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This will be long (sorry), and slightly graphic also (sorry again). I came to your forum a while back when I first took on this bottle calf & found some great tips for feeding, scours, etc. Thank you! Today, it is on a sad note that I write. This morning, I was horrified to find my bottle calf dead outside of her pen at the barn when I went down to feed her. The conservation agent has been notified; however I’m told that it takes awhile for them to show up. In the meantime (while mourning her loss – she was a sweetie and doing so well), I’m trying to figure out what sort of a critter killed her. It was something that was big enough to drag/carry her over a 4 ft pen. Her throat/chest was opened and appears that heart, etc. are missing. Her front legs are missing. The really strange thing is that this “something” peeled the hide all the way down her ribs. In our past experience with coyotes killing lambs, etc., we have never seen anything like this. Has anyone ever seen this type of behavior before in a predator? I am in Missouri – where rumors exist about Mountain Lions roaming in the area now, but till now I’ve considered this urban legend. I appreciate any information you can give me. At this point, I’m very concerned for our calves out in the pasture, my geese, my dogs.. and us!!
 

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MacCurmudgeon
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Rumor has it that a Mountain Lion will eat the nose of its kill first; deer, sheep, elk, etc.
 

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Lions are known to peel the hide neatly starting at the neck to expose the meat (seen it). Is the Conservation Agent like Game and Fish? If not call your Game and Fish! Take pictures... DOCUMENT!!!! Take names, dates, credentials... These agencies usually like to hide these things under the rug. Once a lion tastes tame meat, they return for more. If it is a Cat and it isnt taken care of, tragedy may await...you or others.
I hope this helps.
 

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Mountain Lions have been spotted in Iowa. Mountain lions will cover quite a territory. I read where a mountain lion was tagged in the Dakotas and killed in Oklahoma. I do not think one coyote could get a calf over a 4' fence. With the deer population on the increase the predator population will be on the increase. You should have tracks nearby,whether it would be from paws or scat or territory marks. Please be cautious.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It appears, after I went out again to re-check, that the critter(s) dragged the calf underneath the fence. Therefore, considering all the other clues we found... we think it was probably coyotes. Of course, the conservation agent (game & fish... etc) never returned our calls. We are still going to keep extra careful watch over things however. I'm in agreement - I think the government agencies like to keep those mountain lion stories quiet!

Thanks again for your replies. It is greatly appreciated. After 25 years on the farm, I do pretty well with most everything - except death! That's a tough one.
 

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Tam, while it COULD be coyotes, I'd bet on a cougar, and YES they are in Missouri. Be careful, and do look for prints or other signs, like scat. Either way, the predator will no doubt be back for more. Jan in Co
 

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tam said:
It appears, after I went out again to re-check, that the critter(s) dragged the calf underneath the fence. Therefore, considering all the other clues we found... we think it was probably coyotes. Of course, the conservation agent (game & fish... etc) never returned our calls. We are still going to keep extra careful watch over things however. I'm in agreement - I think the government agencies like to keep those mountain lion stories quiet!

Thanks again for your replies. It is greatly appreciated. After 25 years on the farm, I do pretty well with most everything - except death! That's a tough one.
What part of MO are you located? We have had cougars and mountain lions in southern Mo for some time. I remember seeing a black cougar when I was about 10. I had a special place I went to a little ways in the woods from our house. It had a brook and some rocks. I would sit on the rocks and day dream. Our dogs usually went with me. This one day I was there, the dogs suddenly jumped up and started running this thing away from me. I realized it was a black cougar. I guess it had been slipping up on me.
 

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Yes, there are cougars in Missouri. For years the DOC denied it, tried to convince folks they had seen a dog, coyote, or an escaped pet that couldn't survive in the wild, etc. But a deer hunter in a tree stand caught one on video near Hannibal, another was killed by a car near Fulton, and another was killed by a car near Kansas City. Stomach contents showed that the two road killed animals were catching wild game. DNA tests also confirmed that the two road kills were North American cats, most pet cougars are of South American origin. Much as they hated to the DOC finally admitted there were indeed free ranging cougars in the state. "But only just a few and certainly no breeding pairs", yeah right. I live less than 40 miles from Fulton, and had a good sized calf just disappear last year. It was in a pasture that borders on an area of several square miles of heavy brush and timber, several of the neighbors and I scoured the areas on ATV's but didn't find a trace.
 

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I live in the midst of couger country. At least one is hunted and killed on the property each and every year. We've never lost a single free range or fenced critter ever. I take that back, we've lost chickens and ducks on a fairly regular basis, but never a calf, goat, sheep or horse. Many years ago, I did have a persistent bear that did some damage to a hog, but he lost his life in the endeavor.

I've had lots of problems with dogs over the years, neighbor dogs, dogs that inconsiderate city folk drop off for us to kill and ferrel dogs.

If I looked out in the field early some morning and saw a dog and a mountain lion, I'd aim for the dog first.
 
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