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Vultures, coyotes and dogs can pose dangers

By Morgan Watts

Rowan Cooperative Extension

With fall calving upon us, and that being an attraction to predators, I am going to go over the three most common predators for cattle and other livestock producers. I will also give you some options for controlling these main predators of livestock.

The three most common predators that I get calls or hear about are vultures, coyotes and dogs, wild and domestic.

We have two types of vultures here, the turkey vulture and the black vulture. The black vulture is the one that you would have the most issues with in regards to livestock. Producers have the most issues with vultures during calving time and when the births are spread out and in uncovered/unsecured areas.

To prevent vultures, the best practices are making sure that you are properly disposing of carcasses, managing your food sources and trying to calve in a secure area with births closer together. You can also try to eliminate roosting positions or use other prevention methods like lasers, pyrotechnics (bangers and screamers), or effigies (decoy vultures). Another option is the lethal one. If you want to take this option, federal permits are required, as they are protected under the migratory bird treaty.

The second predator is the dog. This can range from your neighbor’s dog to wild dogs. You can normally spot a dog kill, as no body parts will be consumed and no carcasses are dragged off. There are usually just a lot of bite marks. Keep a watchful eye, especially for your neighbors’ dogs that may like to visit or stray dogs you may notice in the area. Domestic dogs will attack during the day or at night time.

Last, but definitely not least, is the coyote. Like the vulture, you will have the most issues with these when you leave animals unsecure at night, during calving time, and if you have poor carcass management.

The three best ways to prevent issues with coyotes is livestock guard animals, lethal control and animal husbandry of your farm. For a lethal control option, if you are hunting (unless you live in the five restricted counties), there is no closed season, no bag limit. You can use an electronic call and you can night hunt. You can also trap; the season for the Piedmont is Nov. 1-Feb. 28.

If you are accruing damages outside of those times, you can request as a livestock producer to be granted a depredation permit. They are available free of charge from North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission staff and licensed Wildlife Damage Control Agents.

If you have any questions on these predators or prevention methods, please contact Morgan Watts at the Rowan County Center at 704-216-8970, or stop by 2727-A Old Concord Road, Salisbury, NC 28146.

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