Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Coyote Saga Continues

Despite our best efforts to encourage the coyotes to move their den off our property, they are still hanging around and acting like they own the place.  Getting the mail has been a battle, because the boy coyote stands his ground and won't leave.  His grunts have progressed to outright barks, yips and howls.  He pitched a fit when I kept chasing him further and further off our property.  I think he was calling for back up.

Then my husband took the dogs out at 3:00 AM to do their business, and the coyote was running back and forth grunting too close for comfort.  My husband tried chasing it off, but it would only go as far as the street.  It kept turning to face him and grunt.  He looked into seeing what animal control could do to help, but apparently they won't relocate a coyote unless it actually bites someone or does property damage.  So, he researched ways to "haze" coyotes and get them off your property for good, as well as how to prevent more from coming around.

Normally, I am of the mindset that we have to share our space with the wildlife.  We should be able to coexist.  However, I do think that our dogs are at risk of being eaten even though we always keep them next to us on short leashes.  If that coyote is not afraid of us, what's to stop him for grabbing one of our dogs right out from under our noses?  My friend was horseback riding once with her large dog trotting beside her, and a pack of coyotes lured the dog away from her, probably with the intention of attacking and eating it.  There's a reason why Native Americans call coyotes tricksters and ghost dogs.  They are smart and deceitful.

Part of the prevention is removing food and water sources for the coyotes.  Now, I can't get all the rabbits, snakes and squirrels off my property, but I can remove the water bowls I set out for the rabbits in order to prevent them from chewing our drip system.  However, I doubted that would make much of a difference since the coyotes drink out of the horses' water troughs.  Obviously, that water for the horses has to stay.

The name of the game now is to use a different deterrent each day to chase off the coyotes.  Today is banging pots and pans day.  I went out to the two locations where the coyotes usually nest, banged the pots and pans, but they were not there.  Just a few minutes later I walked out front to put an outgoing bill payment in the mailbox, and a coyote jumped out of the bush in front of me.  I yelled at it and it looked off in the opposite direction.  It had heard noises, but hadn't seen me yet.  I realized that this was the nice, female coyote who is quiet and doesn't cause any problems.  I almost let her be, but then remembered that the worst thing I can do is ignore them.  In order to get the aggressive male off our property, I'd have to chase off his girlfriend too.  All it took was throwing my hands in the air, which was a good thing, because I didn't bring my pots and pans on that trip.

After putting the outgoing mail in the box, I went back indoors to look outside and see another coyote walking around in the barn.  The horses were tolerating and ignoring it.  While I appreciated the coyote desensitizing my horses to dog activity around their legs, I still had to chase it off.  I noticed that it was eating the fresh horse manure.  That's another food source that's going to be difficult to remove faster than the coyotes can eat it.  I ran out on the porch with my rock scoop and chucked a rock at it.  The coyote turned and looked at me, and then the rock hit the ground in front of it and sent the coyote flying down into the arroyo.  Then I instructed the horses to chase and kick any coyote that comes near them in the future.

Yes, I know horses don't speak English, but I know for a fact that if they witness me chasing off the coyotes regularly, they will start doing it too.  They trust my judgement, and if I don't want someone on our property, those horses will help me get them off.

I started thinking about the potential for a coyote who has been habituated to the horses to contract rabies and then bite my horses.  My horses have had their rabies vaccinations, but it's still better to just keep the coyotes out of the barn.  I'm also sick of them stealing the horses' toys and dragging them out into the desert, as well as digging up neighbors' buried pets and dragging their bones onto my property.

I finished cleaning up manure and dumped it in the big compose pile at that back of the property.  I was baffled by what I saw.  Last night I saw a horse's hoof prints going right through the big manure pile.  I wondered if someone's horse got loose or if someone rode their horse through my property.  There has been a full moon, and a lot of locals like to right at night under the full moon.  I immediately checked my tack room to make sure nothing was stolen.  However, this morning all the hoof prints were gone and the manure had been chewed down to little tiny morsels.  Something has been dining there all night.

As I was walking back to the house, some man in a little car pulled up next to my mailbox and opened it up.  I was like, "WTF???"

I charged up the driveway to try to stop him from stealing my bill payment out of the mailbox.  Some people take checks and have ways of erasing everything but your signature and then can address the checks to themselves.  I ran as fast as I could with my bum leg, and the guy drove off before I could get halfway there.  I kept running to try to get a license plate number, but he was gone, along with my bill payment.

However, the good news is that he put in incoming mail into my box.  This was a substitute mail carrier for USPS who came to my mailbox at an abnormal time of day in his personal vehicle.  I think it should be illegal for any delivery service to deliver mail and packages in an unmarked car.  But, I also know that the USPS has funding challenges, so I won't complain, because otherwise I'll be paying for it with another increase in postal prices or taxes.  It just would be nice to be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Little shit.

Still aping me from across the road.


ellie k said...

