Training Coyotes and Dogs, by Walkaboutlou

Hi Janet. 

We have started patrols on quail ranch and it’s been very productive so far. This is a new venture and we’re very hopeful .

A retired biologist purchased an enormous sheep ranch and transformed it to a quail ranch of sorts and Bird Dog Center. 

Sheep out. Quail in. Both native and introduced quail call this home. It wasn’t easy. Raccoon, possums, and an enormous feral cat population as well as rats, hindered quail nesting in some sections.

Then coyote came in.

Attracted to now natural grasslands, several coyote packs established themselves.

And quail number exploded.

The coyote keep racoon, possum and rat numbers very low. The feral cats are gone. And the coyote don’t seem to hardly interact with quail much. 

With quail numbers steady, now Bird Dogs are being trained here, as well as limited hunts will be allowed.

Some coyote challenge dogs. And this isnt what clients want or expect. 

Back to drawing board.

The biologist knew, and with several discussions with locals confirmed, if you hunt territorial local coyote they will immediately be replaced by nomadic coyote and your issues will likely increase. These coyote keep out other coyote. And quail benefit from their hunting. They are wanted…but can’t also harass bird dogs.

It’s tenuous. And needs reinforcing both sides. But coyote and dogs can live and work and share ranges. This pack lives and works among coyote weekly. And both sides are fine.

This is where we come in. 

This pack of mostly older dogs have patrolled vast properties many years. We engage and teach coyote..back up. Don’t come in. Yes..its tough love, but also natural. Wolves, coyote and Range Dogs all coexist out here. And all usually dislike each other. What I can do here is teach coyote to use the land to their advantage. And timing.

The hills and woods and treelines of this 4,000 acre ranch..can be for coyote. The open fields, the dogs flushing quail in Fall, are to be avoided. 

We travel throughout the property sticking to trails and fields. When coyote approach, the pack is more then ready to counter. But we remain together. And the coyote inevitably (and vocally) retire to woods and hills. They are learning not to rush dogs, and clients are instructed what areas the bird dogs are allowed to train and hunt in..and what is risky. 

Can coyote and bird dogs coexist? Yes. With instructions and non lethal (but sometimes rough) behavioural influences on both sides. Coyote absolutely can learn to stick to hills and woods. And bird dogs can stick to birds. Our pack introduces the idea to coyote that dog packs move through but go and DONT EVEN COME IN TO US. DONT ENGAGE THESE GUYS. They have thousands of acres to choose from.

We just encourage wise choices. And they almost inevitably do.

We will be busy this next few weeks. But its working.

Take care, 

Lou

Slim Jim Update, by Walkaboutlou

Hello Janet,

Just a portion of the nursery herd

These are just a portion of the nursery herd cows and calves on a local ranch. They have been moved to summer ranges and the grass is still lush, green and thick from record spring rains. This not only means rich grazing…but thousands upon thousands of mice, voles, moles and grasshoppers are literally everywhere. You feel and see scurrying or hopping with every step.

I can describe all this as I patrol these ranges. But Slim Jim the elderly male coyote..must simply have felt it. And returned.

For the past few weeks…Slim Jim has pup-sat and lived here with daughter and her mate. He then left them as the 2 pups started foraging with parents. Kinky Tail daughter rules this area and Slim obviously doesn’t feel tied here.

Last update [Slim Jim’s Bigger Picture] he had somehow amazingly joined his yearling daughter, her mate and two pups. The bison he walked with had newborns. New Moms perhaps made it risky for old blind Slim. How he joined his daughter 8 miles away we don’t know.

We joke that Slim Jim can read. He went to land off limits to hunting or public access.

We thought this was his last move. He was a very tired pup sitter. The pups have been moved several times by Kinky Tail mom. And are now hunting grasshoppers and mice themselves. This move…seemed to allow Slim to make his own choice. 

Ancient Slim Jim. He’s actually a Big Fella. We thought he was smaller — he was always so tattered and slinky. But..he now seems to have lost the slink, and meanders slowly and stately near or among bison especially at night. He’s safe. And shocking us all with his choices and endurance. 

He left the rocky (but hot) sanctuary to return to bison herds. The calves are bigger and the cows pay Slim no heed as he noses about and munches the rodents and grasshoppers they flush up while grazing. They graze. He feeds. Side by side. You can’t really even see him at times among the bulky bison. 

Mostly blind. Tattered. Very very worn. But quite happy. Slim Jim is very full. Sleeps long among cottonwoods. And slowly walks among bison.

He made the choice and must have known…old haunts and bison and grasslands and feeding, were better for him then rocky hot haunts his family are at for now.

I thought the rocks were his last move. But sweet grass and bison herds..obviously are his preference. He was tossing sticks and mice today. Still playful and enjoying life.

Take care. 

Lou

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