Daemon Sisters (and Bear) Fight Off Coyotes
Robert Denlinger - Dec 11 1999
For the past week, there have been 14 (counted visually) Coyotes including four Coyote-Dog hybrids, making a loop around our farm. They swim the river from Burns Allen's farm and enter at my half-mile point which is what I call Ox-Trench. Then they cross the middle-field and hit the little two lane road, following same, skirting the main pastures, past the horse barn and turn towards the river just the other side of the Lamb-Barn fences.
A few nights ago, something unknown took a chunk of meat out of my ex-bottle baby, now a wether, #52. I couldn't sell him 4 months ago since he was kinda cute. Now he is the expert that leads the group of flighty replacement ewes around. He's got a sheep bell loosely attached around his wooly neck. Sounds rather nice as he bounces around.
So anyway, around an hour after dark, I heard a replacement ewe's "Help" bahh. I dashed out and saw Bear, the rescue Kuvasz, licking a bloody rear end of #52. Obviously, I considered that Bear may have done this in retribution for something like getting too close to Bear's food. But #52 doesn't so this, plus several other factors, so we've decided Bear and Callisto had run to that area, having heard the same noises I did.
Mary and I moved the replacement ewes, assisted by the BC's, to the semi-open "Shed". When that was done, I could hear the frantic calls of Callisto, to her sister, Capella. Callisto was, judging by the sound, at Ox-Trench. Her call was to her sister here in the X-Pen. With the advent of winter, I've moved the sheep to a routine of days in the fields with Capella and nights in the shed with Capella in her X-Pen and Callisto roaming. Bear stays with the replacement ewes as he has for many months. Thus, fearing that the Daemons would possibly carry a chase off the farm, I've let Capella rest at night and chanced running just one Kuvasz for general patrolling.
Where was I? -- Callisto at the Ox-Trench, oh yes ... I grabbed the powerful flashlight, combat shotgun, a zillion extra rounds, some warm-wear and the truck keys. Oh --plus THE BEAR!! Back-up, you know --always a good idea to have extra firepower. Mary ran an threw open the pasture-gates lest I charge right through them. Good thinking because Callisto sounded frantic and I didn't want her up against one-on-many. Zoom -- bounce - skid -- And Bear's breath was exacerbating the already frosted window interior. Couldn't see a thing! Bear sits upright, on the truck seat. He leans forwards and pants as he looks through the window. Big help ... Still, I "was" generally, heading in "that" direction ....Right? Well, not to worry, if I couldn't see anything and missed the spot, I'd surely drop into Ox-Trench and cease forward movement anyway. So, at least, I'd be there to assist Callisto ...
So we get there and I see green eyes reflecting from a "Something". I see Callisto bounce/lunging around "Something" and the "Something" lunging at Callisto. This Obje-de-predatore was maybe half the mass of Callisto. It had three or four inch coat-hair that was kinda like dread-locks. The color was sorta black with white. There was a fox-like snout, but not quite. The tail was long, maybe 15 to 18 inches. The last, perhaps, 5 inches of the tail was all white, ending at a pronounced tip. The teeth were definitely predator in nature.
Bear jumped over me and ran to Callisto. Callisto backed off. Bear jumped the thing, for a kill I guess. The thing attacked at Bear, but the lazy oaf found new energy and evaded. Meanwhile I was screaming at Bear to drop-it as I really didn't need him shredded up and getting any weird predator virus . Well, he finally widened the gap, a fraction. Then the darned thing tried me! Well that was a dumb mistake. Never did figure out what it was though.
Then the next night I decided that having one Kuvasz out alone was asking for trouble. So I put Bear in with the replacements, in the Lamb Barn. I turned Capella and Callisto out at a bit past dusk, or around six PM, or 1800 on my time. Mary and I were going to stake out a portion of the confirmed path at 1930, the confirmed crossing times for the past week. So we did. So we got cold doing it. We waited. We listened. Nothing. Nothing a half hour past the usual time-frame these predators have routinely made their forays. Zilch. So we went back to the compound. So the Daemon Sisters were no where to be seen or heard.
This is just what I feared. Namely, the two idiots would go off lolly-gagging around and leave the main compound unguarded -- Well, Bear was locked in with the replacements in that other barn. The main flock was right here in the shed outside the horse barn. And the three scream-at-anything-strange BC's were in X-Pens adjacent to the shed-sheep. But "Still", something "could" just happen to jump over the 6 foot side walls of the shed ... really! something "might" do that ... well I thought it "might" .Capella thought it wouldn't. I suppose the Kuvasz Training Manual - Esterhase Edition XIV mentions that it "Couldn't"... It didn't.
At 0130, many hours after the Daemons departed dastardly, I heard them bounce on the deck of the back side. At dawn I inspected them. Capella was exhausted. Callisto was limping slightly on the right front strut. Callisto also had teeth marks at the point-of-the-eye and along her muzzle. She had a scratch up the lower inside of her left rear strut. They slept the day.
Occasionally, Capella got up, made a run to the grazing sheep, and returned to sleep. The replacement young ewes, #52 and Bear, seemed cozy and happy to munch/sleep through the miserably rainy and cold day, in the lamb Barn. None were the slightest bit uncomfortable with Bear's presence. Then, last night, I decided against using two Kuv's to roam, for obvious reasons. Thus, I incorrectly assumed as we shall discover, I could get a full nights sleep.
Around 1930 to 2000, the BC's and Bear AND the Daemon's went into bark/warn mode. Capella, in her X-Pen, too. I went out to have a look. Callisto was screaming up at the hill, the other side of the two lane road the Coyote-Pack uses to circumnavigate the farm-main. "Hummmm", I mused, "They're taking a very surreptitious route tonight - rigorous climb to get up there ...".
