Large predators

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MelissaW, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Hi friends! Has anyone else noticed an increase in large predators in your area, or is it just my imagination? We've lived here for 12 years, and, despite being surrounded by large tracts of woods and farms, never saw much more than the occasional coyote or fox. In the last year, however, we've seen quite an increase in bobcats and black bears, and some people have even claimed to see cougars. Both my husband and a friend of ours have seen a lone animal that looks exactly like a wolf, although a local wolf preserve feels that the animal is surely a wolf hybrid that has either escaped an enclosure or been dumped. At any rate, it has been living and hunting in the woods near here all summer. Do you think that the big predators are increasing, or are we just seeing them come out into the open more because of shinking habitat?
     
  2. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    southern Iowa
    I think it has more to do with the DNR oversteeping thier bounds and taking over the privet land
     

  3. silentcrow

    silentcrow Furry Without A Clue

    Messages:
    1,236
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania
    For years, here in PA, people have claimed there are still mountain lions...Something the Game Commission denies. I think I'll side with the spotters. A few weeks ago, some friends and I found some very large tracks by a creek. They weren't bear or k-9...no claw indentations. A few years ago, a place very near there had a horse attacked and clawed up. They thought it was a bear, as there were several in the area...but the fence was never damaged.

    I just wish I could have gotten some plaster to cast the print, before the rain washed it out :Bawling:
     
  4. doohap

    doohap Another American Patriot

    Messages:
    2,320
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    Far northeast Texas
    Bob, don't you just hate typos! I know you mean private land. ... and overstepping instead of oversteeping. :)

    Melissa,

    I've not really had much experience with large predators, but if they are being increasingly spotted, my gut tells me that both reasons you consider are possible ... increase in numbers due to the diligence of animal protectors and loss of habitat.

    My humble opinion. What does everyone else think?

    doohap
     
  5. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Just my opinion, but I think if you could have an off the record conversation about Mountain Lions with a senior Game Commision official, it would be real interesting. I think the issue is the burden placed on the state if they admit that they actually have an indigenous population. This would trigger a massive 'endangered species" response from the federal beauracrats, and end up costing a nearly bankrupt agency millions. There is far too much evidence to deny the existance of Cougars in the state, but I think the commision will always try to avoid the issue, and for good reason.
    Mellisa, I'm sure to most people a Black Bear is something to be afraid of, but in reality they are typically harmless. They are not "predators" in the lower 48. That is not to say that there isn't a very rare bear attack on occasion. That said, you are in much greater danger from a misquito bite. I have had several bear encounters and never had to even raise my voice or move an inch. Typically once I started to speak, the bear was turned 180* and running. They frequently will stop, at a distance, to get another look at what scared them, but then they disappear. This doesn't mean they are harmless around animals though. We have a neighbor that had to shoot one, after it developed a fondness for fresh chicken. Also, a fairly recent discovery was that they are responsible for a lot of the Whitetail Fawn mortality in the forests of the northeast. Fawns will not run when discovered, they lay still and hope for the best. This is why they are the favorite "Scoobie snack" of Black bears.
     
  6. Lionrose

    Lionrose Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    191
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    Hi,
    Yesterday a neighbor (6 miles from me) called. Said at 3am they found there pet goat dead. At first they thought it had been shot, it was dark and they didn’t look to close for they had heard gun shot earlier. So they called the police. They came out and investigated. Determined it was a Mountain Lion attack.
    It was chained up next to the house in a dense growth area so it could eat it down for um. It had tried to drag it off but couldn’t it was chained. The cops told um that ML’s only come that close to houses and ppl if they are really hungry. Also said they have a territory of about 100 miles.
    In light of day they went out took collar and chain off. (they had to wait on one of the men to get home from work to dispose of it).About an hour and half later they had noticed something had dragged it about 5 foot from where it was.

    My friend is a scared’y cat and now she won’t go outside unless someone is with her.

    The cops also told them they couldn’t burn the body, said it was against the law. I asked her why and she didn’t know. I would have asked why, seems to me it would be a good way to dispose of it. :shrug:

    Rose
     
  7. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    15,368
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    We have a pack of 13 or so Timberwolves in the Game Rufuge accross the road from us. We see bobcats and Canadian lynx on occasion. We see black bear often. Almost every night we hear coyotes serenading. Personally, I think it is wonderful and feel blessed to have opportunity to experience these creatures and share their home.
     
  8. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,327
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Carthage, Texas
    I've heard tell of every kind of predator roaming through here in the last 20 years... Historically, they all were here, so it's not a stretch for me to imagine them slinking back thru occasionally.

    The only predators I worry about are the two legged kind... When I see one of them on my place, I (well, what's the point of saying anything, right???) get nervous...and when I get nervous, the predators get even nervouser (sic!).
     
  9. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Good post! In my part of SE OK we certainly have large predators, but it's coyotes or wild dogs that take most of the domestic animals that are killed...or other small predators like coons & possums. People being afraid of the large predators, like bears,wolves, & mountain lions seems to me to be just a hold-over fear that is unsubstantiated. The misquito or tick bite is more to be feared. There will never be a shortage of cows,sheep,goats,chickens,or pigs. The IDEA that predators should be shot on sight because they Might kill a domestic animal is PURE ARROGANCE. The fact is that the larger predators Have made a comeback from their near extinction & is proof that our Wildlife Conservation programs are working & I'm glad to see it. Despite a severe lack of habitat, our children will be able to see these animals in the wild...for a few more years.
     
