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I'm a children's author. Animals are a constant source of writing material for me. They are also my heart!

What Would You Do?

>> Sunday, August 2, 2009

Behind my house there is a field. Behind the field there is a woods. My house, my neighborhood, the field, and the woods are surrounded by a bustling city.

It's a pleasure to wake up in the morning, while the fog is just lifting from the field, and see deer grazing with their fawns.
It's a pleasure to watch rabbits and groundhogs (and just about any other meadow animal you can think of) so close to my home that I feel like I'm living on the prairie.
It is, however, a bit unnerving to see a coyote. Just when I think one is gone, another one is back again.
I'm not like a lot of the people in my neighborhood who are terrified of these animals. Or like those who hate them. I'm just afraid for our pets. My dogs are safe. They're fenced've seen my yard. I've seen lots of my neighbor's cats out and about though.
Anyway, last year, some unfeeling person shot our coyote. Instead of feeling relieved for the outdoor cats, I felt sad. I guess I just feel like we've forced some animals to co-exist with us... whether they like it or not.
It is not a pleasure to look out into the field in the early morning and watch the coyote pounce on another furry creature. I don't want to see that kind of nature in action. I always wonder if I should take dog food into the woods and leave it for the coyote so she won't be hungry. My husband says it's not a good idea. So does my son who's an expert on fish and wildlife.
In the winter, I always wonder if I should take corn out for the deer. It's a constant debate in my mind. I never know what's right or what's wrong. What would you do?


Parsley August 2, 2009 at 5:29 PM  

Let nature be;that's all we can do. We have many hungry coyotes around and I shudder to think what has happened to the bunnies of the past we have rescued and released.

Linda August 2, 2009 at 7:21 PM  

We have heard many times not to feed wild animals. Guess it is best for them, but makes you feel bad when you have a really bad winter & the deer are eating every twig you have on your land. We have seen them dig down into snow a few feet looking for tidbits to eat.
We have coyotes around here too. People should never let their cats outdoors, coyotes will get them for sure.
Luv & Wirey Hugs,
Butchy, Snickers, Ruby, Sylvester & Scuby

Paula August 2, 2009 at 7:57 PM  

I feel exactly the same way. Mostly I say let nature be, they have taken care of themselves in the wild forever....however having said that, us humans have also taken alot of their food and water rights away from them. So unless it is a case of them having nothing to eat I would leave them be.

SquirrelQueen August 2, 2009 at 9:06 PM  

I have observed coyotes as well as many other animals in the wild. I have been within two feet of a coyote, he was far more afraid of me than I of him.

You say you don't like to watch them hunt in the meadows, but would you rather have an over population of the field mice or rabbits. Nature when left on her own controls populations. It is all part of the natural order of things. The strongest will survive and the species will continue.

A coyote will not come in your yard and willfully kill a cat or small dog. They kill to survive or protect themselves or their young . Anyone with small animals should keep them in at night. Raccoons are also a danger to small pets.

There is no reason to be afraid of coyotes. as long as one uses common sense.

Tweedles -- that's me August 2, 2009 at 9:06 PM  

The forest land was logged around our wilderness property. The land was stripped naked. It was not replanted. Natural shelters for the animals disappeared when the logging began. Luckily, our forest on our 7 acres is still here. The wild forest animals have moved onto our paradise. The cougar that I chased away by screaming, her habitat is gone. The deer hide they fawns in our plants. We do put out watermelon for the deer to eat, but basically we lit everything live their life. We do not want to see anything be eatin by another animal, or to die by starvition.
Sometimes its better to keep your head in the sand. I do that alot!

Jan Mader August 2, 2009 at 9:26 PM  

You are all so right. Mother Nature isn't always kind, just efficient.

I really don't worry about the coyote coming into our can't. I wish everyone WOULD keep their small pets in at night, but that's out of my control.

This animal blog is truly serving it's purpose. Your responses and ideas are helpful. Since I know you all love animals as much as I do, what you say means a lot to me.

