Livestock Guardians

Livestock Guardians

Moving to a small ranching town in eastern Idaho, it was hard to break into such a tight-knit community. As an “outsider,” I faced locals who had deep family roots in the area. However, that quickly changed after I bumped into one of the local ranchers. During a brief venting session where he expressed his frustration over losing cattle to wolves and coyotes, I mentioned that I had a couple of Pulsar thermal scopes that might help with his problem. He jumped at the offer, and just like that, I had access to 800 acres of land for thermal hunting.

On the first night hunting his property, we killed six coyotes using the Helion 2 XQ50 to spot them and the Trail 2 LRF XP50 to take them out. The rancher was extremely grateful, and word spread to other ranchers. Over the next six months, we gained access to five more ranches to hunt on. This was a win-win. Not only did I get to do what I love…hunt. But a lot of the ranchers offered either financial compensation or the ability to hunt other game on their land.

 

As I got to know the area and the people better, I set my sights on gaining access to one particular property: the largest landowner and rancher in town, with a few thousand acres. I had heard that this particular rancher didn't allow anyone to hunt on his land, so I didn't bother asking.

Fast forward to the following calving season, about a year after I started thermal hunting predators for various ranchers. I was loading up my gear for another long night of coyote hunting when my phone rang. I answered the unknown number and was surprised to hear a man on the other end introduce himself to be the largest landowner in our community. He told me he was having predator issues and was losing too many calves. He had heard about our success in protecting other ranchers' livestock with the thermal scopes and asked if I could help him.

I told him I would be there that night. After high-fiving my husband in celebration, we knew we had to deliver and prove our worth, or we wouldn’t have access to this property for long. The pressure was on.

We arrived at the property just after dark. Scanning the area with the monocular, I spotted some cattle in a field about 1,200 yards away. We decided to drive over there to get a different angle and make sure there weren’t any coyotes lurking around. At about 400 yards from the cattle, we parked the truck and began to scan the livestock. Immediately, I spotted a coyote sizing up a calf, circling it as it nipped at its heels. I knew I didn’t have a shot at it from where I was due to the number of cattle in the field, so I needed a clear, ethical shooting lane.

We quietly slipped out of the truck, grabbed our gear, and began making our way on foot toward the coyote, watching through the monocular as it nipped at the calf’s hamstrings. Luckily, we had the wind in our favor. Using the monocular to guide us and weaving through the rest of the herd, we made it to about 90 yards where I had a clear shot.

I pulled out my rifle and waited until the coyote circled the calf again so it was far enough away from the young cow to give me a clean shot. As soon as I felt comfortable, I sent a bullet the coyote’s way, and down it went. We then caught up with the calf to make sure there were no serious injuries and got its tag number to give the rancher.

After I recorded the entire event through my Pulsar scope and showed the footage to the rancher, we solidified our position as his “livestock guardians.” I'm happy to say we still hunt for him to this day.

 

The Helion series of thermal monoculars has been replaced by the Telos series. Click here to learn more.

 

The Trail series of digital thermal riflescopes has been replaced by the Thermion 2 series. Click here to learn more.

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