Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Predator Control Helps Wildlife As Well As Livestock


Making the rounds of our place out west of Lampasas I saw vultures fly up off the ground out in the pasture.  Being a sheep rancher I feared a lamb kill by coyotes and went to investigate. Instead of a lamb I found a small deer fawn, the third fawn killed by coyotes that I have found this season.  I had already found two adult deer this year that were killed by coyotes.  I fight coyotes all year as they can be really devastating to our lambs and thus our profits on the place.  We have livestock guardian dogs along with llamas that we keep with our sheep to help keep losses to a minimum.  If the deer loss to coyotes on only 200 acres with dogs and llamas was five verified kills and maybe some I did not find, then how many deer do unprotected ranches lose to coyotes each year?  I believe the number is a lot higher than most of us would imagine.  We have County Trappers that fight this battle all year against predators, but they are responsible for more country than they can cover and could use some help; and so could the deer population.  Hunters can be an important part of this wildlife management plan by taking out the coyotes and/or bobcats they come across while out in the field.  I know many hunters hate to take a shot at a predator and maybe scare off some deer, but think of how many of your future deer, turkeys and quail you may save by eliminating that one predator.  Coyotes and bobcats can make nice taxidermy mounts, rugs or just a tanned fur for your wall.  Predator populations are at an all time high due to low fur prices and need to be managed just as the rest of our wildlife.  Next time you have the chance to do your part in that management, pull the trigger.  Enjoy the outdoors, Wild Ed

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