The Top 2 Rules About Wildlife on Our Homestead Property

We have a rule here on the homestead – everything here has a place in the cycle of life. Animals that we raise here are healthy, happy and enjoying life.

 

Weaner Piglet

 

Chickens enjoy their chickeness; pigs enjoy their pigness. They can go outside whenever they like, they can chase bugs and search for worms; they can plow up their pastures. Pretty much, whatever they like to do, they get to do it. This is Rule #1.

When it comes to wild animals, the same rules apply. Go forth and multiply (unless you are a rabbit – could you please start using condoms?). Enjoy your time on earth and try to stay away from predators. Sometimes, that includes people, right?

Graham is a hunter and we both love fishing. We don’t really do catch and release, unless the fish are too small. We fish because we love to enjoy a great day on the water. But it’s always a hope that we come home limiting out on fish, that we then grill, smoke or deep fry. Working towards filling our freezers is part of our life here.

When it comes to wildlife on our property, rule #2 can kick in. Not always but often it does.  Especially if something is trying to get into our garden, eat our fruit trees or damage property. Rule #2 is “If you eat what is mine, I will eat you”. The rule doesn’t apply outside of hunting season, which can lead to a few four letter words and having to come up with alternatives to get the animal to move on.

 

Buck Deer in the Barn

We had a young buck deer bedding down in the barn breezeway a few years ago – he was a nuisance and seemed a little entitled. He just had to have a place in the shade, preferably with hay so he could have a comfortable bed! When we wasn’t at our place, he relaxed in the neighbours carport. Silly boy, I was hitting him in the rump with a pellet gun, but he just didn’t want to move on.

Although we never shot him, intending to kill, obviously someone did because he hasn’t been seen here for a few years now. And it was only a matter of time; he had developed zero fear for humans and much desire for his own comfort level. If he had still been here in buck season we would have taken him.

Deer Fawn Still with its Spots

Sometimes deer get into our garden, even with the yellow rope we ran around the perimeter. We have had does in there, in Spring, so we just know she has fawns somewhere. But it is not only out of season to dispatch her, we don’t want her fawns dying because they are still dependent on their Mama.

The worst thing is, all Mama is teaching them is to hang out around our place – there are lots of greens and healthy veggies to nibble on (and destroy). All these fawns learn is to return to this area when they are ready to have their young. Then it becomes a different kind of cycle – the kind you don’t want.

Is it frustrating? It sure can be, but we won’t sacrifice the young to be rid of the nuisance. And so we wait…wait to see if she moves on. Usually she doesn’t and so we wait till deer season opens and then she is legally dispatched. Then we butcher and fill our freezer. Her young are old enough to make it on their own and we hope against hope, they go away and don’t come back.

 

BC, wildlife, animals, hunt

 

We are so fortunate that there is so much wildlife in this Valley -moose, bear, deer, rabbits, grouse etc. We love seeing wildlife in its natural element – bears especially are so beautiful. So black and shiny, so healthy looking. We saw a bruin a few years old coming home the other day. He was magnificent.

Moose in the Pasture

But, he and all the other wildlife need to keep our rules in mind. We are higher on the food chain than they are. If you eat my garden, I will eat you. It is really that simple.

Do you hunt and fish to help fill the family freezer? What do you do to deter wildlife from your gardens and yards?

 

 

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My Thoughts on Snakes

The cover picture is of a bunny, because I think they are cute. Also, I refuse to have to look at a picture of a snake, if it can be helped.

I hate snakes. Hate is a pretty strong word. Let me go with dislike.  I really really dislike snakes. There is nothing more toe curling for me than seeing a snake.

Thankfully, I have never lived where there are huge snakes and I never intend to. I have never seen a rattlesnake in real life outside of the Reptile Cage at the zoo and that was years ago. I now refuse to go into another Reptile Cage, as it is really an honest case of “been there, done THAT”.

I never want to have to look into the coop nesting boxes before I reach my hand in, just in case there is a snake in there. Snakes love eggs and will happily help your chicken eggs disappear. I wonder if they like baby chicks as much as they like eggs?

If you live in an area where there are larger snakes, what do you do about them? Do you try to keep them out of your vegetable gardens? Would snake prevention be important to you? I would think snakes would do a good number on the mice population, although I am not sure.

 

mole and snake repellent

 

I saw these rodent repellers and they look interesting.  We often have mice in the garden, which is probably why there are snakes in there!

The only snake that we have around here that I know of is the garter snake. I am somewhat more used to those snakes because they are all over BC. I grew up with seeing them sometimes in the woods or on our lawn. One house I lived in had clover planted around it instead of lawn seed. I have never minded mowing the lawn and did so happily until I realized I was running over things that would then….ahem…get flung out the side chute.

I screamed and right away the toes started curling. I ran back into the house, which is harder than it sounds when you can’t uncurl your toes. I think it took me 2 beers to calm down.

The next time I mowed the lawn, I wore rubber boots, but was soon so grossed out by the flingings, I refused to ever mow the lawn there again.

Here in the Valley, I have seen three snakes in all the years we have lived here. They were garter snakes but they were a lot bigger around and a lot longer than those puny Island snakes down in Southern BC.

That’s probably pretty good, only 3 toe curls in 6 years. I can handle that. I don’t have to like it, but I can handle it.