Chickens Until BobCat, Now Just Ducks

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
247
557
136
West Texas
Wow. Thank you for all the feedback.

Yes to those who said "be careful." We are careful with the ducks. If they are out early or late then someone is sitting out with them and very close by. I've tightened up their overnight quarters with more wire and even a camera. We are off grid so doing a bunch more electrical intervention is difficult but so far so good.

Funny thing is that our chickens were fairly far from the house when taken, and the duck never liked going that far with them. She would complain when they wandered. Now she stays closer to home, often in the pond we built, and with the 2 new additions they are less prone to go anywhere. Problem is, as stated by others here and by our own experience with a cougar at a friend's house years ago, is that cats are brave and creative. We are being careful. I just don't want to lock the birds up all day as they really enjoy ranging in the yard.

Strong community of compassionate avian friends here I guess. Will have to check my posts more often.

Welcome to the club (and to BYC).

Call your equivalent to a game warden or county extension agent and ask if they can refer you to any bobcat trappers in your area. I had one show up at the beginning of November and I've lost close to 3 dozen chickens and 5 ducks. He clears the electric fence with ease. (Cats can sense electricity, almost like seeing it, and they can hear the frequency, electric fencing is easy for them to bypass.) I'm out there with a rifle or .38 with varmint shot whenever I'm working in the yard, but he waits until I go inside for a few minutes and strikes. Only once have I been fast enough to go after him and save one pullet. Two days later he took my oldest and most favorite chicken, not to mention the many expensive and promising purebreds he's gotten off with. He only went after the ducks in the beginning because they refuse to coop up at night. After a few consecutive days of missing-without-a-trace ducks, and the ducks suddenly wanting to go into the coop, I finally spotted him on my cameras at about 1:30 am. And here I was blaming a giant barn owl.... Anyway, without any prey to go after at night, he started coming during the day, first at dusk, then earlier, then just whenever he saw a chance. He's countered every defense I have (to allow them to free range, the coops are still safe).

I finally thought it was a good enough excuse to go buy a new gun, you know, the scary "machine gun" that democrats think eats babies, because it's literally the only thing that can fire again fast enough to keep up with a running cat or coyote. (Whoa Dems, it's cool, I couldn't find any "clips" for it, but the nice man at the gun store offered me a few magazine subscriptions for the inconvenience.) My neighbor has a range at his house and I asked if he'd help me dial in my red dot and let me do some plinking to get used to it, and during our conversation I find out that he's a licensed trapper and pretty much the only thing he hunts is bobcat. So we set up a couple of traps on Sunday. We haven't caught him yet, but I didn't lose any chickens today while I was gone at work, so that's something.

If he wants your ducks, it won't be long; and he won't have a problem going after your daughter either. At the very least, carry a golf club or a bat with you when you're in the yard, a sidearm is better, a sniper on the roof is best - but be very careful (with you!) until you've taken care of him, and hope there's not also a her with cubs somewhere nearby. If you have a dog, don't let it chase a bobcat. Cougars use incredible strength in their forearms to strike and don't necessarily need to use their teeth or claws, bobcats, being smaller, have to be more nimble and vicious if they're cornered, like a much less cuddly version of a rabid badger.

Oh, if you do take care of him yourself, there may be very weird laws as to whether you can keep any parts. In Texas, I can shoot him only while he's attacking my livestock without a hunting license, with a license I can hunt him on property where I have permission, but in neither case can I keep any parts. Only a licensed trapper can hunt or trap and take the pelt, but said pelt can only be sold to a wholesaler, and if the pelt is to leave the state, it has to be CITES tagged by the wholesaler or at a TPWD law enforcement office in the same year as it's taken, but that apparently doesn't apply if he's mounted, but I'm not sure if I could have him mounted and keep him.
 

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