Rabbits, groundhogs, and feral dogs (Oh My!)
I usually only blog about woodworking, mostly because I personally find that far more interesting than the daily monotony that is homesteading (weeding, collecting eggs, trimming hooves, etc…). This has been an interesting couple of weeks though.
I don’t consider myself a violent person, I’m very slow to anger, and make it a point not to pick fights. And I dont like to kill anything, and try very hard not to do it unless it’s for food. Now thats not to say I can’t apply violence when it is absolutely necessary.
I grew up hunting a bit with a trusty BB gun, like many boys, and am actually a pretty consistently good shot with a rifle or shotgun. During college I did start training as a martial artist and kept it up for about 5-6 years and earned a black belt (I recently started training again, mostly for fitness). Those skills served me well on the farm this week….
Last year when we moved into our farmstead we had a goose problem, and not a minor one! Anyone who owns a body of water can testify that these things can be pests. Not matter what the migratory bird act says, these geese live in the area year round. So after much convincing, my wife finally relented and agreed that it would be ok for me to get an air rifle and encourage the geese to move along, and it’s been fairly effective.
This last 2 weeks that thing has been the farm MVP!
Since we moved in we’ve also had a problem with a ground hog living under our house (our sun room)… this presents a number of problems. 1. He eats all sorts of greens we want for ourselves. 2. He smells. 3. if he eventually expires under the sun room, he would REALLY smell.
Lets just say he is no longer a problem, and no, we didn’t eat him, but only because he was pretty old.
Despite our best efforts with electric fencing, we developed a rabbit problem in the garden. After he decimated two plantings of green beans and most of the lettuce patch my wife agreed he had to go. If you need a good rabbit recipe I highly recommend Jamie Oliver’s E.F.R. Essex Fried Rabbit (Jamie at Home Page 277) it was wonderful!
All that leads up to today….
At around 8:45 this morning I get a knock on our door. Someone driving by letting me know that one of our alpaca’s had gotten out. I threw shoes on and ran outside. Looking in the field I only see one alpaca running around (we have 2). But I see a medium short haired type dog and a large one what looks to be a cross between a great dane and a doberman chasing the other one. As I run toward the field I grab the nearest tool I can find, a pitch fork.
As I enter the field the doberman charges me with teeth bared. He lunges at me once and I manage to keep him away with the pitch fork end. The next time I jab with the pitchfork he manages to dart inside…. thank goodness for bo staff training… instinct and training kicks in and I mange to transform my jab to a reverse upward strike with the handle that clocks him full in the head and knocks him back. WAY TO CLOSE! I really dont want to go through rabies treatment!
At this point, I back off and go grab the air rifle hoping I can encourage them to leave from a distance. But I need to do it quick, I’ve still got a alpaca running around the city and I really hope she is ok!
I take 5 shots from a distance and all 5 seem to hit. 2 into the smaller dog and he runs away, the last 3 go into the doberman. At this point the doberman limps away quickly and goes to the far corner of the field. The remaning aplaca seems to be able to keep away from him just fine so I hop in my car and go looking for our run away girl.
Long winded story short, she made it about a mile away and was very freaked out. With the help of a local sheriff we managed to catch her before she got hit by a car and I walked her home very slowly (did I mention she was freaked out?).
When I got her home finally the doberman was dead. Evidentially one of my shots was particularly effective.
Is there a take away from this? Every homesteader, even us, who live in suburbia, and just happen to have a few acres in the middle of it, need some wild animal defense. A projectile weapon of some sort, no matter how peaceful you are, is very handy. Also as my wife put it “yay for ninja skills”