Tatiana, who’s actually a couple of days younger than he is. I’ll see if I can snap a photo in the next day or two. Thanks for asking.

    Sorry it’s a bit blurry. He’s very friendly and (for a sheep) quite curious, and I have to act fast. A split second after I took the photo, he’d got his nose all over the phone.

    Aww. He is kinda cute. Not being an animal person I do prefer liking him from far away.

    • #29
  30. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    That reminds me. How is Oleg? Probably not as cute as he used to be.

    Oh, he is still super cute! I think he’ll always be small, and he’s not nearly as big as Tatiana, who’s actually a couple of days younger than he is. I’ll see if I can snap a photo in the next day or two. Thanks for asking.

    Sorry it’s a bit blurry. He’s very friendly and (for a sheep) quite curious, and I have to act fast. A split second after I took the photo, he’d got his nose all over the phone.

    Aww. He is kinda cute. Not being an animal person I do prefer liking him from far away.

    Other than his small size, he has pretty good conformation.  Legs all straight and go the right way; no kemp or hair (scratchy fibers) in his fleece, although you can’t tell that for sure until he’s been shorn and his grown-up coat comes in; nice straight back, and his horns are strong, widely-spaced and well away from his face.  Not a bad-looking little guy, especially considering his very rough start in life.

    • #30