Good news: shooting the coyote is now a back-up plan.
We found Animal Damage Control Agent Heath, a local from the area, to help us with our problems. We were able to pick his brain on a few things about the coyote, who we feel is most likely a bitch with a litter of pups, and have a solid plan for trying to keep her at bay until they move on to their winter den.
Agent Heath suggested using “human smells:” perfumes, soaps, cleaning chemicals like ammonia and bleach…things that the coyote would normally associate with people. We’re going to try picking up from dryer sheets – something we haven’t bought in nearly 6 years now – and see how that works. We’ll be able to tie them throughout the perimeter of the property, making a stinky boundary line. Based on his suggestions, we’re also going to try a movable scare-crow dosed in some sort of deodorant spray or some such.
As an absolute last ditch scenario, if the coyote starts coming out when it shouldn’t and proves dangerous, Agent Heath will come in and hunt it. He doesn’t believe in using foot traps in the area that we’re in for the same reasons we don’t want to use them: too many domestics, other wildlife, and children in the area. He also said that a live trap, while it can work in some cases, will probably not prove to be efficient.
This makes us feel so much more at ease. We have someone to work with who believes in putting animals first and doing everything necessary before removing them from the area. As much of a pain as it has been losing chickens, and it really hurt losing Edith, we know that we need to find some balance with the predators that are out there. This is part of finding that balance.