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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coyotes and gophers

Canis latrans, or as we know it, the wiley coyote. They have been in the news more lately. In response to complaints by livestock producers our provincial government put a bounty on them of $20 a head for this winter. Of course it is controversial. The city dwellers who see the cute little wild dogs out in the country think its a bad idea to put a bounty on them. Livestock producers who have had ongoing problems with coyote predations on their calves and lambs are more in favour obviously.
If I was losing my animals and my income to coyotes I would be hoping for a solution too.
I took the picture of this little pup a few summers back while I was out hunting gophers. It would have been easy to shoot but I'm hoping the coyote will eventually help me out a little by catching some of the gophers that are causing me problems. I could probably live with their excavations and relentless appetite for the grass in my cattle pasture but these gophers do not repsect a barbed wire fence. "My gophers" have been travelling into the neighbours crops and chewing the growing plants down to ground level which is not acceptable. So poison and 22 shells are used to keep the gopher population down to tolerable levels.
Hopefully the surviving coyotes will help with the gopher control too, and not come into my yard to pick up an easy chicken dinner.


  1. It's never any easy choice as to when to let nature take its course or to intervene. However, since farmers have enough problems already, most of the time, the bottom line is going to HAVE to be the bottom line. Even that is sometimes difficult to figure.

  2. Most folks are in the habit of shooting coyotes on sight. After years of dealing with mice and gophers i think this is not such a good idea. Of course we have not raised sheep for 20 years. That makes a difference.

  3. Coyotes were unknown in north central Iowa in the fifties and sixties, but since then they have established themselves and prospered here. When we were farrowing in the pasture the coyotes some years would wreak havoc on new litters. We finally included an old breed, the Tamworth, in our rotation. Tamworths have a deep hatred of canines and the whole herd would go berserk and attack coyotes, shred it if they caught one. Coyotes went back to mice, gophers and rabbits. I kind of like to hear them howl at night.

  4. I agree, as long as they are not attacking my chickens I like to have a few coyotes around. They can be heard right in the house when they really get to howling some nights.