Saturday, July 31, 2010
Luck was with us
As I walked down the road to the barn, I saw some of the sheep come running and others standing alertly looking toward the pasture. I also saw Farm Boss at another gate and a few sheep coming running in past him. I yelled where is your gun?
Down by the barns, he yelled back.
Then I looked again at the way they were behaving and quickened my own pace, telling him to get it. I got to the barns ahead of him and could see through the doorway into the field below. What I saw hurried me even more. A coyote was over a downed lamb. At that point I had a choice. Slow down for the gun with a possible chance of killing the coyote but giving it more time to tear at the lamb or I could scream as loud as possible and hope that the coyote would run. I chose the second and let out a primal scream as I kept running. Sarah Palin only thinks she knows about mama grizzlies!
The coyote looked at me for only a second before it turned tail and ran. By then Farm Boss was also there with the gun but the coyote had disappeared over the bank toward the creek. He and I ran out to the downed lamb. It had its head back in the dead position. Eyes open. Breathing. A scrape mark below its right eye and small bloody puncture in the throat.
Farm Boss checked it over for more injuries; but we saw unless it died of shock, it should make it. He put his fingers over the small hole. It had not nicked an artery or vein. I stayed with it while he went out to the pasture to see if the coyote was still anywhere near. I didn't think it would be. Within a few minutes the lamb was maaing and then getting shakily to its feet.
The funny part is the sheep have no idea of it being dangerous. The rest ran out into the pasture to get fresh grass. We had to herd them back in where they clearly didn't want to go; but the idea that a predator was so close, that it nearly killed one of them, it didn't have them afraid at all beyond the immediate moment it had been there.
Although Farm Boss walked around the fence perimeters, he saw no sign of the coyote. It was long gone or hiding where we couldn't see it. It didn't much like that scream, I am guessing. Neither did I. I didn't like that it had come so close to the house, right down below the barns. Nor did I like that it had attempted its kill when Farm Boss had been so close, had been right there only 10 minutes earlier. It is a daring coyote and will be back without a doubt.
But luck was with us this time.
Photos are of the sheep after the attack but not of the wounded lamb. It's doing fine though so far.