If theyre hungry, they are going to come after you

Harry Sullivan
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If theyre hungry, they are going to come after you

HILDEN - Any animal that can drag off a 72-kilogram (160 lbs.) sheep is a danger to people and should be dealt with, a local farmer believes.
"If they're hungry, they are going to come after you," said Hilden sheep farmer Maggie Perry, of what she perceives as a growing threat by coyotes. "They're opportunists and if they get the opportunity it doesn't matter if it's a child, a dog, a cat (or), a grownup, they're going to go for you."
Perry's opinions are based on a long history of losing sheep to local coyotes. A kill on Saturday morning of a 70-kilogram ewe brought to at least 46 the number of her sheep lost to coyotes this year.
And while she knows the difficulty involved with trying to eradicate a complete coyote population, she also believes too many people are not taking the issue seriously enough or that they do not believe of the true dangers the animals present.
The issue was brought to
the fore last week when an
Ontario teen hiking alone in Cape Breton was attacked and killed by coyotes.
Perry said she will no longer permit her young grandchildren to play outside in the fields because of the constant presence of coyotes in the area and she believes others would be wise to use the same caution.
"There's enough here killing now that all the ones in the area should be gone," she said, adding she witnessed a "huge one" behind her barn Monday morning.
"The ones here are pretty brazen and they're getting bigger," she said. "If anybody's going for a walk they should carry something with them, whether it's a can of mace, a stick or something to deter them."

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Geographic location: Ontario, Cape Breton

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Recent comments

  • Just Askin
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    I wonder if the Perry's have a donkey in with their sheep. Many farmers do and believe me donkeys hate anything canine and will attack it and kick the living **** out of it. I've seen a donket attack a coyote before and the coyote couldn't get away fast enough!

  • Colchester Resident
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    A former worker of Dept. of Lands & Forest as it was call back when, warned what would happen in the years to come. Why did Natural resources as they are called now, not continue to follow how the coyote was adapting to todays world? Why did they not try and monitor the coyotes a little closer. The warning was there, this dates back to the 1970's. Mrs Perry is not the only sheep farmer losing sheep. It has been happening for many years. If my memory is not failing I think it was in Pictou County that the first coyote was caught. 30+ years since the first coyote was caught, many breeding seasons. Now there are so many coyotes, as they do not have one in a litter. More coyotes they expand the area they live in. So now the are getting closer to homes both rural and urban. It is a life cycle. They are looking for food. Prehaps it is time to return the bounty on coyotes!!! It would control the coyotes population.

  • Too thin
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    People first.

  • Jon
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Enough of this fear mongering already! We, as humans, bear the responsibility of adapting to changing situations. We have the ability to do this, while animals don't. I encounter coyotes regularly and this is all so overplayed it's ridiculous.

    I live in Hilden. I walk into these backwoods all the time. I heard the coyotes last night, much like most other nights. As a human, this person is able to take measures to prevent her animals from being destroyed. Do you think a coyote knows that a fence means Stay out!

    Change your fencing technique. Get protective animals. Do something aside from complaining that you're losing your sheep.

    The way I see it, if you lose one sheep to a coyote because it was accessible, that really stinks. Lose two? That's a bummer! Lose 46? That's sheep... I mean sheer incompetence. We are the cause of modern animal behavior. It's time to take responsibility for our own actions.

    Too many people today are ill equipped to deal with life outside an office or living room. These animals deserve the same respect that we do. We should all know how to share by now.

    Ms. Perry, if you want a solution put out a tender. There are dozens of ways to protect your sheep - whether or not you want to take those steps remains to be seen. Why don't you solicit for some ideas?

  • bud
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    According to experts at Cornell University, a tip on keeping coyotes away from livestock is raising a Great Pyrenees guard dog with livestock, because as it grows, the dog will protect the livestock from such unwanted canine predators as coyotes.
    http://www.cals.cornell.edu/cals/public/comm/news/wild-canines.cfm

  • Sam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Coyotes are wild animals who survive on instinct and have limited ability to reason and thing. Humans, for the most part, are able to think, reason, and react based on logic. Just like any other wild preditor, Coyotes are a threat.

    Humans should remember this and act accordingly. WE have the ability to mange this situation in other ways than shooting these animals. The article does not say what this farmer has done, if anything, to help minimize such attacks.

    These animials should be treated with the same respect as bears. In these parts we don't go around randomly shooting bears that aren't a threat - why should we do this to coyotes?

