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When there are guardian dogs on the range, the coyotes tend to stay away.


Each new grazing job has its own challenges


By Carolina Noya


One of the great joys of living on the range with your herd is you get to spend a lot of time with the guardian dogs. The guardian dogs are such a big part of our operation — without them we wouldn’t survive, literally and financially. We deal with all kind of predators — foxes, bobcats, coyotes, bears and mountain lions. As a contract weed grazer we travel from ranch to ranch, cov- ering various areas with different challenges at each place. When we arrive at a new place we have to train the predators to our presence. If it is a ranch where we’ve been before, the predators and wild- life are familiar with us being there. The deer will stick around the herd close enough so they are protected by our dogs, without the dogs bothering them. The coyotes will have enough sense to move to another pasture as soon as they hear the dogs bark. Every ranch is managed differently, so sometimes we are on a place where there is lots of feed for livestock and wildlife. If that’s the case, it seems the predators are less likely to stick around. When we move into a new pasture, the coyotes sound really close until the dogs start moving in on them and you will hear the coyotes further and further away, while the dogs are in their pursuit. It is very reassuring to lie in camp and hear the dogs at work during the night. If there is a lot of feed on the ground, there’ll be lots of rabbits and deer, so the predators will decide it is easier to deal with them rather than bother the goats and deal with the dogs. They may try and sneak in but most likely it will not be worth it to them to challenge the dogs when there are plenty of fawns around that don’t have the protection of the dogs. When we move to an area that has less cattle and wildlife feed on the ground, the predators seem much more brazen. It seems, the less feed there is for wildlife, the less feed there is for predators so when we arrive, the predators stick around the herd because it is worth it to them.


They are very resourceful when they are hungry. One morning we left the bedding grounds, which is right next to our camp. In the near distance we heard coyotes howl, so two of our dogs left the herd,


12 Goat Rancher | January 2021


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