An exceptional year for coyotes

Jason Malloy
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An exceptional year for coyotes

HILDEN - A Hilden farmer hopes her trouble with coyotes is over.
"We've had problems in the past but this year is an exceptional year," Maggie Perry told the Truro Daily News yesterday morning after a fifth coyote in three weeks was snared on the family's 300-acre farm.
The family raises lambs on the farm where Perry has lived for the past 30 years. About 20 years ago, it lost 27 lambs and Perry estimates coyotes have killed that many or more this summer, reducing their flock by a third.
There have been many sleepless nights during the summer as the howls of wolves and the cries of lambs rang through the rural setting on Irwin Lake Road.
"You feel hopeless sometimes," said Perry, who has found the dead carcasses in the fields. "There's nothing you can do."
Walking through the fields often gives her an eerie feeling. "I can feel sometimes something is watching me."
The predator, lurking for a quick meal, forced the family to make changes.
"Normally (the lambs) would be feeding off their mothers ... but we've had to move them into the barn and grain feed them," Perry said.
Various people suggested different animals as solutions to keep the coyotes out but they were unsuccessful. They were only one aspect of the suggestions the family received.
"Our fences are up to standard ... (but) they dig a hole under the fence," she said. "We've had everything but nothing works."
About a month ago they contacted Harry Mowatt, a retired Department of Natural Resources employee, who showed them the proper way to set the snares. The family checks the snares regularly and kills the animals that are caught.
"Really and truly this seems to be the only way to go," she said. "If the food supply is good they're going to keep coming and coming."
Perry estimates the family has lost about $7,000 due to the coyote attacks. It has been able to recover some expenses through the province's wildlife compensation program.
"It does help," she said. "They've been great."
Bill MacLeod, the acting chief executive officer for the Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission, said it had paid out $5,380 for 69 claims for ewes, lambs and rams until the end of August this year. The majority of the deaths were attributed to coyote attacks.
"It's more than last year at this time," he said of the number of claims.
But he cautioned that might be because the program is only in its second year and farmers may be becoming more aware of its existence. While the commission has received calls from across the province, MacLeod said most of the claims were from central Nova Scotia.
A Department of Natural Resources official said it has received about the same amount of phone calls this year regarding coyote attacks.

Organizations: Truro Daily News, Department of Natural Resources, Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission

Geographic location: Irwin Lake Road, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Sarah
    January 18, 2010 - 10:10

    I totally agree with VooDoo. These good people are doing their level best to protect their livelihood and stay within the law. Surely there is some way they and others like them can be helped...under these circumstances.
    Would somebody somewhere within the governing body on this issue please step up to the plate and deal with this issue?!

  • VooDoo
    January 18, 2010 - 10:09

    Before the animal rights crowd weighs in - Yes, it's a shame that they have to snare the coyotes, but the Perrys have a livelihood to protect.

    I know the family, and they wouldn't voluntarily hurt a critter if they didn't have to. But the sheep are their life, and they have a responsibility as farmers to protect their flock.

    Back in the day someone would've just quietly grabbed a gun and piled a few dozen coyote carcasses in the woods. But we know that's not acceptable now, and the Perrys are dealing with it by the book. I hope DNR can do something to help people like this who are trying to do the least harm possible to wildlife.

  • Flogger
    January 18, 2010 - 10:08

    Coyotes are a menace. There should be a bounty on them.

  • hmmmm
    January 18, 2010 - 10:07

    well what can you say if you leave the food in the field for them yes they will eat im not saying it is wrong that the farmer has the right to protect their live stock but there is a thing called a live trap and one more thing maybe the sheep should be put in at night instead of being left out for the coyotes to kill them they are a wild animal

  • Andrew
    January 18, 2010 - 10:06

    I have been hearing gun shots a lot lately, I was beginning to be concerned/annoyed and thought there were people jacking deer. Then two nights ago, I heard two shots, went outside, heard another, and then saw a big male coyote run out of the woods in the area that I heard the shots. The coyote ran down the road about 75ft. away from me, and headed for the woods, tail down and tongue out, looked like he was up to no good. Now I am glad they are shooting all the time. There are coyote droppings less than 100ft. from my house. I lost my cat last Friday and I am suspicious of the coyotes. An elderly lady down the road said she has lost cats to both coyotes and coyote snares. I hope if people are putting snares near peoples homes that they are notifying the people, allowing them an opportunity to prevent their pets from being caught in a trap, otherwise their could be trouble for the trapper, whether they're in the wrong or not.

    At our place we can regularly hear the coyotes yipping and howling, and by the sound of it, there is a lot of them. Friends of mine have told me they spotted a pack of about 50 coyotes in a blueberry field behind Hilden somewhere. I don't care who, but I hope somebody kills these coyotes to slow them down a bit, because as I have just learned at the cost of my favorite and first cat, they are not afraid of coming into peoples yards to get a snack. I say kill em all, they're not native to our area, trap em shoot em, poison them, whatever it takes, knock the population down.