Population pressure

I live in an area where a large new reservoir is scheduled to be put in sometime in the near future. This reservoir will provide water to the DFW metroplex, and it’s going to be pretty damned big.

I’m already seeing folks go in and clearcut all of the timber on properties that will eventually be underwater. It’s a scar on the planet, but that’s a discussion for another day.

All of this clearcutting means that animals are losing their habitats. We’ve been seeing more feral pigs on the game cameras Sunshine has stationed everywhere. When I say “more”, I mean a lot fucking more. There were shots of more pigs than I could count on the last memory card he pulled out of a camera. It’s unreal.

When I first saw this, I thought “oh cool, more meat for us to eat!” I wasn’t wrong.

I just forgot the rest of the equation.

If the feral pigs are being forced out of their previous habitats, so is everything else. Creatures like deer, birds, squirrels…they’re all being forced out of their previous habitats. So are their natural predators–the coyotes.

We’re going to be hearing more from the coyotes in the future.

So this week, after the crazy incident with the coyotes mocking me from the other side of the front pond, I got to thinking.

Our chickens aren’t very susceptible to being herded back into their chicken house every afternoon; we pretty much have to wait on them to decide to go back home on their own, and go close the door once they’re inside. That has been happening closer and closer to full darkness as the days get shorter. So I’ve started carrying the revolver that did shoot at the coyotes when I have to go outside near sunset. Also, a flashlight.

We’re gun people, albeit at different levels. Sunshine is one of those second amendment whackos that is absolutely certain that they’re coming for his guns, and that they’re engaging in backdoor gun control through restricting the supply of ammunition and lead to make ammunition. Whatever, Sunshine. I, on the other hand, am in favor of sensible regulations–more than what murica has in place now. (I’m tired of mass shootings and the military industrial complex trying to put more guns on the street.) Regardless of where we stand on the gun issue, neither of us believes that firearms are for anything other than providing meat or home defense. And since we live in an area where we can leave the house unlocked when we run to the store, home defense really means predators. In this area, predators means coyotes. According to Sunshine (and I have no reason to doubt him since there does seem to be some information on the internet that supports the anecdotes), some sort of hybrid red wolf has been reintroduced into the area (specifically, Caddo National Grassland) by wildlife officials.

side note: I know that Sunshine has seen a wolf of some kind out there in the woods. He was stalking a wild pig, and something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. He looked over, and saw a wolf. The wolf looked at him, decided Sunshine wasn’t hunting the wolf, and they each went back to their individual hunt. I’m still awed by how cool that shit is.

Now, we may not have to worry about locking the doors when we run to the store, but I’m betting that our neighbors have guns, too. Lots of them. I know that my immediate neighbor to the south got a piece of a coyote with her shotgun; she was trying to kill it but it scented her and started moving so now it walks with a limp, I’m sure. I’m hoping that this will mean that the coyote population will get thinned out by ranchers and homeowners protecting their livestock and pets.

All this clearcutting has definitely created some population pressure around here. There aren’t enough resources to sustain the influx of animals. Their desperation for food will eventually outweigh their fear of humans and they will almost surely start coming closer and closer to homes and barns. Which means that I’m going to be increasing pressure on Sunshine to get me a smaller gun, one that fits my hand more naturally and doesn’t have a recoil that could give me a black eye.


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