Today I had been sitting by my computer reading BYC threads and answering one to remind them that the raccoon that killed their chicken would likely be back. Ironically, I turned around to view my ducks and geese hiding behind the kiddy pool. Why? because a big raccoon was sitting beside their fence (So glad we went electric net and it was on). Problem is it was 10:35 AM. The other problem is that the chickens are in a run only covered by chicken wire (they are locked up safe and secure at night). Therefore seeing a raccoon during the daytime had me a bit worried. It's not unusual to see raccoons around here in daylight but they've never been this close to my flocks.
I went outside to yell at it and try and drive it off (standing about 15 feet away from my front porch). Nope, it just looked at me and kept looking at the ground where I had spilled some feed by accident yesterday. So I went into the house and grabbed the .22. I couldn't shoot at it without risking hitting my birds so I fired a warning shot into the ground (again only 15 feet away). It didn't flinch and just starred at me. So I took a couple steps forward and it finally started to move off albeit very, very slowly.
I really don't like to kill unless I have no choice. In the country I coexist with many predators because I do everything possible to protect my livestock and cats. But this raccoon is exhibiting an uncaring, unafraid attitude that will be a big problem. So I felt I had to do what I really didn't want to... take a shot. He stopped behind a tree and the only shot I had without risking my birds or neighbors goats was a head shot. I fired and he calmly climbed to the top of the tree. Thinking I must have missed as it is breezy today and it showed no sign of being hit.
Since the tree is slightly overhanging the duck pen I waited him out for him to climb down and leave with my rifle ready... just in case. After watching me and the birds for a while he did finally, slowly climb down and sauntered off over the perimeter fence and into the wooded area with the neighbors goats.
I walked over to the tree and found blood. Apparently I did hit him and now he is wounded and has left. Good grief. I don't want a dangerous predator around my birds and pets, but I didn't want an animal to suffer either. So I'm feeling a bad and at the same time hoping I succeeded in being my animals' protector.