Coyotes and bobcats provide hunting “opportunities”

[It’d sound like a joke, if it weren’t so sickening.]

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/oct/29/coyotes-and-bobcats-provide-hunting-opportunities/

By Keith Sutton

This article was published October 29, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

Jim Spencer of Calico Rock is shown with a bobcat he killed in Saline County. Hunting these big cats can be a very challenging endeavor.

Jim Spencer of Calico Rock is shown with a bobcat he killed in Saline County. Hunting these big cats can be a very challenging endeavor.

 Among the many game animals available to Arkansas hunters, few are more challenging and exciting to pursue as our big predators, the coyote and bobcat. Seasons for both are open now through the end of February, with a daily limit of two for bobcats and no bag limit on coyotes.

Both species are extremely cautious and have keen senses, facts that make them difficult to hunt successfully. But coyotes and bobcats have a weakness hunters can exploit. When they hear the sounds of an injured rabbit, they often throw caution to the wind and charge in for what they think will be an easy meal.

Whenever a predator catches a rabbit, the normally silent cottontail shrieks in fear and pain. It will do the same if it happens to get caught in a trap, a fence, by a snake or when it is accidentally injured. Coyotes and bobcats know this sound, and a hunter who imitates the rabbit’s pitiful squealing using a predator call can bring his quarry near enough for a killing shot.

Rodents such as mice are also diet staples for predators, so modern call makers have produced short-range rodent-squeak calls, too. However, because a dying rabbit sound is loud, carries very well over a long range and is so well recognized by predators, this is the sound most used. It is effective everywhere.

Many hunters learn to use handheld, mouth-blown calls, which are inexpensive and easy to learn how to use. Others choose electronic predator callers, which play dying rabbit sounds. Both are effective.

To begin your hunt, position yourself strategically in an area known to contain predators. You should sit (not stand) so that you can see well over a broad expanse, but never on the skyline where you are easily spotted. Sit against something, not behind it.

Wear camouflage clothing (jacket, pants, hat, head and face net, gloves), and break up your outline by blending in with a tree, bush or rocky outcropping. Walk to the calling area quietly, and try to follow a direct route so you don’t wander around the area in which you intend to call and frighten your quarry.

The best times of day are around dawn and early-morning hours, and in the late afternoon up until dark. All predators also move and hunt at night. However, in Arkansas, coyotes may only be hunted during daylight hours, and dogs are required to hunt bobcats at night.

Calling is best when there is little or no wind, which is one reason to recommend the first light of day, normally a period of calm. If there is any significant air current, the call carries farthest in the direction, downwind, where you don’t want it to go. Any predator coming into the wind is going to whiff your scent. Commercial cover scents are helpful in masking human odor and should be used, but don’t expect them to be infallible. Your best insurance is to have the prevailing wind at the back of your quarry rather than yours, blowing your scent away from the animal’s keen nose.

If you will hunt on cool, overcast days or during winter months, animals are more likely to be foraging for food, and responses may be had all day long. Predator calling when snow is on the ground and wind is severe is extremely effective. This is a difficult time for the animals to find food, and their caution sometimes diminishes in direct proportion.

The firearm you choose for this kind of hunting depends mostly on your individual preference. Arkansas regulations permit bobcats and coyotes to be taken with archery equipment, firearms of any caliber or shotguns using any size shot. Because most hunters hope to sell the pelts of the animals they kill, however, they opt to hunt with rifles in the .22 class. Choices range from the .22 Hornet and .221 Fireball to the .222, .222 magnum, .223 and the .22-250, all proven fur takers. Single-shot hunting handguns are also chambered in most of these calibers and add a more challenging dimension to the sport.

When you begin calling, don’t let your enthusiasm destroy the reality of the drama you are attempting to create. Calling too loud and too long are no-nos. Call just enough to get the animal’s attention.

When a rabbit is first hurt, it can make a lot of loud noise. But as it tires, its squalling decreases in volume and frequency. Duplicate that sequence. Use a loud volume at first but not very long. From then on, use intervals of low volume, as this makes the animal less wary and more intrigued. Gradually taper your calling in length and intensity.

If you don’t get action within an hour, you should move. If a coyote is nearby, it will generally show in a hurry, within 15 minutes or less. A bobcat is more furtive. Sometimes it takes half an hour or more for one, sneaking and slinking, to make an appearance.

