Friday, November 19, 2010

Ancient ties

We haven't had a coyote issue in over four weeks! but before I sound too at ease here I'll tell you we are taking nothing for granted. Our activity has increased out in the pasture and Pascal (llama) seems to be seriously on top of keeping everyone together. Whew! so far so good.

I've shot the 22 twice, that was early on and really I aimed into the creek bank and it was just a scare shot to let them know I was here and I could make a really loud noise!
I hear em, up on the hill by the hay barn singing the crazed song of cornered pray. I used to think it such a beautiful sound. a natural raw beauty like the bright stars in the evening sky. That was before I got into the sheep business.

At the old place I could hear packs of them crossing the prairie at high speed whooping and calling, it sounded like they ran right past my bedroom window. They kept going so I never worried, but here they are bold and I might add lazy. Silent and deadly. Recently I was having a conversation with someone about the humane way to shoot an animal. She was mostly concerned with a bad shot a "clip"leading to a slow and painful death. That may be true for deer but if a coyote is injured and bleeding I have been told the other coyotes put it out of its misery so to speak. Well regardless if that is true or not she reminded me that they were just being coyotes.

I agree somewhat, but this is an age old problem between the Shepherd and coyote that has been going on for thousands of years. Some Shepherd's have such problems it puts them out of business. Now I am not in any way suggesting we try to eradicate the coyote. They have every right to be here as I do, neither one of us have more authority on life, and they might be just acting like coyotes and I might be acting like a Shepherd and that's the way its going to stay. I will not sacrifice my lambs. I will protect them to the best of my ability. I love them. And I know the coyote is trying to survive the best they see fit. but they have an unfair advantage, we work different hours. They have no more natural predators and they can overpopulate an area in several seasons. They can die from worse things than a "clip" terrible cases of mange have been sighted, rabies, malnutrition, starvation, degenerative diseases from inbreeding etc. Overpopulation is the cruel mistress here. Its the saddest thing you've ever seen. There is no dignity in this.

So me and the coyote have an ancient relationship that has not changed in thousands of years. And all the shepherds that have come before me felt the pang of loss and helplessness and anger. And this is how it shall be.

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