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We just spent the last hour and a half getting rid of a family of racoons. I do not want that kind of critter near my homestead or my neighbors. They are destructive, kill ducks, geese, dogs (all of which I have) and carry rabies. Yet, the sight of the dead kits is unsettling. Hubby and I both wanted to get rid of them without a question, and, at the same time, really hated to go through with it.

I wonder if the powers that be would be angry at me for killing some of his animals, or am I just soft in the head? I say a little prayer that they will not suffer, but they must. How do the rest of you homesteaders who are religious (or just plain human) deal with this contradiction of life is sacred vs. kill the varmints. I realize that is horribly black and white way to illustrate it, but I lack the proper words to describe it.

Anyone feel this way or is it just easy to get rid of animals that are not wanted without so much as any guilt feelings. It's hard to adequately express what I really feel. It's a bit unsettling, yet I feel we did the right thing.

I'm not looking for a thread on whether or not you kill racoons or like/dislike them. I want to know how others deal with the feelings that come of having to kill things (that you don't use for food) and respecting mother nature and life.

Thoughts?



Pat
 

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We don't live on a farm, but whenever we or anybody we know has had this problem, the solution has been a "hav-a-heart" trap with the varmints released elsewhere, hopefully far enough out so they won't become someone else's problem.

I don't know how one would do this with a whole family of raccoons, though.

We actually are facing this right now with my daughter, who is really soft on all kinds of critters, even bugs! DH got a pack of mousetraps for the barn, and she grabbed them and hid them and made him promise he wouldn't go buy more and use them! We explained about how mice chew things, mess up our stuff, carry diseases, etc. - no dice, she can't stand the idea. (sigh) I don't know what we'll do.
 

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I handle it by knowing that they do kill animals, carry diseases, etc. Can't count the number of raccoons I've shot over the years, and also the number of chickens, ducks, turkey poults, etc. they've killed of mine. So, no, I don't have a problem with killing them. They're doing what comes natural to them, and I'm doing what comes natural to me. Do I feel badly about it? Sometimes, for a brief moment. I have been known to let an opossum go when I saw it had several mouse-sized babies clinging to it's back, but then possums don't do the damage ***** do.

To answer your question more succinctly, God gave man dominion over all the animals. Knowing this, I am sure He understands my need to protect my defenseless poultry (and a source of food for me) from a ravaging raccoon.

This is the view of a Christian, I suppose you could say.
 

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I dont like killing anything but I frequently do kill.

just something you have to do and forget about or youll go nuts.
 

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I only kill "varmits" if they are a threat to my livestock. I feel that the goats, poultry, rabbits, cats and dogs are my responsiblity. If their lives are in danger, then I must step in to protect them. I feel it is Biblical as we are the stewards of our domesticated animals.
I do no harm to any of God's creatures that are of no threat to my farm. My son found a very young raccoon and we bottle fed him, then sent him to an animal rehab place that taught him how to survive out in the wild, then released him in a safe place.
It is my personal belief and I try to not inflict my beliefs on other people.
You should do what you feel is right in your circumstances.
I hope this helps you.
 

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This is just my experience, but years ago when I moved out to the farm, I was an extreme "softy" and of course, a HUGE animal lover. I wanted to save the baby raccoons when we found mom dead in the field. But I was talked out of that. The next bunch we found in a shed, I boxed up and brought to a zoo. They didn't encourage that anymore! LOL! Eventually I saw how destructive those critters could be and I started shooting them. It bothered me...but over time, those sad feelings disappeared.

So my advice, is say your prayers if it helps you, and continue protecting your property. It will get easier.
 

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Yes I also feel remorse at killkig even for food. That is my indian herithrage I also give a prayer for them to die withiut any pain. I have done this all my life. Read any of the books by Don Goldsmith In the Spanish Bit series and you will know that is my hearatage. He is good at making an apoligy at the first kill.
 

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1 am this morning (I was up canning) and the dogs went wild. I went to check out the deal and could not at first tell what was up. I figured that it was a moose by the sudden sounds of large branches breaking. But... was not quite sure. One dog shut up and got down low---the animal had to be quite close then that dog started to whine ---quite odd. so I got closer to find out more. It was a large animal but not quiet a moose. Slowly it went to the other tied up dog which went wild. the first dog seemed to play a whinning corpse. Then I saw it stare at me---my eyes are not great but it seemed to have a dogs head to it. I was say 20 feet from it. It slowly moved and it was too big to be a dog. could it be a bear?

Suddenly I wanted to go the 20 feet back to my cabin and turn on the outside lights and see from my safe home. Having been canning the windows were fogged. (2 pane glass and the seals are broke so cleaning would not work) I still was not sure (my eyes are bad and it was dark and trees and come on surly I was imagining it so... I woke DH. I wanted him to check on the dogs and just before I did wake him the ducks came flying by in a real rush.