When a predator approaches within sight, remember that this is now a swap-out, because you, the caller, are also vulnerable, and when the animal comes close, many things can go wrong, and something usually does. In most confrontations, the predator emerges as winner.

When you spot an animal approaching, quit calling immediately. Remain motionless and silent until you’re ready to shoot. If the animal starts to move away from you, a short call probably will put him back on course, but time such calls to coincide with the moments when your target can’t see you.

If you’re spotted, be ready to react at once. You can’t shoot a coyote with a varmint call, so keep your gun in a ready position. If you have a hunting partner, all the better. Have him ready while you’re calling. When frightened, a coyote or bobcat moves out a whole lot faster than he moved in.

Predator calling know-how, at least on paper, sounds simple enough. But once in the field, application doesn’t seem so easy. The caller finds himself nagged by self-doubts. Is he calling in the proper way? In the right place? Can he really make it work?

This is the learning process every caller must go through. Experience leads to confidence, and self-confidence is the trail to success.

You can expect the unexpected from predator hunting. It offers its own brand of thrills and is a sport that challenges the outdoor savvy of the most skilled hunters. It teaches patience, tolerance and humility. And it is the only trip afield where the hunter deliberately becomes the hunted.

No, it isn’t easy. But predator hunting is fascinating, challenging and suspenseful. And once you call up a wildcat or a yodel dog, there’s no cure except to go calling every chance you get.

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DEC revising permit requirement for bobcat hunting, trapping

http://www.pressrepublican.com/sports/outdoors/dec-revising-permit-requirement-for-bobcat-hunting-trapping/article_477122d4-fa01-5a3e-a07f-cbe927dd59d9.html

DATA: New York hunters and trappers no longer required to obtain special permit

RAY BROOK — Having collected enough data on bobcat populations, a special permit will no longer be necessary for hunting and trapping bobcats in certain parts of western New York.

But hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats in designated Harvest Expansion Areas (HEAs) are still required to have a hunting or trapping license and to have the animal pelt sealed, according to a press release.

REGULATION HISTORY

Upon completion of the Bobcat Management Plan in 2012, regulations were adopted to establish a hunting and trapping season in select Wildlife Management Units in central and western New York, referred to as the “Harvest Expansion Area.”

In areas open to bobcat hunting and trapping, individuals are required to have a license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” — have a plastic tag affixed by DEC staff — after harvest.

However, to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA, licensed hunters and trappers were also required to obtain a free special permit from their regional wildlife office.

SUFFICIENT DATA

This requirement allowed biologists to collect information on participation, harvest, harvest pressure — number of days afield, number of traps set, etc. — through a diary or “log,” and to collect biological samples.

This robust data set allows biologists to assess the status of the bobcat population and evaluate harvest.

After three seasons of data collection, sufficient information on harvest pressure and take has been collected and the special permit is no longer needed.

Bobcat hunting and trapping regulations can be viewed on DEC’s website at on.ny.gov/2tS2sNO for hunting and on.ny.gov/2tORSbO for trapping.

The Notice of Adoption for the revised regulation can be viewed in the New York State Register at on.ny.gov/2ulcpVZ.

Coyote Chronicles

FEBRUARY 2016

Yesterday Project Coyote and allies filed suit in Oregon challenging the authority of the USDA Wildlife Services program to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. The legal challenge comes just weeks after a federal court ruled that Wildlife Services’ controversial wolf killing program in Washington is illegal.

Earlier this week Project Coyote NH/VT Representative Chris Schadler testified before the NH Fish and Game Commission challenging a proposal to open a season on bobcats in New Hampshire which would allow hunting, trapping, baiting and hounding of a species that has been protected statewide since 1989.

Also on Monday evening, on the opposite coast, Project Coyote representatives and supporters testified at a Wolf Conservation Planning meeting in Sacramento, California pressing for a science-based approach to wolf recovery in California and a plan that recognizes the ecological importance of these apex predators.

Across the country we continue to press for better protections for our important apex predators while we work with communities to promote coexistence through our Coyote Friendly Communities and Ranching With Wildlife Programs. Read more about these efforts below. And please join us in celebrating our first honoree for Project Coyote’s Wildlife Stewardship Award – former President of the California Fish and Game Commission – Michael Sutton.

