The father/son duo of Dan and Kyle Lay did a fine educational workshop on predator control recently at the Horsefly Community Hall; specifically on wolves, cougar and both black bear and grizzlies.
This session was sponsored by the Horsefly Seniors and Wellness Society and Layser’s Kennel and Contracting.
At least 50 people attended, and were well rewarded for their time.
The Lay family has been involved for years in predator control starting with Dan’s father before him, and their knowledge is second to none.
Jack Lay was a game warden in the Williams Lake area starting in 1952, and moved around between B.C. and Alberta in his trade.
Between them there are many years of experience and knowledge which has made them true experts in their field. They are the only licenced predator control outfit in B.C.
With pictures and facts, Dan and Kyle laid out the format for their evaluation of a predator kill.
They treat each kill as a crime scene, and from the facts garnered they proceed to the next step and on to the next until there is no doubt as to which animal or animals are the guilty parties.
Then the animal or animals are trapped in either a snare or a leg hold trap at the scene of the crime and disposed of if it is deemed there is no hope of moving the animal to another location.
The audience was treated to a graphic blow by blow description of how a determination of guilt through simply sitting back and allowing the animal to incriminate itself beyond any shadow of doubt as the guilty party is reached.
No innocent animals are destroyed, unlike other government programs that, over the years, have given a bad name to the industry.
Strychnine is not used, which is a relief to me. My first dog died a long and painful death from a trapper’s poisoned meat.
Some points to take note of: cougars and bears drag their kill to a secure area, cover it, and then keep watch over their food supply from a safe area.
If you discover a fresh kill which is obviously covered by an animal, move away, and if it is a wild kill keep away, and if it is your animal, call your predator control people.
Wolves eat their kill on the spot, and will return to hunt on a regular basis, and travel the same general route each time.
It is far and away easier to trap the animal first, and then dispose of it rather than the other way round.
Start shooting off a weapon and you may as well forget getting more than one lucky kill, and then you don’t know how many others there might be, and the killing of your livestock will go on.
Wolves have a huge range, sometimes exceeding 1,000 miles and travel mostly in packs, but occasionally alone.
We learned that if you are a rancher and have a pack of wolves ranging on your property, and they aren’t killing your livestock, then these wolves being territorial will keep possible predatory wolves away from your property, and they are an asset. Do not kill indiscriminately.
The same thing applies to bears. If they are living in harmony with your livestock, you have a bonus.
The usual common sense applies; keep your livestock close to home in calving season and in the fall when the bears are looking for protein to fatten up for the winter.
The cougar that the Lays and their hounds took at Lemon Lake this winter established a new North American record for size, weighing in at 195 pounds.
Dan demonstrated the snare trap he has developed for large predators such as grizzlies.
It uses about three-eighths cable and operates under a tension spring, and is infallible. There is no doubt the animal eventually panics, but initially a newly trapped animal is remarkably calm; the same applies to the leg hold traps with wolves.
Cougars are treed and then disposed of. A couple of hounds were brought in, and we all had an opportunity to meet them. Beautiful hounds!
The overall impression I received is one of competence in their field of endeavor, humane regard for animals, and speed of solving a problem.
We are fortunate indeed to have Layser’s Kennel and Contracting in our area, and the Horsefly SAWS deserves a large “thank-you” from the community.
It was quite clear to me that the easiest way to control predators in the Cariboo is to dial 250-296-3300 or 250-296-3246.
That way you are guaranteed to have to only solve the problem once.