  10. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    16,223
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    We've seen more this summer. I've heard that they are coming down from the higher country because it's been a bit dryer than usual this summer but we've had a grizzly bear, several stubborn blacks (bears), wolves, but haven't seen any cougar, which means nothing since you rarely see them (just their tracks) anyway. The Pyrs have been working hard this summer! We've also had a lot more elk passing thru than normal.
    Here's our local grizz hangin' out and doing his thing:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    I too, think it's wonderful to be able to share the experience of wild creatures like this. There are plenty of prey for these creatures in the form of increased deer that may account for better numbers of prey and in better condition. Nature keeps balance if wildlands are left wild, and due diligence on any land steward's part also. I've seen increase in lynx tracks, but never sighted one yet on my property, though there are more snowshoe hares. I've notices an increase in ruffed grouse this year that is more than last year also, so I'd expect more foxes and coyotes will be in the area too. I mow grass in my back 'yard' within 75 yards of a grazing black bear at the woodland area he meanders through. I love tracking wolves in winter just for the hell of it. It's quite exciting seeing those large foot prints and knowing he's there with a possible mate. 30 years up here I"ve only seen wolves half a dozen sightings and that was ice fishing or way up some bush road. I heard coyotes yipping last night and my dogs joined in the barking chorus for an annoying few minutes. Heard a wolf howl last week off in the distance a few miles. Good to know they are there still with us. :)
     
  12. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,373
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Last week, we saw the first cougar tracks on our place in 3 years, at the edge of the lake. No bears here, but we have lots of bobcats, fox, and coyotes.
     
  13. Clifford

    Clifford Love it, or leave it...

    Messages:
    402
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wausau, Wisconsin
    We've seen a large increase in the coyote population here as well as black bear and the wolves are getting closer as well. Had many sightings of cougars here as well. I think they've always been here, they are just moving around more as people move into their territories.

    Can't wait for trapping season! Kids are excited too.
     
  14. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    It sounds like they might be making a bit of a comeback! I'm not worried about the bears. We get young males just setting out on their own wandering over from western PA quite often, but it would be great if a permanent population was moving in. The cougars do concern me a bit. The most recent story came from a sheep farm about 5 miles from here that lost a handful of sheep over several nights. There was talk around town of the game warden coming out and saying it looked like a cougar, but I didn't hear any first hand information. You know how it is with small towns and "fish stories"...a bluegill turns into a blue whale in no time! I did, however, ask my husband to install a light on the equipment barn that shines down on my chicken coop from above after I read that they tend to attack from above. That way when I'm shutting the coop at night I don't have to feel like such a scardy baby. Better safe than sorry! :) The only livestock we keep is poultry, so if we could get a predator that dines exclusively on those pesky chicken-eating racoons, I would jump for joy.
     
  15. KRH

    KRH Resident Wino

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    Location:
    SW Mich
    We have had documented cases of cougars killing horses in my area in the last 2 years. MI DNR says they are all escaped pets. LOL. Like tiogacounty said if they admit there is a wild selfsustained population they would have to manage them and they have no means to do so with so little funding.
     
  16. jlo

    jlo Active Member

    Messages:
    44
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    I wouldn't discount the idea of feral/exotic "pets" getting loose (or being dumped) either. If there were many of the large predators naturally around and you live in a rural area, someone would have shot a few already. I know that sounds bad, but I know for a fact that we have coyotes in our area because a local cattle farmer has shot three--even though there have been NO reports of attacks on any animals and they weren't around his pastures when he shot them.

    Personally, I don't immedately trust local "sightings" of uncommon animals because a lot of people can't tell the difference between a coyote, a wolf, or a furry mutt dog and don't get a long enough look at a wild animal to be sure what it was. If they are fairly common in your area, people would probably recognize them, but if it's the first reported sighting, I would be skeptical for a while. And when something "new" moves in, you get all kinds of wacky information. I had a peanut farmer down the road tell me that my sheep are doomed because we had coyotes around now and they can jump a 12' fence.
     
  17. KRH

    KRH Resident Wino

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    Location:
    SW Mich
    I know you cant belive the MI DNR. They said for years that there were no wolves in the lower peninsula. That was untill last year when one was mistakenly killed by a coyote hunter. After that incident they admited there was at least 2 other wolves in the L.P.
     
  18. mandyh

    mandyh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    194
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Location:
    Maryland/Florida
    I saw my first MT lion back in the late eighties. Bears have always been around. We saw a woverine a couple of years ago, it spent the summer here. That was really cool!
     
  19. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Messages:
    52,842
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    We have plenty of predators around here...bears, coyotes , fox, bobcats, coons. All the usual hawks and occasional Bald Eagles. There are Red Wolves in the state but I dont think they have spread much from the Eastern most counties yet. The only "predator" problems Ive had came from stray dogs. I managed to get a couple of them. Since I got my first Maremma I havent had any problems at all. Now I have 3 of them and dont much worry about losing any sheep. My Coonhound "yard dog" takes care of the chickens so unless a hawk or owl gets one Ive pretty much got the predators under control.
     
  20. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    16,223
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    You had a wolverine in Maryland?