Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Other Big Game => Topic started by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 04:47:00 PM

Title: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 04:47:00 PM
A hot morning in late July out in Chattaroy, my dad and I went to pick up some sheep from a farmer down the road. We had lost a number of ewes while birthing the previous year along with some being killed by coyotes. We knew it was time for some more sheep to accompany our llama and lonely ram and had spent time the past year reinforcing weak points in our fences. We wrangled and loaded five timid sheep in the back of our neighbor’s large truck to haul them the short mile drive to their new home. The skittish little sheep struggled to stay upright while their hooves slipped around on the slick truck bed. They were visibly relieved when we pulled up to our house and unloaded them.
 
The next morning my dad and I went down to the field to check on the 5 new ewes. We were quick to discover only four ewes were with the ram. After a little searching, we found one of the ewes dead on the ground. Something had killed the poor sheep its first night at its new home. Our first guess was that a daring coyote had made his way through the fence. But where? The sheep had visible neck bites and parts of the stomach and diaphragm were exposed. Whatever killed it had not eaten very much before scurrying away in the night. The other sheep looked very spooked, as did our llama. Disappointed with the night’s events but knowing I had to do something with the carcass I lugged the freshly dead sheep to a nearby field to be picked away by scavengers. I then made a trip to the store to pick up some more trail cameras. I wasn’t sure that this was the work of a coyote but I intended to find out. I set up three cameras in a triangle formation in the sheep’s area. I figured, if I don’t see anything, the cameras will.
 
That evening I heard coyotes howling and barking as they found the carcass of the sheep a few hundred yards away in the field. The good news was they were preoccupied with that and had little reason to bother the living sheep. The llama cackled for a while and assumed she saw a coyote but we couldn't find it

The next morning we checked the cameras to see that there was a mountain lion on the property, not a coyote.  In the photo the cougar was walking towards where we found the sheep dead that morning. Shocked by this discovery we tried to mentally walk through possible scenarios and preventative measures to protect the sheep going forward. Cougars, like their smaller relative, the house cat, are exceedingly agile and sneaky. Cougars are capable of jumping 15 feet vertically making a fence to deter the lion out of the question. Even if we had a 20 foot fence, the lion could climb a nearby tree and jump down over the fence. Now that it knew of our sheep, he was bound to continue to return.

We heard no cackling from the llama for four nights and weren't sure when the cougar would return. On the fifth night since the sheep attack my Dad and I were inside watching TV, and at around 10:30 pm we heard the unmistakable warning-cackle of our llama. My dad and I made eye contact and both knew what was likely outside. I ran downstairs, and grabbed my rifle flipped on the scope light. I could make out the llama and the sheep huddled together on one side all frantically looking in the same direction to a patch of pine trees. I swung the rifle in that direction and could see the cougar as clear as day. He was headed right for the sheep. I aimed at the cougar and took the offhand 50 yard shot. All I could see through my scope was smoke from the shot. The cat was nowhere to be seen. My dad came out on the porch to join me. “I think I hit him Dad, I think I got him,” I said in a shaky voice. Knowing that if I missed, the cat would probably have nosily run away. But instead it was completely silent making me think I made a good shot. I decided we should wait a few minutes before approaching the area to let the cat die if it hadn’t already. My dad told me to go grab my shotgun for the approach. I loaded it up with buckshot and let my dad carry the 30-06. We slowly made our way to the gate on the fence. We saw the llama and sheep still together in a corner looking around intently. We worked our way over to where the cougar was when I took the shot, then not 10 yards further I saw the unmistakable tail of a mountain lion twisting and curling like a snake. The cat was lying down but huffing with each shaking breath. I was sure the mountain lion would expire any moment, and when I began to get comfortable that we had it down, it rolled to one shoulder and looked straight at us as it began to get up. That split second that it looked at us was haunting. At that moment without hesitation I raised the pump-action to my shoulder and shot the lion twice more. With the second shot the cat curled and never moved again. Both my dad and I didn’t say anything but had the same thought on our mind, “What would happen if that cougar got back up?”
 
I approached the lion from the back and discovered he was in fact dead. On the trail cameras and from a distance he appeared to be a young 70-80 pound cat, but when we got closer it become obvious he was a mature tom. Together we lay our guns on the ground and each grabbed an arm and started to drag the cougar to the house for better light to inspect it. We were in shock with its majesty and size. The cougar weighed 120 pounds and was the picture of health. There was not a tick on his body and he had white hardly worn teeth. His paws filled my hands with ease. It became apparent that this was likely what had killed one of our llama’s two years prior. We were always confused by the llama’s untimely death, but everything was starting to make sense. We took many photos before putting the lion in a cooler for the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the morning.