For the Wild,
Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director


Lawsuit Challenges Wildlife Services’ Authority to Kill Wolves in Oregon

As states take over management of wolves, USDA Wildlife Services is the go-to federal agency for lethal wolf control. Project Coyote and allies challenged the authority Wildlife Services to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, our complaint contends that Wildlife Services failed to explain why killing wolves on behalf of livestock interests should replace common-sense, proactive and nonlethal alternatives such as those reflected in the Oregon Gray Wolf Management Plan. The National Environmental Policy Act requires both this analysis and public disclosure. In Oregon and Washington, Wildlife Services completed vague plans to target wolves for livestock depredations but failed to justify why nonlethal alternatives would be inadequate.

Read More


Grant McComb rallies youth to support wolves in California

Protecting Wolves in California

Now that wolves are protected under the CA Endangered Species Act and the first breeding pair has been established in the state since their extirpation in the 1920s, the state is developing a state Wolf Conservation Plan that will guide management decisions as gray wolves recolonize their native home. However, the current plan could lead to the removal of vital protections for wolves before the state’s wolf population is stable. As a member of the CA Wolf Coalition, Project Coyote has joined with our allies in pressing for a strong plan that emphasizes proactive recovery, best available science and innovative approaches to conflict mitigation. CA residents: if you’ve not already commented, please take a moment to submit an online comment to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife urging them to follow through with strong safeguards that will protect wolves across California for generations to come (comments accepted until Feb. 15th).

Comment


Bobcat © Daniel Dietrich

The bobcat is the most widespread wildcat in North America. But by the 1980s, their numbers throughout much of their historic range had dwindled due to bounties, hunting and trapping. In 1989, the bobcat became a fully protected species in New Hampshire. In October of 2015, pressure from the hunting and trapping lobby resulted in a NH Fish and Game Commission vote in favor of initiating rule-making to establish a bobcat hunting, trapping, baiting and hounding season, to include the issuance of 50 permits (for NH residents only) via a lottery system. In her testimony before the Commission, Project Coyote’s Chis Schadler stated “As a conservation biologist I can state that there is no biological reason to hunt the bobcat, or any other predator; predators regulate themselves,” as reported by NH Public Radio.

Read More


Marilyn McGee leads a presentation on coexistence.

Through our Coyote Friendly Communities and our Ranching with Wildlife programs Project Coyote works with communities across America to promote coexistence and reduce negative encounters between people and wildlife both in urban and rural landscapes. Our representatives provide presentations and workshops on topics from Living with Coyotes to Understanding Native Carnivores, Ranching with Wildlife and Hazing Coyotes. In San Francisco, Project Coyote’s Gina Farr recently provided a workshop about coyote hazing for city residents. Camilla Fox will provide a free presentation – Wild Things: Co-Existing With North America’s Native Carnivores – at the Presidio’s Officers Club on Feb. 4th (more info. here). Project Coyote NM Rep. and East Coast Representatives Chris Shadler, John Maguranis, Stacey Evans and Marilyn McGee are providing presentations across the Eastern Seaboard, promoting Project Coyote’s mission and message of compassionate coexistence..

Find an event near you


Camilla Fox presents Michael Sutton with Project Coyote's Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Project Coyote’s Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Michael Sutton, former President of the California Fish and Game Commission, was honored with Project Coyote’s 2015 Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award for his exemplary leadership in promoting compassionate conservation, stewardship and peaceful coexistence between people and wildlife in California and beyond. Sutton is a social entrepreneur and internationally respected conservation leader who has worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Governor Schwarzenegger twice appointed Sutton to the California Fish & Game Commission, where he served from 2007-2015. He was instrumental in creating the nation’s largest network of marine protected areas. He was elected President for two years and presided over the Commission’s action to list the Gray Wolf as endangered in California, ban wildlife-killing contests statewide, and implement legislation prohibiting the use of toxic lead ammunition for all hunting.

