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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Coyote Hunting and Vice Versa

We live on the edge of our town, on the forefront of suburbia so we often encounter the area's former inhabitants; coyotes, possum and even on rare occasions, the mountain lion. Coyotes are frequent visitors however. We see or hear them several times a week, and I have even looked out my window and seen one skulking by.

Coyotes around here are about the size of a lab but probably weigh less due to the fact that they probably get more exercise chasing down their food. They are shy and stay away if you are bigger than they are, and if you are smaller than they, you are lunch. Our Beagle had a close call with them one night, so we keep her very close now. Not so with our other dog Oslo, who relishes a good coyote chase 'n tangle. He weighs 3 -4 times more than a single coyote, so they have a healthy respect for him.

Last night I decided to join Oslo in the nearby field to see if I could get a closer look. My husband followed us in our SUV and positioned it such that the headlights would shine on the field.

Oslo and I tramped out into the field and were soon staring at a pack of 3 coyotes. We stared at them, and they stared at us. Instead of chasing them, Oslo stayed right at my side, until one of the braver ones started to approach, then he took off after it and chased it back. Meanwhile, I noticed that one of the other ones was making a wide circle around me at which point I realized that I was being hunted. Still, I felt safe because the car was near and Oslo was back by my side, so I did my best impression of a coyote howl, flapped my arms up and down and generally made a fool of myself. This seemed to offend them because they started to trot back into the darkness, and Oslo and I climbed into the safety and domestic warmth of our SUV.

Although I never felt threatened or that I was in real danger, the realization that I was "hunted" is a bit creepy. These creatures are wary of humans, but they would not hesitate to make a meal of one if they thought they could pull it off. I think I will stay out of the fields at night from now on, now that I have been reminded that wild is still wild, and wild is usually hungry.


1 comment:

TJ said...

Let me get this straight.

You intended to put yourself face-to-face with a coyote, and then you came across three.

Were you the kid who went first? (and by the way kids - don't try that at home!)

Next time you're feeling a sense of adventure - say you're in the mood to rendezvous with a mountain lion - maybe you could bring a camera. That's about as close to a wild carnivore as many of us will get.