- Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:38
- Written by Pat Kolafa | © DrumhellerMail.com
Some ranchers in the Rockyford area are on edge after what appears to be a number of cougar attacks to livestock in the last couple weeks.
Recently Warren and Tyla Kalbhen lost two calves. The most recent one discovered last Friday.
Warren said he has heard there have been upwards of 10 reports of animals missing, although four have been confirmed as killed. Last weekend Fish and Wildlife had trained dogs out to track the animal or animals, but have not found any.
He said at this point he is not really concerned about safety.
"You don't hear a lot about cougar attacks on people, but then again you don't hear too much about cougar attacks on cows, so who knows," said Warren.
Last week the couple saw two of their horses attacked. Both survived and are healing. Tyla explains horses were corralled near the home because one of her daughters is a barrel racer and was planning to go to a jackpot rodeo.
“It happened in the wee hours of the morning… we didn’t hear anything and it is quite near our house,” said Tyla.
She said while one was injured badly, the other just appeared to have claw marks on its back, adding if it were coyotes it may have gone for the animal’s legs, which could have caused more serious injuries.
Tyla said she would like to see animals and humans coexist, but the attacks are a concern.
“Like anything, when their habitat gets pushed away they are going to wander, the biggest thing is they are going to follow the water,” she said.
“Animals are animals, it’s nature, but you don’t want them in the wrong habitat causing havoc.”
Pat Newell discovered two calves dead and half eaten early last week.
The animals were taken about two miles from the house.
“It has got to be happening late, late at night or early in the morning,” said Newell.
The two calves were born this spring and weighed about 250 pounds each. It appears one was dragged under a fence by the predator.
A horse near Nightingale also died and it is suspected to have been a cougar attack.
Newell has been tracking the cougar for about three weeks because he is fearful for his four children. He said on one occasion he flushed a cougar out from their round bales about two weeks ago.
“I had a shotgun and my dog, but it came out of a tree above us and was gone before I could even draw the gun, and it was getting dark and you don’t just start shooting in the dark,” said Newell.
He thinks it might be a mother and cub, or cubs. He said one of the calves killed, had its hindquarters and entrails eaten.
“The other was not eaten that much which makes me think the cubs ate on that one,” said Newell adding he thinks it might be time to get rid of the animals.
“It looks like they are hunting for sport. They say if a guy can keep it in the barnyard it’s okay, but if it starts endangering my kids or my family, or anyone’s family for that matter, it’s time to deal with it.”