HAVERHILL (CBS) – Tyler Kimball started raising buffalo at Kimball Farms in Haverhill three years ago. He managed to grow his herd to 14 strong – until last weekend.
“I moved the chickens down here so the buffalo would protect the chickens from the coyotes,” Kimball explains, “but that didn’t work so good.”
Kimball estimates eight to 10 coyotes set their sites on one of his 16-month-old buffaloes and chased her into a nearby swamp.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports
He found the carcass hours later and says the animals had picked it clean — “nothing left, just bones,” he says.
Coyotes killed a couple cows here two years ago, but this buffalo was their most costly kill to date.
Kimball paid $1200 dollars for it this summer and was hoping eventually to breed it and then take it to slaughter, making money by selling its meat.
“It’s heartbreaking because you see the buffalo, you saw that I feed them out of my hands,” Kimball explains. “They’re great animals, but there’s a financial loss too.”
While the buffalo here serve as an investment on the farm, Kimball says it’s hard not to get attached to their individual personalities.
He says neighbors even come by, just to say hello.
Melanie Sandman and her daughter Kristy were doing just that on Friday night when they learned that one of the herd had been killed.
“I was shocked by it,” Sandman said. “I didn’t realize we had coyotes so close. And this is a beautiful herd; it’s something we need to take care of.”
“My husband is from Montana and I used to teach school in Jackson Hole [Wyoming] and we used to see a lot of bison, so we come here all the time,” Sandman continued. “We were thrilled when they got the herd. We come back here all the time, we’ve watched the babies.”
To protect the rest of his herd — and his investment — Kimball’s shooting to kill. He has permission to shoot any and all coyotes he sees on his property, day or night.
“You feel powerless and you feel anxious, every time you hear them howl, it’s like, ‘OK, what are they after now’? Now I carry a gun around with me so that if I see them I can shoot them.”
Last year Kimball killed 17 coyotes and he says he did not lose any livestock then.
He says once he resumes his activities, the coyotes get the message in a hurry and learn to stay away.