DH woke (half asleep still-but moving) he pick up a gun and had me point out the area and stay a bit behind him.
Nothing happened. Yet the dogs were odd. quiet then crash right by the again barking dog and suddenly the BEAR came out towards us. Bang - wimper of a bear- bang again.

DH wanted to trail the bear and to put it out of it's pain. I did not want DH in the woods DH has a bad back and his legs give out with little notice. I know where I have a trail of chairs around the area and it is not leading to the woods.

In the morning F&G was called they tracked and shot the bear dead on thier 4th shot. It did rear at them first befor the first shot. 7pm the bear is skinned the meat is in the hands of the Native tribe sausage is being made soon.

I do not feel bad about the death as the bears time had come. People first. Yet I wish that the bear had never come our way. Yet I live it its land. May it never happen again.
 

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I wonder if the powers that be would be angry at me for killing some of his animals, or am I just soft in the head? I say a little prayer that they will not suffer, but they must. How do the rest of you homesteaders who are religious (or just plain human) deal with this contradiction of life is sacred vs. kill the varmints. I realize that is horribly black and white way to illustrate it, but I lack the proper words to describe it.
It is black and white for me. They can't be here. I have the responsibility of keeping my livestock and poultry safe. I can't have squirrels making nests in my home, ***** killing my birds or skunks killing killing turkey eggs a few days before hatch, all of which have happened here.

I never like killing something. I feel as badly about a chicken that will feed my family as I do a raccoon. I'm surrounded by thousands of acres of forest. If they cause damage on the tiny spot I use they have to go. Relocating often sets wildlife up for prolonged deaths, can introduce disease into an area, causes territory wars and more. It's just not a good idea, even if it makes us feel good that we didn't kill it.


edayna said:
We actually are facing this right now with my daughter, who is really soft on all kinds of critters, even bugs! DH got a pack of mousetraps for the barn, and she grabbed them and hid them and made him promise he wouldn't go buy more and use them! We explained about how mice chew things, mess up our stuff, carry diseases, etc. - no dice, she can't stand the idea. (sigh) I don't know what we'll do.
I was going to become a vet when I was 11. I was going to save all of the pets I took care of and some how, they'd never die. Reality check. That's not the way life works. The sooner she accepts real life the better. That doesn't mean she likes it but she does need to learn to cope. I feel for her. Every time a mouse trap went off when I was her age I was mortified. I remember my mother putting her foot down, reminding me that I didn't make these decisions, and telling me to "get over it." She wasn't very sympathetic, but I learned. My favorite book when I was a kid was Miracle on Maple Hill. I probably read it 35 years ago and I still remember that the father found a mouse nest and threw it into the wood stove. I don't remember the characters' names but I'll never forget how upset I was about that.
 

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It bothers me to kill almost anything. I don't have a problem killing ticks, mosquitoes or horse flies. I do have a real problem killing anything larger than that. I can not rationalize that the higher powers condone killing. Some religions, Buddism for example, allow no killing, not even bugs or mice. We go out of our way to conduct gardening so we do not have to shoot anything. We have an extensive fencing system, so the only critters we shoot are crows. I also have problems trapping and releasing animals some place else. I would rather dispose of the animal rather than make it some one elses problem.

We have been butchering goats for 29 years. For the first 15 years, I could not sleep the night before butchering day. But I now take it in stride, it does not bother me nearly so much as it used to.

I truely feel we do not have the right to kill anything, but I do it anyway. I just really try to limit what I kill. In another thread, I said I do not kill non-poisonous snakes for any reason. If I run into a poisonous copperhead in the woods, I leave it alone. I only kill copperheads if they are near my house or barn. We have raccoons, possoms and skunks around the house. I leave them alone, in fact I feed them. But if a raccoon would try to get into my garden, he would be toast.

I just read Old Vets reply. I also say a prayer when we butcher. It helps.
 

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I cried the first time we had to shoot a feral cat. It took me a loooong time to get over shooting the drop-offs and resulting feral kittens. I used to chase them away so dh wouldn't see them. A lot of that changed when dd took one of her hamsters out for a "walk" (she let them play in the yard, very closely supervised) and a cat came after it while it was still in her hand. She manged to save the hamster but I won't say the same for the cat.

The raccoons, squirrels, and groundhogs I have had to shoot always make me feel bad because they look at you with those big eyes that seem to say, "oh please, I'll never do it again, just let me go". With the baby g'hogs I had to look over at the shredded remains of what was a lovely stand of broccoli and young lettuce and remember these g'hogs would eat every bit of much needed produce if I let them go. When it came to the ***** I had to remember my little baby ducks that wouldn't have a ghost of a chance if one of them got left outside. I apologize to the offending critter and try to end it's life as quick as possible.

The ducks get a talking to, the night before butchering. I thank them for giving themselves to feed us and tell them how much we enjoyed their company. They get thanked again the morning just before the deed. I don't like killing, but it is a necessary part of life. And I really do like my duck meat.
 

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Before Roger left this morning, I went out with him and shot a raccoon in our trap! I don't like to do it BUT I consider them similar to rats. I try hard to shot them in the head so as not to give them a prolonged death.