A few minutes later, I heard a very loud report from Burns Allen's shotgun. He and I had discussed the problem earlier. I told him about the Coyote's taking the route around us and down the fence line between his house (this side of the river- his main pasture is the other side). And, although he hadn't lost a single calf, he was out to get the hoard anyway.
We all know why he doesn't loose any don't we??? He's the only one around that doesn't too!! Because, one or the other of the Daemons periodically swims over, makes a ten minute pass, then returns. He told me that he likes them to visit him over there during the day. He said he'll see one come up the bank, run through the field, then swim back. That area, if you hadn't guessed, is where the Pack comes from when they cross here at night.
At 0400, I was awakened by the BC-Drum-Roll --- They organized a small trio and ran through a few songs to get my attention. Rigalletto may have been abashed at their rendition of La Donna Mobile - Woman is fickle -- and don't harass me about the spelling, the sun isn't up yet .. Corey doesn't mind it when I sing it to him when we're jumping ... I said Pipe Down!! Stow It!! Anyway, I knew right away, that Callisto was down at Ox Trench. Now I know when the 13 (14 minus One) re-trace their respective footsteps ... She was screaming the "Hey Capella - Get here NOW!!" bark that I know very well.
Years went by, seemingly, as I struggled in the dark to don the appropriate 20 degree weather clothing. I grabbed the arsenal, flashlight, keys and ran to free Capella. She was already pointed that way and letting out a suppressed whine. I intended to take her in the truck with me. Bear was too far away and I felt time was the important factor to try and prevent Callisto's demise against the lousy odds. Capella had other ideas. Somewhere on a page in the previously referenced Kuvasz Manual, she remembered that a sprinting Kuvasz can cover a half-mile faster than a beaten up old Chevy truck with heavily frosted over windows.
Yup! When I got there, there was silence! And no Kuvasz! I stabbed the spotlight through the frosty air, several points of the compass. Aside from the steam of the exhaust and some ice-crystals, there was nothing to be seen nor heard. So I returned to the main gate and went out on the road. I drove (now that's a novelty - a truck instead of my usual horse) down to Old She Hollow, the end of my alfalfa field and the delineation of the farm.
Once out, I called and listened to my distinct echoes as the hills reverberated "Callie --- Pella" over and over. Zilch! Then I tried the spotlight making one sweep over the far corner of the hay field. Voilla!!!! Two pairs of yellow reflections, accompanied by two, stretched out Big-White-Dogs at a gallop, were heading my way! They seemed elated to get into the truck, now with a warm interior and the ever present frosty windows. Callisto helped me drive by standing in my lap and poking her nose at the air, scenting every thing that's gone on for the past hundred years, I guess. They were both dry, thus they hadn't left the farm, but merely run the fool coyotes off the farm again. Sorry to write so many words. Just thought I'd add some thoughts to the training realm of working LGD's from this end
Robert Denlinger December 14, 1999
At 12/13/99 20:00 Monday, Brigitte Botnick Scribbled:
...Even if your wonderful stories don't give us much to respond to (because we can't match them!), they are truly wonderful reminders to all of us as to what our LGDs should be like.
Hummm -- *should be like* -- hummmm, I say. I am still trying to figure out just what they think they should be like. Just when I get a handle on it, and things start flowing naturally around here, some lame Kuv finds another, as yet unread, page in some out of print Kuvasz LGD Manual, written in Sanskrit.
The synopsis, for those that just joined this ancient plot, the 13 (was 14) [might be 12 or 11 since the blood on Bear's ear the day before was not his]...... That pack anyway, skirted us on high ground yesterday evening. Shaanav, one of the mustangs, was alerting to the hillside to the north a hundred feet. Callisto was begging for me to open the main gate and *check-out the road, Master*.
I shined that portable torch out into the pasture the other side of the lambing paddock. I caught a huge pair of reflections at a point a couple of hundred feet, further away, from their original track they took to be near the Barn housing the replacement ewes at night.
Oh gee .... maybe I forgot to say that Bear sleeps in there with them --- and was also reminding them rather vociferously, that he had, as recent as the evening before, taken a chunk from one of them ... BEAR, weighing in over 140 pounds of table scrap delight says "Hey guys, that was fun .."
So, the fact that the Daemons have recently managed to escape my detection systems, during the day, has caused, for some unknown reason, the hungry coyote group to skirt us even wider. Mary and I have, somewhat shamelessly, laughed at a plan to get some friends with BWD's, like Gan, Bree, Leroy, et al, to come over. We'd hide them all until the usual predator probe time, 1930 hours. Then, all at once when they were in the gauntlet, we'd swing open the sixteen foot main gate and let them, all 7 or 8, make a dash to the pack ----yelling "Surprise, We're Baaaaackkk .." in Kuvasz language of course. Can you picture that? All that screaming: "Mine", "Mine" growl, snap.
Next ... Well, reality check -- the other farms are loosing calves, but not Burns Allen's because the girls look the near-ground over, rather often. Last night I ran out to see what was causing such a breaking of branches and commotion across the creek from this window. Callisto looked, sniffed, listened and growled but seemed perplexed. Whatever the Sam-Hill it was, must have been really big, really heavy and oh too close. Branches snapped, leaves crinkled, then rocks began to slide causing a mini-avalanche. The deer never do that and they *bound* anyway. Callisto didn't recognize what ever it was but was uneasy anyway. Sure must have been big. Been lucky so far.
The joking about is soon to cease as the *food* in the surrounds becomes depleted and we begin Lambing, next month. Still don't know what Capella and Bear got, either.