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Sometimes knowing your dogs’ behavior is as important as listening to them. In the case of this returning visitor, it wasn’t a whole LOT of barking that aroused me, it was the lack thereof.

Oscar, our old farm collie gave a few stern, warning barks, then went quiet, and his little sister – nothing. That’s what got me out of bed. After all, she’s the noisy one, always barking about nothing. “Hark – a jet plane! Warning – a rabbit”. The absence of both dogs when I finally made it outside gun in hand alerted me that something was really up. Throughout the whole episode of taking down this predator both dogs looked on safely from the road making nary a yip.



I don’t feel any sense of triumph dispatching it. It was a magnificent animal. Our flock has taken a lot of hits from this cat, and as i understand it, our spring bucklings could have been in danger too. All the time we thought it was the usual raccoon bandit… and though they were passive, I’ll give our trusty farm dogs their due – to Oscar for sounding the alarm - just enough, and to Laika, his little sister in training, for recognizing that if you don’t have anything smart to say, now is not the time to say it.

 

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Good job Oscar Laika & LFRJ! You gonna have a pelt?
 

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I thought about it Nancy, but naw. No pelt. Probably would have looked better on the cat anyway - and I really hated to dispatch it. It was truly a beautiful creature, just too bad he started up a habit of snacking on our livestock. I'm afraid everytime I looked at it, it would remind me of the episode - which was sad, and took much longer than I would have preferred. I only had a single shot .22. Haven't had need for more power - but there sure is a difference between what a racoon can take and a full grown bobcat. It was hard to bring down. Just glad the dogs had the smarts enough not to get in the way of this one. Very different than the usual raccoon hunt.
 

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Congratulations to your dogs!! It is real nice to have such guardians!
 
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good for you to know what they were saying. It is too bad they don't get the idea and stay away and snack on non livestock.
 

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Nice looking cat. I can empathize with your thinking it would remind you of the episode.
So where abouts was he? Did you have lights on or what?
 

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He was in the tree over looking the chicken coop = where our problem children roost at night incidentally. We've been looking for a raccoon for weeks every time a bird came up missing. Funny thing is, we could rarely find a carcass left over, so were a bit stumped. (Cats bury their leavings, ***** typically leave a royal mess). The dogs could see him from the deck, but didn't kick up the type of fuss they would have had it been ****. They were darn nervous though! In all the time we've been here, we've never had a problem with bobcats (that we knew of, and if so, not persistently. Racoons yes, we've had to kill quite a number of them - and we had that errant cougar one year who came and went - but this is a first!
 

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Beautiful cat.. Just wondering though, is it legal to shoot them there in Washington? I know if I had one here and I shot it, I'd have to follow the 3 S's if it wasn't during a very small window of hunting season..

Here in WV, even shooting a black beat that's attacking you while out of season can get you in a lot of trouble. They say you must have done something to get a black bear to attack, so it is your fault in the first place..

*screwy*
 

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We have cougars in our area. Several years ago one was killed about three miles away from our farm. They are starting to migrate down from Nebraska and surrounding states.

Talking to a local game warden about it, I mentioned that I always had at least one dog with me when I went into the timber and counted on them to raise an alarm if something was about that shouldn't be.

He told me that it is when dogs do exactly what yours do that you need to be on guard. Most dogs, unless trained to go after big cats will not mix with one. He told me that if your dog barks then runs back to you or the house and sits and silently trembles, get out of there or be on guard.

I have only seen ours do that one time. I let the five of them out early one morning before sunrise. They ran a short distance from the porch, stopped at the edge of the timber behind the house, barked several times and ran back to take up residence on the porch. They didn't bark, didn't do anything but sit and stare out into the timber. It could have been anything from a large yote to a cougar or bob cat. I didn't know and didn't pursue the situation. I just listened to our dogs who were more than willing to come back in.

Your dogs did good and so did you! Don't feel bad about killing this predator no matter how beautiful it was. It would have thought nothing about killing your live stock or one of your dogs.
 

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Thanks Badlander. They did the smart thing. We don't have traditional LGD's but even if we did, I wouldn't want one that was so cavalier it ended up maimed attempting to defend. We like the 'just enough' approach to predator control.

Simi- according to WA law -" Bobcats are classified as game animals and an open season and a hunting license are required to hunt them (WAC 232-12-007). A property owner may kill a bobcat on that property if it is damaging domestic animals (RCW 77.36.030). No permit is required."

I think reasonable and prudent is petty key - however the SSS method works best for me. We'll always avoid eradicating predators unless they become a repeat threat - that includes coyotes. We do have to share our planet afterall - but that declaration, however true, probably wouldn't hold up well in court.
 

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About 8:30pm the other evening I stepped outside the cabin with the varmint dogs who were enjoying being inside with me next to the fire. The dogs were eager to go until we got outside. They had not gone more than a few feet before they all came to a complete stop and just stood frozen. I knew immediately that something was up. Beau, our male LGD was barking with a frenzied manner near the fence that separates the goat area and the chicken coop area. The varmint dogs just stood listening and smelling. Suddenly the two biggest dogs shot out toward the chicken coop and there was a great deal of noise over there involving leaves and scrambling around. I never saw the culprit, but there is no doubt that there was something...probably a fox from the way it departed so quickly. The two dogs chased it way out of my ear and eye range. The other dogs...older and smaller...stayed right with mom. LOL! Got to know your dogs and your dogs need to know their adversaries and which ones they can handle...although I suspect that the Pyrs would go after ANYTHING...perhaps to their regret.
 
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