The day sure got off to a crummy start. Bright and early this morning, actually before daylight, I was jarred awake by a ruckus the chickens were making. My first thought was COYOTE. I lost a rooster to a coyote a week or so ago. No doubt about who the culprit was. A neighbor saw it run across the field with the bird in its mouth. Pretty conclusive evidence. By the time I got out there this morning, the damage had been done. I had 2 setting hens brooding eggs, and something had pulled a raid. I had already lost 1 nest this spring, but this was different. On that first nest, something would steal 1 egg at a time, a few days apart. This time both nests had been cleaned out. A couple of broken eggs left in the nest, but the rest were gone. It looks like if I want to raise some replacement chicks I’m going to have to buy them and raise them myself.
Fast forward a little while, daylight now, and I looked out the window to see a deer in the yard eating the leaves off a young peach tree. Having run her off, I scattered some grain for the chickens. A little earlier than the usual feeding time, but 2 hens were missing. I didn’t see any obvious bunches of feathers scattered around as if a kill had been made, so I still had hopes that the missing birds would show up. Nothing more I could do for now, so I loaded Bear in the truck and went up on the mountain to play for awhile.
I let Bear run up the road for a little exercise, then parked the truck and walked to one of my calling spots. I made my usual setup; me on a folding stool, video camera on a tripod, and Bear tied to a tree next to me. There were a few trees behind me to break up my outline, and I was looking up an old abandoned logging road and a clear cut. I selected a mouth blown call from the few in my pack.
I had been calling for just a few minutes when Bear jumped up at full attention. He was looking behind me. I swiveled around in time to see a bear there in the timber. Bear let out a roar, and that was the end of that. There was the sound of breaking limbs, and the bear was gone. Just a typical example of why I like to have the big guy watching my back! There are larger critters than coyotes and foxes in these mountains that sometimes come to a screaming predator call. At any rate, it made my day. I gathered up my gear and left the trail cam there, strapped to a root of an old fallen tree. I’ll go back for it in a week or so and see if it caught any action.
We went on to another spot and tried calling again, but without results. There were signs of quite a bit of deer activity there, and this should be a good place to set up the trail cam at another time. It was getting pretty hot by this time, so I found a shady spot to eat lunch then poked along home.
Feeding time this evening, and no further doubt about it. I’m missing 2 hens. I talked with a couple of neighbors who have seen the coyote, or coyotes. One said he was watering his garden a few days ago, and a coyote walked past within 10 or 15 feet of him. Bold as you please! Another has a couple of little Dachshund dogs, and he has seen a coyote running back and forth along the fence where the dogs are. They told me of another neighbor who saw a coyote trying to get into his goat pen. Of course no one had a gun handy at the time. Since I lost 2 chickens at the same time this morning, I’d say there is more than 1 coyote involved. Needless to say, everyone has an itchy trigger finger right now!