Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Basic Guide for Hunters in North America

This is a basic guide on some of the animals that a hunter may encounter in Canada or the United States which should not be shot.  This article is meant primarily for awareness and is mostly directed at hunters who come out from the city and are less familiar with common livestock and farm animals.

These are cows and calves

Cattle are large, they have a fairly rectangular look to them, they are much larger than deer, and are not quite as tall as moose.  Cattle tend to gather in herds.  Cattle come in different colors, brown, black, white, and all sorts of combinations of color.

Full sized horse and miniature horse

Horses are large, but ponies are smaller.  They have a slightly rounder shape than cattle do.  They are often in herds but not always as some people might just keep a single horse. Horses come in many colors.  Horses tend to me less afraid of people than cattle are, but they might run from strangers. 

Similar looking animals include mules and donkeys.

This is a hair sheep

Sheep and goats are small.  They sometimes have horns.  They can be many colors and are nearly always in herds or flocks.  Most sheep distrust people and will run if approached but goats can be friendlier in some cases.

Click here to read about the most popular breeds of sheep in the USA.

2 Llamas and an alpaca
Llamas and alpacas have smaller bodies, long legs, and a long neck.  Farmers sometimes keep them to guard sheep or goats.  They come in many colors and could easily be mistaken for a deer when grazing, but they tend to have thicker coats.

Recently just north of me a hunter shot and killed a child's pony.  Every year there are stories about hunters shooting cattle by mistake, or other farm animals.  There is really no need for this.  If you cannot see an animal clearly enough to identify it, you should not be shooting in the first place.

Also note that in most areas if you are hunting on farm land you must have the farmer's permission.  You cannot hunt from the road, nor close to a road, and you cannot hunt after dark.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Best Places to Sell Sheep

I have only had sheep for just over 10 years and learned a lot about buying and selling them in that time.

When we bought our first sheep we found them for sale in an advertisement in the local newspaper, and as such that was our first thought when it came to selling them.

Selling sheep via advertisements in the newspaper is not something I would recommend, and we stopped doing it after a couple of tries.  This might work in some areas, but even though the newspaper went to all rural homes in the area, it did not really pan out for us with great results, and there is always a fee involved and no sale guaranteed.

We soon found auctions for buying and selling livestock.  I am in Alberta, and there are several auctions where a person can buy or sell sheep.  The odd and unusual auctions are twice a year in my area and are closer to me than the bigger livestock action in which sheep are sold by weight.  At the odd and unusual livestock auctions all sorts of livestock are sold, everything from chickens to bison.  The animals are sold individually, by the animal itself, not by weight.  As such you never know what the prices will be like and I have (regrettably) had good, young, sheep sell for under $100.

Sheep at the Innisfail auction

What has proven to be good is selling online.  At first I used a Canadian site, and had sold several sheep this way.  The main problems I encountered with kijiji was that it took ages to get a sale.  You would post the ad then it might be a week before a seller would contact you.  They often would try to talk me down in price even though I set my prices low (typically below market value as I wanted fast sales on the ram lambs as I had no where to separate them from their mothers).  Most of the buyers I found on kijiji were people looking for meat sheep.

Selling at auction means you know your sheep will be sold that day, but you do not know the price, and you have to pay commission.  Selling online means you can set your price but have no idea when your sheep will sell.

Then my daughter encouraged me to try selling the sheep via Facebook groups.  Wow, we had some bottle baby lambs one winter and within minutes of her posting them for sale on Facebook we had interested buyers.  As with selling on kijiji, buyers sometimes asked for a lower price, but not always.  I found more of the buyers on Facebook were hobby farmers, like myself, who just wanted a few sheep for pets, 4H, or lawn control.

Overall if you have some sheep to sell I would suggest listing them online first, with plans on taking them to an auction later if you are unable to sell them online and need them gone by a certain date.  I would rather sell online for a lower price than have to drive to an auction (consider your time, gas, commission, and so forth) and not know what price I might get.

Other Reading
The Innisfail Odd and Unusual Auctions