Warning. The images posted may be disturbing.
During the first few days of March, we found the bodies of three coyotes on the leased property along the Washita river. It appeared they were shot the day prior. We figured the owner of that property, a friend of ours who leased the property to us for an extended wildlife release area, may have shot the coyotes since he also kept cattle on the land. But in the days that followed, we found three more bodies scattered on the leased property. Forrest called the owner and verified he had not been the shooter. With that, we checked our game cameras for evidence of a poacher/trespasser. Sure enough, the game cameras had recorded photos of the killer. He had been on our property as well as the leased property, though we had not seen any sign of killing on our land. Of course we did not venture out into our property to do a thorough investigation. The mosquito population was massive, and snakes were already out and about. All of the death we had seen was along fences on the leased property, and the photos showed the hunter on open and cleared paths. Whoever the hunter was, he seemed to be sticking to paths of least resistance.
Both day and nighttime game camera photos showed the trespasser to be on foot, and by the gear and rifle he carried, was perhaps calling the coyotes to him – luring them maybe with a rabbit-in-distress call. We also wondered if he was from a nearby RV park, and part of a group of wind farm workers, who were erecting structures south of town. We notified our game warden and texted him the photographs we had. Nearly every day we made treks along the property fences and the leased property, looking for more coyote bodies, and any tracks or footprints to discover how and where this man was getting on the property. In early April, I found two more rotting carcasses along one of our fences on the west end.
While I have never been a fan of the coyotes, mostly because of the danger they pose to the fawns we rehabilitate, I was unhappy to see that we had a trespasser who was killing wildlife. We had not noticed any other species, like wild hogs, being taken out, but there was a possibility that he was shooting other wildlife. Unfortunately, in spring the woodlands become a jungle and tangle, making a lot of investigating impossible. Since early April, we have not seen any signs of the trespasser on game cameras, nor the smell or sight of rotting carcasses. On one hand, I am thankful for the reduction of the coyote population in the area. Most of the victims were males, but a few were females. That means a little less procreation going on for the coming year. And, with the recent knowledge that Scout and Ruthie are expecting babies, I feel a little more relaxed about their fawns and the local wild herd’s fawns surviving the birthing season. On the other hand, however, trespassing/poaching is a criminal act of disrespect, which we will not tolerate.
© 2021 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…