Thursday, June 2, 2011

Coyote Counting Coup?

With some 64 days left before I begin a 140 mile Pacific Crest Trail Adventure (probably done solo this year), I took the dogs down the canyon for my training walk. Teddy, the neighbor's dog (not pictured above), usually waits in his yard for us to pass by. Then, he joins us. Today was no exception.

When we got to the turnoff to go down the Canyon, a coyote crossed my path about twenty feet in front of me. Our eyes locked and I was reminded of that famous "green fire" passage from Aldo Leopold's famous encounter with a Mexican wolf. This coyote was huge. The fur was quite thick with a grayish, reddish appearance. Just then I looked to my right: Teddy and Angel were chasing another coyote. This time Teddy managed to jump on the coyote's back before the triad ran off into the woods.

Oh, oh.

Abbey didn't run off after them as she was busy rolling in something stinky right next to me. I called Angel--and thankfully, she came running back. Eyes happy. Tongue hanging out of her mouth. Adventure!

We continued down the Canyon. Two coyotes getting that close to a man and three dogs seemed strange. I walked down to my customary this-stage-of-training-and-it-is-cold-and-raining turnaround spot. Back up the Canyon.

When we got around 75 yards from the top of the Canyon, where the coyote encounter was, I was wondering if we might see the coyotes again. The dogs were just off to my side, sniffing something, when we were charged by a coyote!

Yes, charged by a coyote!

The coyote bounded out of the woods just a few feet away and ran smack into Teddy. No biting. No snarling. Just an ambush. All three dogs were together just a few feet apart. The coyote barraged into Teddy, shocking all of them, and then turned around and ran off. Counting coup?

This time Teddy, Angel and Abbey tore after the brave coyote. I called out to them, worried that Angel and Abbey are no match for a canine that actually has to kill things in order to live.

Abbey came back first--followed by Angel just a few seconds later. Relief.

I'm thinking that the coyotes have a den near this spot--hence their efforts at luring the dogs away from the area. Coyotes, like wolves, have litters dependent upon the food supply of the area. Given the large size of the coyote that tried to lure me into the woods, I'm thinking there might be a good sized litter close by.

1 comment:

lph said...

Great story! Great experience! I'm sure that got the blood flowing, but probably worth every moment. Especially since no animals were hurt.