PROBABLE RACCOON PROBLEM; NOPE, GREAT-HORNED OWL

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,386
17,760
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
This occured about an hour ago. Dogs went bonkers as I was preparing to go to barn. By time I went out door dogs were back. It immediately became apparent the light to barn was off. Quick scan of breaker indicator showed the power to perimeter fence was also off. Shining barn I could see a stag walking back in forth near roost where he could have been roosting. He should have been siting tight with siblings. Something was up. My dog and I went straight to barn and she went straight not doing the usual perimeter check, nor was she in a hurry. I got distracted by rodents fighting in weeds and tried to call Lucy over but she would not come over. Not typical response unless something else had her attention. When I got into barn she was holding point on a dead game stag. When I picked it up she slowly sniffed around area but was not overly excited. The sniffing about not consistent with owl.

Picks taken after stag put up on platform with better lighting. A lot of blood, more than typical of owl. Head appears to have been bitten numerous times. Right wing has a fair amount of blood and tears, not consistent with owl. What looks like slobber on hackles near a bite strongly suggestive of Raccoon.
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Other birds in barn gave mixed signals in terms of postures held as I approach. Postures can be really clear when owl involved. One pullet I could not find actually moved to roost with a rival group in a pen that is not hers so she was really motivated to move. Other pullets bailed as I picked them up so they are scared of something. Dog and I gently routed every body into secure pens and closed doors. Stag used to bait live trap. A second baitless trap was placed next to first hoping to get lucky. Game camera now in place. Fence hot and light back on. If owl, then odds are it will be back. Raccoon should have trouble getting past hotwire.
 
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centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,386
17,760
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
First thing found was this with my own eyes. Lucy beat me to barn as she sprinted there. Two hens photographed in classic owl response posture as I got there quick myself.
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Upon checking game camera images, bingo! Raccoon-owl, new species to be described as only occurs in my barn! Cute ain't it? Note time stamps and when Lucy comes into view.
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Owl easier to deal with that raccoon, got to take into account time change to get out an hour earlier.
 

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