This has been a long week. Tues am I had my dogs out as usual I sent my Aussie out 1st to monitor the area and then my 5 corgis go out shortly after this. It was still dark and I went to check on them and as I opened the door I could hear coyotes very close (maybe right outside our 5 acres). I yelled for my husband to turn on the lights as I flew out the door to collect the dogs! All were safe but this was way to close so I spent the balance of the day putting a 30'X30' fence up connected to our back door.Whew that was hard work but at least in the dark my short ones will be safe.I might have to call someone who hunts them, I talked to him this summer and he had gotten 60!!! We usually hear them at a distance!

Wednesday night I was talking to my girlfriend who told me someone had been taping deer movements at night and that they caught (a pic) of a cougar hauling a deer away! Oh great! This would be within 6-7 miles from our house. The DNR denies there's any around here but this happened a few years ago too.My fence would deter a coyote but a cougar could just jump in and out!!! So I put on all the lights when my dogs go out and stay very close....This could be a long fall/winter! Especially after my husband told me they're illegal to shoot! I don't think I could afford the fine and I'd probably miss!

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Comment by Beth on October 23, 2009 at 6:22pm
Jane, one thing I did read in a National Wildlife article once was that to a coyote, developed areas are actually prime habitat and they will move in even if there is no developmental pressure in "the wild." Large city parks provide more than enough cover for rearing young, and there are plenty of critters to hunt in our suburban/ urban areas. There was a photo series of a group raising a litter in a drainage culvert in a park in Boston, I think. They said a lot of times the wildlife biologists keep quiet about it because it tends to alarm people. My father was running a large fundraising picnic for a few years and when they would go over late at night or early in the morning to the little league field where the thing was held, he said there were always coyotes there, picking through the food trash.

Bev, I do agree that it's part of the tradeoff of living in a great area! I wouldn't trade my location for anything. I love being 5 minutes from downtown and still being able to trip out my front door and go for a walk in the woods. But we do have critters. I like them, but I respect them too. One winter day I was standing at our breakfast nook windows, watching the cheerful little birdies at our feeders, when a Cooper's hawk slammed down and grabbed one, feet first. He was quite a big fella (or gal) too. I didn't know whether to be horrified or amazed by the beauty. My poor little finches were none too happy.

Black bears are the biggest risk here. They don't always come into the city, but when they do they can be a nuisance. Last summer someone coming out of a bar in the downtown ran into a bear rummaging through the dumpster. LOL They tranquilized it, took it 30 miles away.... and a few months later they got a call that he was back, up a tree by the veterans' center. The biologists said this was not a case of a bear being forced out of habitat. This was a young male who decided living was pretty good in the downtown and surrounding area and kept coming back. After the third time, they said if he comes back again they may need to take more, um, drastic measures.
Comment by Jane Christensen on October 23, 2009 at 10:19am
Yes Potus...coyotes are healthy and thriving in this area. Last year the person who I mentioned hunts them told us we had a litter of coyote pups by our ditch...so that is 1/2-1 mile from here but I have only heard them this close the other day but I do know when the lady who lived in our house b/4 us had coyotes come up and attack and kill several cats...they literally tore of wood siding on her cat house and took some wooden steps off in an attempt to get some kittens. We called the DNR and they verified the paw prints but did say it was probably a very hungry mom with pups! I am wondering if because of all this rain...almost everyday for 3 weeks if all their natural litter critters are in hiding and so they are coming in closer for others!!!!
Comment by Bev Levy on October 23, 2009 at 10:16am
We have coyotes in the woods behind us too. Also lots of raccoons, opossums,fox, and owls. When it is dark I not only leave the lights on but stand by the door and watch. Now that we have added the doberman, I admit I have not been as vigilant (an advantage to having a 70 lb dog). Most of the predators are pretty shy but in the winter I have seen the coyotes by our house after the carcass of a deer that was hit by a car. I am not sure a fence would stop them if they were really hungry so it pays to be really careful. This is part of the price we pay for living in such a beautiful area!
Comment by Jane Christensen on October 23, 2009 at 10:11am
Beth, yes it is scary and the more these animals are driven out of their habitats the more we see them in our areas. The cougar may be just passing through along the river...I hope! We have eagles,hawks and large owls here. One winter I watched an owl who was in the road carry a large jack rabbit away! Last winter in a very frigid spell I saw a large owl sitting in one of our trees late at night...if not a dog one of my cats would be the perfect size to haul off! I also put new energy efficient bulbs in my motion detector light across from my pen...so hopefully this will go on if something passes by along with my light on the house! We haven't had rabies around here in awhile but we do have lots of raccoons that carry rabies! AND soon we have deer hunting...that's really scary as I grew up learning to respect and use guns correctly(my family was big on hunting) but now days out here I feel I'm the one hunted with some of these characters! I never feed my animals outside so there is no scent of food around! I feel much safer with my fence even though its not 6' tall...my daughter keeps reminding me of the time a few years ago a cougar climbed a tall fence and hauled out a goat...
Comment by Potus on October 23, 2009 at 6:28am
Wow and everyone says Australia is a dangerous place to live- we don't have coyotes or cougars (although there are rumours of cougars/panthers in the mountain areas- I guess you find those rumours everywhere)
Comment by Judi, Dawn, Soffie & Griffyn on October 22, 2009 at 11:34pm
Wow!! I freak out when I see the occasional corn snake who's found it's way onto my porch. I can't even imagine a coyote or a cougar!!
Comment by Aj on October 22, 2009 at 10:42pm
That is scary :(
Comment by Beth on October 22, 2009 at 10:33pm
That is very scary, Jane! I live in an urban area but near the edge of the woods and I'm pretty sure I saw a coyote. I definitely saw a fox. We found a squirrel tail (no squirrel, no sign of scuffle, just a tail) right next to our deck. I asked my father what would grab a squirrel and leave the tail and the first thing he said was "coyote?" Of course it's possible the squirrel was grabbed elsewhere and something else carried the tail in.

We have had a bear in our downtown. Rumors of cougars but not sure if there are any.

All I can offer, for what it's worth, is that for many decades in most of this country, most large predators were nearly wiped out. As they return, we need to maybe rethink our management practices regarding our critters. I know herd-guarding dogs are coming back in vogue, for example. We lack a fenced yard, but even if we had one to be honest I would not let mine out between dusk and dawn, and we are not on acreage.

Did you hear the news story a few years back about the guy whose Dachshund got carried off by a bald eagle?

We also are in an area with regular rabies outbreaks, so even a much smaller critter could do a lot of damage.

It is scary, yes, but for many of us, lights and outdoor runs will become the reality if we want to let our four-legged friends loose after dark. Or we can all add a Great Pyrenees to our packs!
Comment by Geri & Sidney on October 22, 2009 at 10:19pm
Now, that's scary! Wow...

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