    Think people .... because these wild animals don't always!

  • Dan
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    We lived in the Central/Upper North River area then the Salmon river area ourselves for the past 25 years or more. We ourselves have lost animals to coyotes and have seen many farmers lose animals. Believe me they are super hard to spot. I had only ever seen a couple years ago, but am seeing them routinely in the suburbs here in Salmon river now. Except for their tracks in winter, and occasional cries at night you would never know they are in such abundant numbers. Their cunning is legendary, their adaptability and ability as survivors is very admirable.
    I see some people making the usual mistakes, such as the woman on the news last night, she is setting piles of meat out for them (I am not making this up) and has had to build an 8-foot high animal fence around her house so her kids and dogs don't get eaten. Duh. Don't feed the wild animals, we are all taught that as children, are we not? While on this line of thought, keep your garbage secure, your animals in the house at night, and carry a stick when you walk. Common sense. It is sad that we have had to adapt ourselves to nature this way, but adapt we have.
    I cannot offer a solution to the Perrys problem, as I am no expert, but it seems to me that if they are having such a bad time farming sheep, then maybe they need to adapt a little differently then they have. NOT meant to be an insult, or superior sounding, but surely to god...there has to be a way they can continue to farm. Others can, and do. Is there not a government service, or pool of thought on this very subject? Is our DNR or ministry of agriculture so poorly funded or staffed that there is no help for the Perrys?? Where can we turn in times of trouble, if not to our elected officials and their bureaucrats who certainly MUST be experts in their fields, who are PAID to help with problems such as these? If not, what exactly is the role of the DNR and dept of agriculture??
    I don't know about a solution here. I am just throwing some random thoughts together in hopes that surely someone who is qualified to answer them may offer some insight.
    Anyone??

  • Gerald
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Sounds to me like it's time for people to hunt and kill off some of these animals. Are we going to wait until more people are killed or injured by these coyotes?? Imagine a child being mauled, bitten or killed by one or more of them. If they are becoming more brazen and show no fear of humans then it's time to-do-something before anyone else is hurt or killed by these coyotes!!

  • Just not right...
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Maybe we should consider a Coyote Hunting Season instead of Deer/Moose Hunting Season . That would make more sense; after all, hunters are only hunting because it is a sport to them, not to feed their starving families - most of them anyway.

  • chief wiggam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    maybe they should start being proactive with a good rifle and scope!

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    how is it that we pick on a breed of dog such as pitbulls who some people consider dangerous, but sit on our hands and do nothing wth the coyotes

  • Too Grey
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Let's not mince words, eradicate and not prograstinate! Simple.

  • Gilliad
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I must admit, I'm struggling with this one, and I don't think it's as simple as who was here first, the animals or the people? .

    My sympathies go out to the parents of the young, talented lady who was, I'm almost sure, stalked before being attacked and killed by the two coyotes in Cape Breton. I cannot imagine the horror she experienced at the time, or what her family is going through now.

    Jon, your smart--s remarks directed to the Perry family are childish and uncalled for. Laying aside the selective choice of Ms. Perry's comments that the reporter most assuredly made, she has as much of a right to raise her sheep where she wishes on her own property without having to worry about their safety, as I have to let my dog roam in a fenced-in area on my property with the assumption that some local cretin isn't going to shoot at, try to poison, or otherwise harm the animal.

    I am assuming the Perry spread is fairly large. That probably means that, cost-wise, it's unrealistic to suggest the possibility of setting up electrical shock fencing. And, not being an agriculturist, I can't offer her any other advice, although sympathy is certainly called for, not curled lip, superior (please note the quotes) comments.

    I guess it's time to ask the question that has been begging to be heard since this whole horrible affair started: unless I missed them, where are the bright lights from the NSAC who are experts in these matters? They have been strangely silent, perhaps because they haven't been asked, or perhaps because they don't know what to do, either.

    In the meantime, Ms. Perry, you might wish to consider hiring an honest, trusted, rifleman - or woman, if you prefer - who could probably set up a business arrangement with some local taxidermist, if anyone would want one of the mangy coyote pelts hanging from their wall.

  • bud
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    It has been proven time and time again that bounties DO NOT work! Coyotes will just start having larger litters.

  • kass
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Just read about the coyote problem and all the comments and must say Gilliad from nova Scotia You said it best any comment after yours is just that a comment .Thank You .

  • John
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Some many people have so much to say without knowing anything.

