She howls no more

Sad news here on Howling Duck Ranch. Our namesake (and farm manager) has been killed. Mrs Mallard got taken by a fox yesterday. She’d gone for a swim on the pond and the blasted fox actually got her in the water. Until now she’d been safe on the pond, but I guess he’d gotten over his reluctance to get wet, or perhaps she’d floated too close to the edge. Right in broad daylight he snapped her up and she went without a sound. By the time I’d figured out what happened, it was all over, and she was gone.

That fox has been prowling around for the past few days, and managed to take a few chickens as well. Sadly, unless I catch him in the act, there is not much we are allowed to do to prevent this sort of thing from happening.  In this respect, it is me who is the sitting duck.

She was such a fixture around here, both visual and aural with her constant, carping, quack-quack-quack, that I don’t even have a decent photo of her to post in honor of her.


Filed under Animal issues, Ducks, Politicking with predators

13 responses to “She howls no more

  1. Oh dear, so sorry to hear that.

    That’s the trouble with foxes. At first, the obstacles seem insurmountable but then they think about and usually come up with a solution.

    The only peace my mother ever had from foxes was when she owned a Basset Hound who unknowingly kept them at bay by her, well, bay!

  2. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  3. ‘Sadly, there is not much we are allowed to do to prevent this sort of thing from happening’
    Wow even here in the UK the country people are allowed to shoot them on sight in the daytime and to lamp for them at night


    • SBW–I think that the difference between our countries is that the UK is a much more agriculturally aware country. By that I mean you have a much longer history, the farms are more visible and surround the cities, and make up nearly ever square inch of the Isles outside the cities. In contrast, we have farms that are so far removed from the average person’s eye (and therefore consciousness) that people here no longer realize where their food comes from and/or just how directly our food sources are in competition with wildlife.

      It is not by chance that Greenpeace started in Vancouver, BC. After all, ‘Supernatural British Columbia’ is our motto. It is on the license plates of every car. The vast majority of the population lives in Vancouver regional district and to them, the rest of the province is purely for recreation (and thus must be kept ‘supernatural’)–or so the voting populace believes.

      It is of course more complex than I’ve outlined above, but suffice is to say in the minds of the majority here, animals come first (well, wild ones at least! What we do to agricultural animals most so called animal lovers don’t even consider).

  4. Sue

    Oh, poor duck. So sorry!

  5. kim1708

    Methinks a livestock guardian dog may be the answer to the sly little fox problem.
    Still haven’t figured out what this is about the ‘howling’ duck.
    Am really enjoying all the good info you are sharing.

    • I’m living in wild kingdom. Our neighbours who had three guardian dogs just lost all three to a pack of wolves this past week. Here, dogs are considered ‘cougar bait’ and many people lose their dogs to cougars. The best thing a dog (or three) can do is warn the owner of an animal’s presence. Because we are no longer allowed to trap and shoot, these wild animals are learning that humans and dogs are not threats. I’ve watched a dog bark itself to exhaustion to try to ward off a bear who– every now and then– gazed it it’s direction without so much as showing annoyance.

      The only answer is to be allowed to trap and shoot again and prevent these things from happening and thereby retrain the wild animals where human boundaries are.

  6. Ryan T.

    😦 Sorry to hear the news – I know she was like family for you.

  7. That’s insane! I’d always thought of Canadians as a nation of hunters. Are you allowed to harass the cats and bears with non lethal means?
    be careful

    • SBW–It is insane. We used to be a nation of hunters! That has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Hardly anyone is hunting anymore because most of the population is now urbanized. There are hardly any rural folk anymore and the so called ‘civilized’ folks have taken on the so called high moral ground of being anti-hunting. Consequently, we rural folk have to live with the policies that city folks are dreaming up based on ridiculous ‘Greenpeace-like’ or Disneyesque fantasies (that grizzly bears are endangered everywhere, that you don’t have to fear cougars, if you don’t bother them they won’t bother you, that if you just make some noise they will be scared away, that the poor fox that is eating my chickens needs to eat too, and so on ad nauseam). It simply isn’t based in reality. Last summer a friend had SEVEN grizzly bears in his yard one night. He called a neighbour who came running with a high powered rifle. The two men stood outside and shot at the bears (not to kill, just to scare them away) and they didn’t move! So, you can imagine our reaction to the suggestion that ‘if you just make some noise…’
      There has been a bunch of new cougar sightings over the past few weeks. One of them right near town (right where I’d been doing hill climbing cuz I thought it was safe to be near town) and the other ironically crossing the highway right by Clarence’s place. A friend of mine saw it (her first ever) and laughed at the irony (Clarence being our cougar hunter of old). I wonder if that one is suicidal!
      My neighbours have just lost all three huge dogs to wolves. Those wolves were prowling around my front gate in February. I tracked them all the way from the river right to my fence-line where I could see the prints going back and forth, trying to figure a way through. I’m sure they were after my dog. (So you see, we’re hooped. If you leave the dog outside to ‘keep the animals at bay’ then you are actually attracting the wolves, and cougars!). They stuck around for a few days and then obviously moved on to the neighbours who have less fencing. People just have no idea what it is like to live like this. What is worse is that they are still living with such misconceptions that they don’t listen to those of us who live among the animals as to how the animals should be dealt with.
      As for harassing them with non-lethal means, yes we can but it is really a dangerous thing to do nowadays. They simply have learned that (because that is all we’ve been doing for the past 20 yrs since the laws changed) dogs and humans are not threats. Even my cougar hunting friends with trained dogs have lost dogs to cougars when on the hunt. Dogs are a great help but they are no match for wolves or cougars. They are an early warning system and that’s about it. We have to get back to a state where we are defending our boundaries vis-a-vis our settlements and the wild animals recognize us as a threat. Otherwise, we’re living in a hostage state. The irony is that if a mere coyote is spotted near Vancouver (they’ve moved back into the city recently) the people are freaked right out.

  8. Oh well i guess you’ll just have to harass them with that .280 and eat the evidence!

  9. john

    …………S S S……….
    Shut up

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