If the coyote start to gather in a pack can they take down one of your horses? We have so many gators here now they are taking small dogs, cats and my son in laws baby calves almost as soon as the cow drops them.
People from out of state want to see a gator and tend to feed them and then they get dangerous. The young boy that was snatched by one last was terrible. I am sure his parents had no idea one can grab and go under water so fast with its prey. Coyote are moving more and more into our area. I would fine a way to get rid of the pair you have, that will just invite more when the word free food gets out.

Judi Daly said...

Your coyotes look quite scrawny compared to the ones we have in Ohio. At least you have that in your favor. A few months ago, one got aggressive around me when I was walking my dog, and that un-nerved me quite a bit. I was glad I had my dog on a leash. She wanted to chase it, but I think she would have been on the losing end. I couldn't imagine what it would be like having them nesting close to the house. I hope you find a way to convince them to move out.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I just wanted to make it clear that I'm not feeding and have never fed the coyotes. The issue is that I have horses, and I feed and water my horses, which provides food and water for bunnies and rodents and birds, and the bunnies and rodents and birds then become food for the coyotes. But right now what seems to be attracting the coyotes the most is the shade of our bushes and the coolness of the wet ground underneath them where the drip system keeps the bushes and hedges watered. There have been times when I flushed the coyotes out of the hedge, and several bunnies and quail ran out at the same time, so the coyotes weren't even hungry enough or energetic enough eat the bunnies and quail. They were sharing the shade with them.

Ellie - I doubt a pack of coyotes would try to take down a horse unless they were super hungry, rabid and the horse was sick or injured. Wolves might do something like that. Interesting about the alligators.

Judy - Yeah, the coyotes we had in California were larger and longer and grayer in color than the ones I've seen here.

Mrs Shoes said...

He looks lean, but who can eat in that kind of heat anyway. Would he even weigh 50lbs, I wonder? Coyotes around here are significantly larger &, while we can hear that there are LOTS of them around, we rarely see them on our place; our theory is that Saint the Good Shepherd keeps them away but howling her territory every night. It is more like that, because food is plentiful here, our place holds little temptation (even with hens & rabbits here).

TeresaA said...

could you run an electric wire around where they den? It sounds like they are are getting too comfortable.

Tina said...

Have your husband pee where they are laying, if that is possible. Get a pellet gun or paint gun. Start popping them with that. I've almost got attacked by a pack of coyotes once. People say they won't do that, what ever. Until they had it happen to them, they don't know squat. Coyotes are like rats, pests and they breed like rabbits. Very adaptable. Your's are a lot smaller than the ones here in Alabama. I bet that is due to the heat though and food.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I just went out to the barn at 10 PM with my flashlight and startled to stumble upon one of those baby coyotes sniffing around on the ground just a few feet away. I expressed my surprise verbally and shined the flashlight on the coyote, and it just continued sniffing the ground as if completely oblivious to its surroundings. I walked up to it and it looked up at me, but did not run away. It just slowly wandered off, so apparently coyotes have to learn to fear humans. They aren't born with the fear.

Jen said...

What about balloons? I remember seeing that somewhere a long, long time ago as a deterrent for dogs and cats jumping on someone's good furniture. I wonder if you blew some up and tied them to small sticks and laid them all around the porch? They'd probably only have to break one to get a very loud in-your-face message from you ;o)

As to the fly issue, I feed all of mine a Rabon supplement which keeps the fly population down very, very well (it prevents flies from laying eggs in the manure). I buy it in block form at Tractor Supply. It's supposed to be fed free choice (but they go through it too fast and I can't afford to do it that way) so I scrape it off and feed an ice cream scoop full of the "crumbles" daily mixed in with their feed. Works great.

Garli-eze is a feed through garlic supplement that seems to keep the flies off of Taya (I feed it to her for biting midges though; and it doesn't seem to work as well for them :o/ I can't swing it for everybody, or I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Belly Balm is another-other thought. It's all natural and is a thick greenish paste. You can put it in around in front of his sheath, and the scent might do it. I put it in the horses ears at the top to keep the bugs away. It smells marvelous, but apparently not if you're a bug.

Geez I talk too much - sorry!

Tina said...

The puppies are cute!! I use to try and catch them when I was a kid. I had a dog that was part coyote. One of the best dogs I ever had. There is one positive thing about them, I bet you don't have a lot of mice or rats.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Tina - I probably could have reached down and petted the pup, but was afraid it might whip around and bite me. My father-in-law mentioned the urine idea and we've been joking around about what the neighbors would think seeing my husband peeing in the bushes. He'd probably have to pee in a jar and pour it out to be less conspicuous. That's probably our next effort, but the pots and pans have been doing a pretty good job so far. I just have to remember to take them with me each time I go outside, day or night.

Jen - Thanks for the information on the ingestable fly control. I've never considered it, because I figured it was just one more gimmick that doesn't work. Interestingly, I was just digging around looking for my smoothie maker when I found a bunch of balloons. Maybe that's a sign that balloons will work to keep the coyotes out of their favorite spots.

Stephanie Ford said...

I know dogs don't like the smell of citronella, could you spray that around the higher traffic and sleeping areas? I don't know how feasible that would be, but I know how dangerous coyotes can be. Good luck with it.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Thanks, Stephanie. Citronella is a good idea.