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(DLM8537) - Hundreds of sheep file behind Ernie Etchart, 43, as he dumps out a line of corn for his flock grazing on federal BLM land near the Roubideau Canyon west of Montrose, Colo., Monday, Feb. 26, 2007. He feeds them corn as a dietary supplement to ready them for lambing season, which starts toward the end of March and the beginning of April. Etchart said during lambing season the flock is particularly vulnerable to predators such as coyotes. Etchart uses many tactics to protect his sheep from coyotes including the use of M44's, a type of trap that kills predators with a charge that fires sodium cyanide into a predators mouth, skin and eyes. Several environmental groups have started a petition to ask the Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit the use of M44's. Etchart said it is just one of the tools that he uses to protect his flock, but that at times, particularly during lambing season, predation can be devastating so he needs as many options as he can get. (DARIN MCGREGOR/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) **Ernie Etchart (cq) *****One of Dean's picks*****

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