Now, bless his heart, Roger literally becomes ill if he has to kill an animal. I understand so I do it!

We had three more raccoons by the bird feeder so that trap will be getting a lot of use. (They love marshmallows!)

BTW, I've told this before but we get new members so I'll say it again. I never knew my maternal grandfather but I was told that he couldn't kill animals. At butchering time, a neighbor would go over and dispatch the animal. He was all right after it was dead and could butcher.

I remember vividly when Zookeeper16 wanted to bottle feed the baby raccoons. She became a country person and learned to shoot 'em!
 

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Well, look at it from another perspective:

If the raccoons become tame from hanging around your homestead and acquire rabies along the way, is it better that the raccoons be gone before they become a menace or would it be preferable to take a chance and maybe have the ***** bite your kids/pets/livestock? I don't think raccoons can exist peacefully in the barnyard for long. Once they're coming into the yard and making themselves at home, it will only get worse as they multiply.

I know some will disagree with me but ultimately, a human's safety takes precedence over an animal's. Sometimes wild animals cannot coexist in the barnyard. Sometimes they can. Raccoons in my yard, though? No way! They eat chickens, have fleas, and might be carrying rabies. I leave them alone if they stay in the woods, but my yard is off limits.

I've felt bad for some animals I've dispatched, but I refuse to keep them around if my own livelihood or family is at stake.
 

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DixyDoodle said:
Well, look at it from another perspective:

If the raccoons become tame from hanging around your homestead and acquire rabies along the way, is it better that the raccoons be gone before they become a menace or would it be preferable to take a chance and maybe have the ***** bite your kids/pets/livestock? I don't think raccoons can exist peacefully in the barnyard for long. Once they're coming into the yard and making themselves at home, it will only get worse as they multiply.

I know some will disagree with me but ultimately, a human's safety takes precedence over an animal's. Sometimes wild animals cannot coexist in the barnyard. Sometimes they can. Raccoons in my yard, though? No way! They eat chickens, have fleas, and might be carrying rabies. I leave them alone if they stay in the woods, but my yard is off limits.

I've felt bad for some animals I've dispatched, but I refuse to keep them around if my own livelihood or family is at stake.
Too many if's in this argument for my comfort. I have had raccoons for 15 years without them taking over the world. I do not have chickens nor children. The raccoons are not in my barnyard.

I have coyotes, which BTW would be shot if they were not so fast and sneaky. What IF a coyote would eat a baby raccoon and then would leave my baby goats alone??

If my current system was not working, then I would consider changing it. The raccoons have not multiplied at all. Maybe the coyotes are keeping them in check??

Like I said, too many ifs for me to know what to do. I do not even pretend to understand the relationships of all the flora and fauna.
 

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Most of what was said was very true and helpful.
Now ADD this concept to what was said:

Because of us encroaching on the wildlife territory, we have done away with a lot of the "larger" predator animals.
Because of that, we have thrown the "prey" balance out of whack.

Now we have to eliminate some of the "pesky prey" that are over-producing and invading our "safe space," whatever that may be.

No, it does not change the fact that you are taking a life.
But being a good steward means that sometimes difficult things must be done.

Grieving the loss of life is SO healthy! Don't feel badly about that -- and don't wish it away.

Teach your daughter about WHY mice are dangerous. Explain why well-cared-for pet mice are not - though they can be quite destructive when they escape. (And there is a difference between dangerous and destructive. Some thigs can be repaired/replaced. You have to choose what you can tolerate.)

She will need to learn that ALL life is precious, but on a working farm, there is a time when a life must end. Sickness, death, danger, potential danger, to feed our families, etc.

Good Luck!
I still cry every time I make the first cut to butcher an animal, even though it is to feed my family.
I think the tenderness, yes, even for men, is what makes us/keeps us human.
 

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Ok, how about this. It is your job to take care of your little bit of space, keep things in balance, protect your domestic things that no longer have the ability to protect themselves. Part of that is preventing predation. If killing them had to be done I do not think there is any reason to feel guilty. Unsettled, yes. If you enjoyed it, that would just be creepy.
 

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It is an awful feeling. In our area, you can no longer trap and release animals into another location. So if you make the choice to trap, the end has to be lethal.

I prefer to try to make our habitat less suited to certain animals. Excluding, reducing certain habitat, removing food sources - or changing how animals are fed to keep grain out of the hands of raiding *****.
 

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This is a timely thread for me - I just killed my first animal yesterday evening - a groundhog that the dog was *trying* to kill. The whole groundhog family has been eating through my garden despite fencing, etc. By the time I got to it, it was more of a mercy killing. I still cried and feel guilty. I don't know if I'll be able to do it again.
 

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I know you can't compare this, but we killed a hornets nest full of hornets last night by our back door and went thru the same feeling of remorse over it afterwards. I doubt we would be very human if we didn't feel some kind of sadness over our actions.
 
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