First off, always “Know and obey your state game laws!”
We live in the Gulf Coast area and we have a huge population of raccoons; therefore livestock predation is a constant problem. In my case especially so, as a neighbor routinely puts out bags and bags of cracked corn on the ground outside his back door to attract the birds and deer he likes to watch in his dotage (I know I’m enjoying my dotage).
Our six acres are positioned on the outside edge of this very rural neighborhood. Since we’re between that neighbor and the deep woods, we’re therefore on the superhighway between the attractant and the nuisance critters’ dwellings. My neighbor is old and he’s in very poor health so I don’t confront him about this. I’ve pointed out that I could give him more fresh eggs if he would just desist, but he didn’t take the hint.
Due to the nature of my job, Marjory’s recommendation on her DVD to “get a farm dog” is not a good option for me. Though I have set up a comprehensive defense system, we still have catastrophic losses a couple times a year. Speaking about getting your first livestock on her DVD, Marjory succinctly mentions, “you will have losses.”
For newbs, allow me to describe what this might be like…
Just last Tuesday, a big predator broke through the multiple fences and other deterrents that I have set up, and murdered ten of my critters. Both of my last two ducks, three lovely young pullets that were just weeks away from starting to lay, plus five mature rabbits.
We had settled in for the evening, when over the soundtrack of a sci-fi movie, we heard a commotion in the back yard. I sprinted out the back door, with firearm in hand, to take in the scene. You dohave a gun-mounted light, don’t you? In the deep dark of night I saw flashing images of the carnage with blood everywhere. I took a few seconds to make sure I correctly understood what was going on… and then I could tell that the commotion I heard was coming from the chicken coop. Suffice it to say I got my rage on. Defending your livestock can be a sad and ugly business.
Poignantly, the male duck did not have a mark on him. His neck was stretched out through the fence that surrounds the veggie garden, as if to get away from the monster… or as if he’d hung himself. Either a heart attack, or grief for his shredded mate, did him in.
The point I’m trying to make is this: We homesteaders have serious predation problems and we need serious countermeasures that work around the clock.
For raccoons in particular, the best solution I have found is this simple trap here. While you’re at it, go ahead and pick up this “set tool” for another dollar. It’s much safer than using a screwdriver to set the trap, like I did for a few weeks.
The idea is that the raccoon can’t resist sticking its arm down inside the barrel, which sets off the trigger and causes the wire to clamp down on the coon’s arm.
I get it – this might seem terribly cruel to those of you who haven’t gone out in the morning to find your cute little baby turkeys and “wabbits” turned inside out. You might not get it… yet. Since the dawn of time there’s been an abject fury that farmers have felt when their livestock are attacked. I’m sorry, but all polite, civilized considerations are secondary. Perhaps one day you too will know that primal anger when your lovely little hand-raised chicken Henrietta is squawking in terror.
I have placed these traps in a perimeter circle around my livestock, and there are a few inside the first line of fencing. I can attest that they are rather easy to set up, easy to check, easy to use, and much more effective than the “havaheart” style. I have set these up right beside the “havaheart” and I would guess that they catch about 8 times more. Interestingly, I have never caught any other critters in these traps; they are perfect for an extremely targeted predator niche.
A few notes on using these traps:
1) Though these traps are relatively easy to deal with, be extremely careful when handling them. Never let children play with them. Train children about them like you would a firearm. Never, ever, put a finger inside the barrel of one of these traps.
2) You must anchor them in place with some sort of non-chewable thin chain or metal cable.
3) The best bait I’ve found is either some sort of canned fish (anchovy, herring, catfood, etc.) or sweets like marshmallows. I alternate baits and both of these seem to work equally well.
4) We get rain almost daily in the summer, so I cover these traps with a small plastic cover with holes on the side so the scent can drift. The small black plastic nursery nursery plant pots work fine for this. Any “customers” just knock the cover off and have at it. I imagine that they feel smug at their own cleverness for outwitting me… at least for a little while.
5) You must be diligent in keeping the traps baited and in good repair. I’ve had livestock losses whenever I have gotten lazy.
6) They rust. I haven’t painted mine yet – I’ll get to that one day; that’ll be chore number 6,783. I plan to try “Phos” coating on one to see how that works. A powder-coated option from the manufacturer would be a nice addition.
7) When they get rusty I use a tiny metal mill bastard file to clean the trigger surfaces that rub together, and then I put a dab of wheel bearing grease on them. This works nicely.
8) For you cat lovers, I have never once caught a cat.
9) For humanely dispatching the enemy I use a special .22 round called a “CB Long” and I favor those made by CCI. They are amazingly quiet; quieter than some pellet guns, and they sound like a tree branch breaking. By the way, they are powerful enough to take out armadillos as well. Alas, with the current .22 shortage, CB Longs are getting very hard to find.
10) Did I mention: “Know and obey your state game laws!“
Thanks to Cap’n Dave for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.
We have over $2,097 in prizes lined up for the Fall 2015 Writing Contest, including all of the following:
– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each