The next morning a Warden came and picked the cat up since it was taken out of season and in the act of protecting livestock. Still made for one hell of a Monday night.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 04:52:23 PM
Trail Cam Photo
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 04:53:28 PM
Heres the Trail Cam photo, working on the others...
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Blacktail Sniper on August 25, 2017, 04:54:00 PM
 :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: carpsniperg2 on August 25, 2017, 04:56:21 PM
Man that wicked light has for sure paid for itself! I remember you telling me about the yote  problems. Way to go getting that killer taken care of  :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: wadu1 on August 25, 2017, 04:58:03 PM
cool story,  got any photos'
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: pashok23 on August 25, 2017, 05:12:19 PM
cool story,  got any photos'
:yeah:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: mkcj on August 25, 2017, 05:25:36 PM
A story Dad and yourself will tell for MANY campfires to come, well done!  :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: HuntnFishnRyan on August 25, 2017, 05:34:13 PM
Kinda makes you wonder what WDFW does with the carcass. Is it destroyed or is it in an employees deep freezer? :dunno:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Man Tracker on August 25, 2017, 07:52:23 PM
Thank you for sharing the story.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 07:56:07 PM
photos
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 07:58:52 PM
photos
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 08:13:10 PM
Kinda makes you wonder what WDFW does with the carcass. Is it destroyed or is it in an employees deep freezer? :dunno:

They definitely just dump the cat in an effort to prevent poaching. They say they take measurements for research, but the warden seemed to think its unlikely they will do anything with it other than dump it. It is a shame, but its how it goes.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 08:13:56 PM
Man that wicked light has for sure paid for itself! I remember you telling me about the yote  problems. Way to go getting that killer taken care of  :tup:

Thanks! And yea couldn't have done it without the wicked lights, thats for sure.  :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 08:17:55 PM
Also, for comparison with the cat, I'm 6' 2"    215lbs
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: carpsniperg2 on August 25, 2017, 08:22:51 PM
Yeah that's a nice cat not a young cat for sure.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 08:24:02 PM
Yeah that's a nice cat not a young cat for sure.

I guessed about 4 years. Hard to know.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: carpsniperg2 on August 25, 2017, 08:26:36 PM
I think that is a solid guess. You can see some ware on the bottom teeth and head is filled out.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 08:31:08 PM
Definitely big enough to hang around and pick off some livestock. I'm sure another cat will move in eventually, but I think this cat lived on our property and the likelihood of another cat living precisely here again seems less likely. But there will be another one in the area at some point.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 08:36:57 PM
photo
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 25, 2017, 08:37:49 PM
photos
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Kit Carson on August 25, 2017, 08:56:48 PM
Awesome!  :tup:
Thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Dan-o on August 25, 2017, 09:10:52 PM
Wow!!!

Cool story.   
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: pd on August 25, 2017, 09:40:31 PM
Bearpaw, if you are listening, THIS is why HuntWa is an excellent site.

Thanks for this great story!
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Windwalker on August 25, 2017, 10:23:09 PM


 Good story & good photos  :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: bracer40 on August 26, 2017, 12:08:02 AM
Fantastic story!
Thanks for sharing!

Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: bowhunterforever on August 26, 2017, 01:50:54 AM
Nice cat :tup: cool story
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Fl0und3rz on August 26, 2017, 03:55:36 AM
Cool story.  Nice shooting?
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: TVHunts on August 26, 2017, 04:31:00 AM
That's a big cat!  Congrats on snuffing that farm yard killer. 

Great story too. :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Watimberghost on August 26, 2017, 04:56:08 AM
Thanks for sharing your story! Way to save your sheep, and some deer in the process :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: nwwanderer on August 26, 2017, 06:38:32 AM
Might want to keep the cameras out, your first thought of a small cat could be correct, thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Pegasus on August 26, 2017, 08:52:06 AM
Now you have some nice pics for this year's Christmas cards. Too bad you were not allowed to keep the carcass.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: dan11011 on August 26, 2017, 10:58:44 AM
Thanks everybody! My dad and I will truly remember and tell this story for years to come. And I do have quite a few cameras still set out. Some are positioned for deer, the rest are for keeping track of what predators are coming and going. I do wish I got to keep the cat, probably would have turned it into a rug and enjoyed some mountain lion steaks.

I wish I could have gotten a photo of me, the cougar and the llama because her cackling was the only way I knew it came back. She was plenty spooked for one night, however. She's the true Cougar Hunter.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: pianoman9701 on August 26, 2017, 12:07:45 PM
Very cool story and great photos.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: quadrafire on August 29, 2017, 09:16:30 AM
Wow. What a story. Sorry about your ewes
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: boneaddict on August 29, 2017, 09:24:53 AM
Sweet!   Sorry about your livestock loss
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: pianoman9701 on August 29, 2017, 09:26:53 AM
You could likely have that story printed in an outdoor magazine. Good writing.
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: elkboy on August 29, 2017, 10:33:46 AM
Very cool story!  You, your dad, and the llama make a very effective team! 
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Gringo31 on August 29, 2017, 11:21:01 AM
 :tup: :tup: :tup:
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: WAcoyotehunter on August 29, 2017, 11:52:24 AM
Nice work.  We have had a few calls out that way this summer, but it's always the next day and the hounds can't do much.  Glad you got him squared away
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Fishstiq on August 29, 2017, 11:56:59 AM
You could likely have that story printed in an outdoor magazine. Good writing.

I was going to say this as well.  A great story is only great if you can communicate it well.  Your write up was very well done, I felt like I was reading something out of a novel.

Great job dealing with the sheep killer!
Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: grundy53 on August 29, 2017, 12:17:43 PM
Awesome story.  Glad you got him.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Killed the Sheep Killer
Post by: Buckhunter82 on August 31, 2017, 11:26:32 PM
Nice cat and good job. Lost 10 sheep in the past year to cats. Might be younger than 4. I shot a 175lb tom and according to wdfw tooth data he was 3 years old.