I thought I’d update you on our coyote problem. A hint: it’s been solved! To explain that, I’d like to introduce you to our friend Al. No, not my Dad, Al; although he is definitely a friend of the farm, but Al T. – sharp shooter extraordinaire. (WARNING: This post contains content that may be considered objectionable by some. If you are sensitive to talk about guns or hunting, or if you don’t want a kid to read about guns or the issues of predation and its control, just stop reading right now.)
I first met Al when he came into the Gun Shop one day reeking of skunk. He says he doesn’t smell it any more, but we sure could, David made him leave! He came in another day, when he was smelling less skunky and sat down for a conversation. Al works for the USDA, with farmers and ranchers (whom he calls “Cooperators”), as well as the powers that be on Fort Huachuca, and helps them by controlling predators who are costing them livestock, menacing troops and horses, causing a problem on the airstrip, or other such issues. He also does skunk patrol in the county, as well as bats, bob cats, cougars, bears, snakes, and a whole lot of coyotes. In the case of the larger predators, if they are killing livestock – he tries to get them to move along, but sometimes they can’t be controlled, so they are taken out. He will also spend hours on the phone with a distraught mother whose daughter just picked up a bat and handed it to her husband; Al talked her down, explained that rabies was a valid and real concern, got her to go to a hospital that would help, and followed up with her later. That mom was one of our customers!
Al is a really nice guy, he’s very personable, loves to tell war stories. He’s retired armed forces sniper, retired police officer/detective, now loving his job with the USDA. He uses his skill with the rifle to assist folks like us. We didn’t want to resort to taking out the coyote if she would have left our chickens alone. After counting up the number of lost chickens (7), some of which were specialty birds, we’re thinking, as adults, those chickens were worth $300 – roughly. So we called in the big guns.
This photo is of Al, after having successfully shot down the coyote. Here’s a brief synopsis of how it went down: He came to our house before sunrise. He set out his coyote call – which is a horrible thing to hear, basically it is the sound of an injured something that plays over and over. Got in his truck with his sniper rifle and waited. He also scolded us when we came out to do chores, because he did not believe us when we said that this coyote DID NOT care if we were out or not. DID NOT. We told him not to worry. Then he told us how it was going to work and why he put his lure where he did. And it happened just like he said. She went down wind of the lure and came across the field to the east of us, started to cross the road. Bang! Although he has a suppressor on his rifle, so it wasn’t like, BANG! but we did hear it in the house. He got her. One shot. She fell in her stride. Ever since, the neighborhood has been left in relative peace.
There are after kill protocols that Al has to follow. He does a necropsy, takes tissue samples, checks stomach contents, among other things. In this case, Al found lots of chicken feathers and two partial dog collars. This coyote had been taking snacks where ever and when ever she could in the neighborhood. I’m glad that Al was able to help us out so quickly and with such great success.
We’ve been having a lot of interesting sightings of wild life around here. Maybe we’ll go over those next time. Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!