    The Perry's have killed 13 coyotes near their fields. They have electric fencing and have tried donleys and llamas, yet they are still losing sheep and there are still coyotes around.

    The ill informed person say that we should hunt coyotes - There is a season now and (from memory) about 800 were killed for fur last year. The trappers only got 14 dollars a pelt last year and with gas and other prices, it was hardly worth while. Shot coyotes got less money. Coyotes are other harvestable wildlife and can be hunted year round.

    Most hunters do eat their deer, moose and bear. It is illegal not to utilize fully a game animal. And Google the Hunters for the Hungry program. Hunters helped feed many family with the meat they donated to Feed Nova Scotia last year !

  • JJ
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    just Askin has it right, a Donkey is the answer to her problem. Very protective of livestock and they will take on a coyote(s).

  • John
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Jon - I'm not saying you are the bad guy, but did you read the following from my previous post ?

    The Perry's have killed 13 coyotes near their fields. They have electric fencing and have tried donkeys and llamas, yet they are still losing sheep and there are still coyotes around.

  • Sherry
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I just wanted to add my two cents to some of the outrageous comments made by some here who really have no stake in what this is really about.

    I too am I long time friend of the Perry family and know of their struggle to protect their property, family and livelihood from these natural preditors.

    They have taken every precaution allowed by them under the law from eletric fencing to llamas and dogs,trapping and shooting the ones they can.The fact they cannot not walk their land without becoming a possible meal for these creatures is scary to say the least, that their grandchildren cannot go out and play in a wide open field without fear of being attack is heartbreaking especially when they love to be there and enjoy it..

    To all of you who have nothing to lose from a coyote cannot not relate to The Perry's plight...this is their livelihood they work hard year round and need help in this matter and its ignorant to think that they haven't been trying to get help through the proper authorities .

    Laws and regulations need to be changed when someone wants to step up with the solution I am sure DNR, The Perry's and anyone else who is dealing with this issue would love to hear it.

  • Jon
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    My comments were not intended to be smart. They were not intended to offend. I simply can't understand how you can lose 46 sheep and not have done something about it long ago. Surely the money lost on these sheep could have afforded better security for them.

    I am an avid backwoods explorer/hiker, so I am aware of the dangers of wild animals. I'm also of the opinion that I assume my own risk when I step into the home territory of wild animals.

    Further, I'm also of the opinion that fear perpetuated by media does nothing to make people safer. The media is portraying coyotes as man-eaters - far from the truth. After all this media attention people will harbor deeper fears of coyotes, perhaps prompting them to panic and run.

    When you panic and run from a coyote that coyote is going to come after you, just as its natural wild animal instinct tells it to.

    Believe me, I feel for the Perry's. Today's world is tough enough without losing your livelihood. I simply feel there is a solution to the problem that doesn't involve killing of a coyote population.

    I know, I know... I'm the bad guy, but all the same, I'd just as soon help these folks come up with a viable solution.

  • Jon
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    John - Yes I did see that, and it is rather alarming.

    I'm interested in researching a solution to this problem. If anyone else is interested, see if the DN will get you in touch with me since addresses aren't visible here.

  • Rob
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I am going to prograstinate like Too Grey from the first post.

  • Allan
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I'm in disbelief of Hilden Jon, who is seems to be suppressing the realities of the coyote situation in his home community. I wonder if he would allow young children to walk the remote areas of the Perry farm without adult protection.

    I am a friend of the Perry family and have assisted them over 4 different periods in recent months, under special nuisance permit, in dealing with the loss of livestock.

    The reality is that on at least 3 occasions Mrs. Perry has been confronted by coyotes and, on one of those, fled from one. She jumped over a snare which caught the coyote at the time. She was not armed at the time.

    I have walked the electrically fenced property as much as twice daily and have put down two coyotes. These animals are elusive and although you can't see them easily, they are certainly aware of the presence of humans, thereby normally avoiding detection. Also, one can't stay awake 24 hours a day to monitor and deter wildlife attacks. Yet, they do have a right to protect their livestock and their living.

    This family operation has also taken precautions by having had Llamas there this summer and still suffered excessive losses. This also includes a modern electric fence. Coyotes can dig under the fencing as anyone who owns a dog can attest.

    Support for a bounty seems to be increasing and it should be considered until this excessive and dangerous coyote population is reduced.

    So, in conclusion, perhaps Hilden Jon might want to redirect his daily walks to the areas where the coyotes seem to be breaching the farm fences and killing sheep.