Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trickster Must Go

I have an implicit understanding with the coyotes that lurk about my property. They must not cross the perimeter fence surrounding my home during the daylight hours. Their intrusion during the darkness is tolerated. There is nothing I can do about that and really it is welcome as they vacuum up the rodents that damage my sparse garden crops. At night the cats are tucked safely inside my home and the duck into her pen. The dog is asleep in his house and wouldn’t rise to challenge a coyote; they are simply too tough and the dog knows it. During the day, however, the cats and duck are out and about and Trickster is a expected to keep his distance. But he has violated the agreement.

I surprised him around noon a couple of weeks ago. He was sniffing about near what was once a chicken pen. Our encounter was very brief. He spotted me the instant I him and he flung himself over the four foot fence with the greatest of ease and slipped into the tall brush but not before making brief, sneaky eye-contact. Then last week I saw him lope through the yard as if in an effort to flush out anything live. He was searching for targets of opportunity. There are no rabbits within the fenced area that might lure him; he was after a plump cat or duck. These were severe violations of the agreement.

I thought he might be searching for water as this is a desert and we are in a drought. In an attempt to satiate his urgent need for water I have been placing a full bucket in a remote location, emptying it in the morning and refilling it in the evening. Leaving a water source out during the day creates a problem. The coyotes, and bobcats are drawn to it not just to slake their thirst but also to hunt any creature that also needs the water, and of those there are many. The bucket of water becomes a waterhole. By removing it during the day the cats will not run the risk of using it and being ambushed. But that was not sufficient for Trickster. He continued to raid the yard during the day.

I have the right to defend my creatures and if Trickster threatens my pets or livestock I have the right to dispatch him. Trickster made himself a problem and so must go.

So I pulled the slugs from two .308 rifle rounds, emptied out half the powder, stuffed cotton wadding inside the cases to take up the space and hold the remaining powder against the primer. I trimmed off the end of the metal clad slugs so as to cause them to mushroom upon impact and replaced them in their cases and sealed them with a swab of laquer. Two rounds is sufficient. If I hit him with the first round the second would be used to dispatch him. A fully loaded round is simply too powerful. I have neighbors within one quarter of a mile.

Then I got to thinking that I could frighten some animal sense into him with a blank round, so I pulled the slug from a third round and replaced it with cotton wadding; the slug was not replaced. It will be used in the first instance and I will only later employ the deadly rounds if Trickster returns. Trickster, after all, may be female and could have young that are dependent on her. I don’t want to make orphans.

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