See Sutton in Action

OTHER NEWS

LookingRight_AdeleBrand_coyote

Inside the US agency charged with killing a ‘mindboggling’ number of animals

After anti-government protesters took over Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this month to support two ranchers convicted of arson, it emerged that the convicts, Steven and Dwight Hammonds, had received thousands of dollars in financial support from the federal government. Read More

FKR-CC-ChuqVonRospach-Bobcat-square

How cruelty killed the bobcat

You’ve probably never seen a bobcat. It’s an elusive creature that’s about two to three times the size of a house cat – a feline with distinctive spotted fur that’s coveted around the world. Read more

Editorial: Veto bobcat hunting bill

http://chicago.suntimes.com/editorials-opinion/7/71/666314/editorial-veto-bill-allow-bobcat-hunting-illinois

Written By Sun-Times Editorial Board Posted: 06/07/2015, 03:39pm
(AP Photo/The Wildlife Center, Alissa Mundt)

If lawmakers can’t tell the different between a saber-toothed tiger, which preyed on elephants and rhinos, and a bobcat, which eats mice and rats, it’s no wonder the Legislature passed a foolish bill to allow bobcat hunting in Illinois.

EDITORIAL

Gov. Bruce Rauner should veto the bill before lawmakers start comparing the shy, elusive bobcats to marauding dragons.

Bobcats have only recently recovered from the overhunting that put them on Illinois’ threatened species list, but they are not back in large numbers. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Legislature from voting to allow bobcat hunting again for the first time in 40 years.

One lawmaker during the debate compared bobcats to the fearsome saber-toothed tiger. Another lawmaker called bobcats ferocious. To hear the debate, laments the Humane Society of the United States, you wouldn’t know there’s no record of a bobcat killing a human — ever.

The bobcats, though, are at risk — of being caught in leghold traps that can cause them to suffer for hours or of dying in other painful ways.

The real reason people want to hunt bobcats is because they make good trophies and their valuable spotted pelts can be sold on the international market. That’s not a good enough reason to put the species in jeopardy again. People in other countries can make their mittens out of something else.

At first the House of Representatives voted to reject this law, but then flip-flopped and passed it narrowly. They had it right the first time.

Let’s hope Gov. Rauner knows the difference between a saber-toothed tiger and a bobcat and vetoes this bill.

End Bobcat Trapping in California

https://takeaction.takepart.com/actions/end-bobcat-trapping-in-california

(Photo:mlorenzphotography/Getty Images)

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

About the Letter

Over the past few years, a rising demand for bobcat pelts in China and Russia has driven up fur prices and caused a boom in bobcat trapping in California. As a result, trappers have been targeting the boundaries of national parks, luring the cats out of these safe havens and into their deadly snares and cages. The California legislature passed the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 to protect our parks and wildlife from such commercial exploits. Yet the problem continues because trapping continues in other parts of the state and because the law has yet to be truly enforced.

The California Fish and Game Commission is tasked with this rule making, and one option it is now seriously considering is a statewide ban on all bobcat trapping. But the commission will only choose that option if it hears loud and clear that we value our wildlife alive—not trapped, killed, skinned, and exported to be worn as fur coats in Moscow or Beijing.

Take action—urge the commission to protect these ecologically important California natives by banning all bobcat trapping throughout the state.

https://takeaction.takepart.com/actions/end-bobcat-trapping-in-california

Killing Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes for Fun and Profit

Killing Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes for Fun and Profit

 

Dead coyotes in a cage on top of a truck at the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest

Standing in a West Texas sporting goods store parking lot on a recent Sunday morning, Margaret Lloyd felt like she’d wandered onto the set of a gory movie. The lot was packed with trucks full of dead coyotes, foxes and the occasional bobcat; one pickup had a cage welded to its bed, and it was crammed with carcasses. “It was one wave of fur, tails on top of ears and ears on top of tails,” she said. “It was just horrifying.”

Around back, participants in the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest were weighing their kill in a competition to see who had shot the biggest bobcat and the most coyotes, gray foxes and bobcats in a 23-hour period. Some $76,000 in prize money was at stake — more than $31,000 went to the team that bagged a 32 pound bobcat. Other jackpot winners were a four-man team that killed 63 foxes, a team that killed 8 bobcats, and another that killed 32 coyotes.

Photo of Geoff Nemnich of Coyote Craze with his sons

Lloyd, a retired lawyer who lives in Galveston, grew up in the South among hunters and says she’s not opposed to killing animals for food or to protect a herd.

“This is not hunting,” she said. “This is a blood sport, plain and simple.”

Contests like these — often called coyote calling contests, varmint hunts or predator hunts — have become popular events, especially in the Midwest and West. The website CoyoteContest.com lists 21 states with upcoming or recent killing contests, including Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota and Utah.

