Wednesday, May 2, 2012

San Francisco Article: Dogs Keeping Coyotes at Bay

                                                                                  photo by Michael Macor / The Chronicle

In the Midwest, we did not have to deal with coyotes and wolves killing sheep in the pasture.
It was the local farmers' dogs who would go wild and get together in packs and go after the sheep.
I remember my father sitting vigil at night with a shotgun after a pack tore into the herd one night.
It was a given that you had to control your dogs...and the fault of the owner if the dogs destroyed livestock.
Consequences were brisk on caught in the act.

Here in the West, coyotes are everywhere.  I had not heard until reading this article in the Chronicle, what  radical methods were used as late as the late 90's.  They proposed use of protection collars on sheep, "which contained bladders full of lethal Compound 1080, or sodium fluoroacetate."  When the coyotes bit the neck of the lamb or sheep, they would also bite into the bladder, poisoning themselves.

At around the same time, they were also pushing nonlethal methods of protections...namely dogs.

Now, where ever they have adopted dogs as a deterrent in the field, losing lambs to predators has fallen drastically.  I have driven past these pastures going toward the coast and have seen the beautiful Great Pyrenees dogs blending in with large flocks of sheep.  Wonderful sight.

Very good article by Peter Fimrite.  Link is below.
Dogs Winning War Against Coyotes