Thank you for your feedback. Jan

Miss Janet August 2, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

Sounds glorious!!!!!!

I put a true story on my blog about a raccoon. Have you seen it? It'll make ya laugh.

2cats August 2, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

We feed the deer in the winter. Even the DNR say it is Ok to do this. Sometimes the snow gets so deep that the deer have a hard time getting around to eat. We do not however, feed them in the summer. Leaving corn out in the summer only invites the unwanted guests to our table. We have had the coyote come into our yard. We have had wolves within feet of our house. The bear almost knock on the door. We are extra careful.

Jan Mader August 2, 2009 at 11:08 PM  

I forget where you live...I'm going to have to go see. Your yard seems like it could be quite an adventure!

I like what the DNR told you about winter. That sounds like a good answer too. I wonder if it veries from state to state? We have some pretty cold winters here in Ohio, but no wolves or bears!

Jan Mader August 2, 2009 at 11:18 PM  

Oh deer...I mean dear...

In the post above I meant to say, "I wonder if it varies from state to state?"

Please excuse the typo!

sandy August 5, 2009 at 8:42 AM  

I spent quite a bit of time researching for you on ODNR's site, which is a really nice site by the way. Anyway, from what I read I would say they most definately do not want people feeding Deer in this area. There are several different types of hunting licenses, several differnt seasons, and zones. Each type of license permits a different period of time, a different type of hunt. It varies too for country and urban hunting. Urban, like in city parks (and I believe personal land), has a season with what seemed a higher number of kills. The over population is a problem which makes the animals less healthy because food is more scares; but also because they don't have a natural preditor.

A few years back I know they rounded up a large number of Deer and transported them elsewhere to try and thin the heard, then another year they added to the hunting season and upped the number people could have, as a means of control. It seems they make yearly adjustments. It also seemed the variance might be even more local then state to state. I saw directives for certain counties; which seems to be a positive thing--in that what is appropriate in one area really isn't in another.

Back when we camped, hiked, and backpacked alot; we always attended the wonderful Ranger lead programs and they always said no one should feed any wild animal. It makes them weak, they depend on it and forget how to hunt and feed themselves. It also makes then less afraid of humans which puts them in danger. Food left out draws them in, they then venture into more populated areas where they smell food, often then are shot because something happens. They were referring to camping areas naturally; but people who live on the edges of parks often have the same problem.

Don Scott Airport is a park like setting (woods sorta), and had a coyote problem 2 years ago; children playing on a swing set had a near incident, a couple of dogs went missing. Believe they hunted it after that. As I recall from a co-worker who lived there during this, some of the yards that backed into the area weren't fenced which obviously made the problem worse.


Anonymous August 5, 2009 at 5:17 PM  

It's usually not a great idea to feed the wildlife. Many animals become dependent on our hand-outs and lose the ability or desire to fend for themselves and to move out of the local area in search of food. When times get tough, they may starve and, when the pickings are good, they may become a nuisance, invading the domestic sphere and over populating their species.

Even our backyard birds can become dependent on bird seed and syrup to their detriments, unfortunately. They will not leave the area to seek out other sources of food and, especially for hummingbirds, can starve or develop weakened immune systems from an unbalanced (but easy) diet.

Nature does take care of this, though, if left to her own devices. She isn't very sympathetic or soft-hearted. She's pretty ruthless and very efficient but the balance is maintained so no one species becomes too numerous.

That said, I do feed our birds in the late winter/early spring when pickings are slim and the breeding season begins. I do not, however, carry the feeding over to the other seasons. If I did, I would be obligated to feed them all year around, having habituated them to my bird feeders and having thus prevented many of them from traveling on their normal migratory routes in search of food and nesting spots.

Jan Mader August 6, 2009 at 7:44 AM  

I would never feed the animals when the picking are plentiful, but like you,seawaif2, it's a different story for me when it's 20 dgrees below zero and there's four feet of snow on the ground. Sometimes Mother Nature needs a little nudge despite what the DNR thinks.

I'm guided by my heart not the DNR.

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