The Big Bobcat competition in San Angelo, Texas started in 2008 with just 21 teams, but drew 380 teams to the contest last month. “They’re growing exponentially,” said Geoff Nemnich, a champion coyote hunter who is cashing in on the phenomenon. His website, Coyote Craze, exhorts visitors to “Feed Your Addiction” and offers videos of coyotes being dispatched by high-powered weapons, along with t-shirts that read “Coyotes Fear Me,” and depict dead coyotes hanging by their feet. “Almost every weekend you can find [a contest] somewhere within driving distance,” he said.

Dead coyotes at the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest

But as these contests proliferate, efforts to stop them are, too. In December, California Fish and Game Commission outlawed contests that award prizes for killing wildlife (the ban takes effect in April). Legislation to bar such contests passed the New Mexico state senate but died in the house. In Nevada, a petition to prohibit predator-killing contests is pending before the state Board of Wildlife Commissioners. And protesters blasting the events as indiscriminate slaughter have been demonstrating outside of contests and related events, like the Predator Masters convention in Arizona in January.

Wildlife defenders cite research that suggests killing adult coyotes may actually increase the population, since it allows more pups to survive. Predators like coyotes also fill an important role in the ecosystem by helping keep the population of rodents in check.

Jeremy Harrison, a fifth-generation rancher, organized the Big Bobcat contest in Texas. He said coyote contests do a public service by reducing the number of livestock predators and protecting the public from rabies. “This is not bashing baby seals in the head,” he said.

To those who are offended, he has simple advice: Butt out. “It’s none of their business. It has nothing to do with them,” he said. “It’s one of the best things about this beautiful state of Texas. We have 100 percent support from Texas and from the local people. If they don’t like it, they can just stay away from it.”

Opponents of these events call people like Harrison “thrill killers.” And there is a jarring sort of gleefulness that surrounds the slaughter — one Arizona group holds a Santa Slay hunt in December each year. Nemnich posts excerpts from his videos, which are sold at Cabela’s and similar stores, on YouTube. Set to stirring martial music, one sizzle reel shows coyote after coyote being called and then gunned down.

Photo of Margaret Lloyd

Nemnich, who said his videos portray hunting “in the best light possible”, encourages others not to post “distasteful” images because it will provoke animal rights groups or turn people who are neutral against hunting. “You don’t go and post a video of a coyote with his guts blown out on Facebook,” he said. “It just fuels the fire.”

Nemnich, who boasts on his website that two of his sons bagged their first coyotes at the age of five, said he gets a steady stream of hate mail. One message said his kids should be “gut shot” like the coyotes in the video. (“And I’m the barbarian?” he said.) He thinks the critics of coyote killing contests have a bigger agenda — to ban hunting altogether. “We’re killing animals for money and prizes. That’s the easiest way for them to get their foot in the door,” he said.

Both Nemnich and Harrison pointed out that the federal government kills thousands of coyotes each year. They said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division uses much less “sportsmanlike” means, such as poisons and leg-hold traps.

Contests are completely legal, Nemnich said. “Some may consider it ethically wrong, but hunting has been around forever, it’s who we are out in this part of the country.”

Lloyd stopped to take pictures of the bobcat contest while driving from New Mexico back to Texas.

She said the spectacle was sickening, not a source of pride. With a breaking voice she said, “It was a sight and a situation that I’ll never shake for the rest of my life. I will never forget what I saw. A parking lot of absolute death at the hands of a civilized society.” She paused, and then corrected herself: “A supposedly civilized society.”

Photos of the winners of the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest, February 2014

Myron Levin and Stuart Silverstein contributed to this story.

Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that the Santa Slay event is in New Mexico. It takes place in Arizona.

– See more at: http://www.fairwarning.org/2015/03/mowing-down-coyotes-bobcats-and-foxes-for-fun-and-profit/#sthash.uqKtzwU2.dpuf

Unsworth is Unworthy for Washington Wildlife

The Governor must First approve Unsworth as the new Director of WDFW…..We can’t let this happen!! He’s an avowed wolf hater!! Here is WA Governor Inslee’s contact info…PLEASE call the Governor ASAP and Say NO to Unsworth!!!
http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/interact/
More info from Jerry:
Idaho exported George Pauley to Montana and now Jim Unsworth to Washington….two avowed wolf haters. Look what Pauley has done in Montana and you can expect the same from Unsworth. To my knowledge Unsworth does not have a fisheries background which you’d think would be very important with the very complicated fisheries situation we have in Washington….seems that didn’t matter to the commissioners. Would like to know which commissioners voted for him…
….

Meanwhile in Illinois, Proof that Governors can occasionally do good things for wildlife, Illinois Gov. just vetoed a bill that would have allowed bobcat hunting there:

Gov. Quinn vetoes bill to allow Illinois bobcat hunting

Sunday, January 11, 2015 04:27PM

Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday vetoed a bill to allow bobcat hunting in Illinois for the first time in more than 40 years, saying the small, nocturnal cats “continue to need protection” even though they have been removed from the threatened species list.

Quinn issued a brief statement in which he said allowing hunting would violate a responsibility to maintain Illinois wildlife.

“Bobcats are a valuable part of Illinois’ ecosystem and continue to need protection,” he said.

His decision ignores the recommendation of the state Department of Natural Resources, which supported a hunting season as a way to help in long-term management of the species…

http://abc7chicago.com/news/gov-quinn-vetoes-bill-to-allow-illinois-bobcat-hunting-/470922/

[Just how hunting them would help the bobcats was not clear, but the misguided policy falls in line with wildlife “management” actions nationwide.

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Bobcat fur farm wants to move to Montana

GREAT FALLS – The owners of a commercial bobcat fur farm are looking to
relocate from the bustling oilfield region in western North Dakota to a
quieter area in central Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park is taking public comments on the proposed
150-foot-by-140-foot animal facility where bobcats would be housed in
separate pens inside the facility near Roy in Fergus County.

Larry Schultz, who owns the business with his wife, says the facility would
raise bobcats for their furs, which would be sold in the commercial fur
industry worldwide.

Schultz says that bobcat fur is used for trim, hats and coats in some
countries.

Schultz says noise and dust from oil drilling near their farm in Arnegard in
western North Dakota isn’t good for raising bobcats.

http://www.kxlf.com/news/fwp-asks-for-public-comment-on-bobcat-fur-farm-prop
osal/

D-CON: the Poison that Keeps on Killing

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Earlier this month, my wife and I tried out a job as caretakers of a river front lodge in the heart of the Oregon Coast Range. It sounded idyllic, but on closer examination we found that the whole place was overrun by rats and mice. They had made themselves at home in the “trophy lodge’s” basement, attic, and furnace room and even throughout the heat ducting system (which—judging by the smell—they must have considered their own private out house).

Had the lodge owner even hinted at the “rodent situation” (as he later put it) ahead of time, we would never have moved our cats and dog in without first asking if there had been any poisons used around there. Well, it turns out there had—someone put fresh d-CON in all the heating vents, and who knows where else around the “estate.”

Among the sinister side effects of d-CON is that it kills slowly and stays in the victim’s body, allowing them to wander far from the source before a predator or scavenger consumes them, spreading the poison to an entire food chain. Needless to say, we gathered up our companion animals and got the hell out of there.

But about a week after we got back home, our worst fears were realized. One of our adopted cats, Caine, a gray tabby in the prime of his life with a black belt in the art of mousing, started showing the tell-tale symptoms of d-CON poisoning. He refused to eat or drink and slept round the clock. His lethargy grew more pronounced until he eventually tuned everyone else out, as though preparing to pass on. If we hadn’t rushed him to the vet, where he received IV fluids and an emergency injection of vitamin K to counter-act the lethal anti-coagulant agent in the poison, he would have died like so many other wild and domestic animals (including people) before him.

The problem is so extensive that the manufacturers of d-CON recently agreed to stop production of this particular rodenticide.  Though it’s now banned in California, stockpiles still exist in stores throughout the rest of the country. And this insidious gold-standard—this household name in “pest control”—has surely found its way to all corners of the globe by now and will keep doing its damage for years to come. How many cats, bobcats and cougars, dogs, coyotes, mink, ermine, opossum, raccoons, owls, hawks and eagles will suffer a drawn-out death from this pervasive poison before the sale of d-CON is completely discontinued?

In a way, Caine was one of the lucky few. Most rodent-eaters don’t have companion humans who care about them enough to nurse them back to health.

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