Category Archives: Coyote

Coyote in the Neighborhood

A coyote
A coyote causing problems in a neighborhood.

The closest I’d ever been to a coyote was when some friends and I were hiking and camping in the mountains of Northern Utah.  We’d stopped for a break while hiking, when my friend pointed to a cluster of trees about 2 football fields away from us.  An animal bounded out of the cover, moving fairly quickly.  At first, we all assumed it was a deer, because it was about the height of a deer, a brown/tan color, and moved easily through the underbrush.  Then, I noticed the bushy tail and the fact that it wasn’t “bounding” so much as “loping quickly.”  We concluded it must be a coyote and finished our hike, since it didn’t get anywhere near us.

But, then, a few years later, I took up running.  I especially liked running early in the morning, just as the stars start to fade and the day begins and everyone is still sleeping.  It’s a time of day that feels secret, unsullied by life’s daily worries.  Then, I turned a corner and came face to face with it.  A coyote in my neighborhood.  Well, when I say face to face, I really mean it was about four houses away.  Coyotes can run fast, up to forty miles an hour, and I knew I had no chance of outrunning it if it decided to charge.

There was a timeless, breathless moment as I stared at the coyote in the neighborhood, wondering if I was about to be seriously hurt or maimed, and what I could possibly do to stop it.  They say you’re not ever supposed to surprise a wild animal, as if the world was populated by idiots who enjoy sneaking up on natural predatory creatures and yell “Boo!”  If I’d known there was a coyote in the neighborhood, you can bet I wouldn’t have been running alone at that time of day, hoping to surprise it.

That coyote just looked at me and finally simply turned and walked off in the opposite direction, without another glance at me.  I made it safely home and immediately texted the Home Owner’s Association president to let her know we had a coyote in the neighborhood.  And, I think I’ll take up swimming.

Pets Disappearing/Coyote Problem

A coyote
A coyote causing problems in a neighborhood.

Caller:  Pets are disappearing from our neighborhood, particularly cats.  Are you trapping and removing them?

Trapper:  Our records show we haven’t sent anyone out there recently.  Are they pet cats or feral cats that are disappearing?

Caller:  Both.  We live in a farm community, basically, and a lot of us have pets, but there are also some feral cats that live in some of the abandoned buildings around here.  I’m trying to find my pet cat, and I found out some of my neighbors’ cats are missing, too.  That’s why I called, to see if you’ve been out to our area catching cats.

Trapper:  No, no, we haven’t been to your area, but I’m thinking you may have a bigger problem.  You may have a coyote problem, or a badger problem.

Caller:  Oh, no.  I did find some strange tracks the last time it snowed.  I never saw tracks like them before.  They were big, and just, different.  I didn’t know what it was.

Trapper:  Did you take pictures you could send me?

Caller:  No, and the snow’s melted since then.  I didn’t even think about it, but it might be connected.

Trapper:  Maybe, maybe.  A lot of times a coyote will come into an area and kill the cats.  Sometimes they’ll carry off the small dogs and challenge or injure big dogs, too.

Caller:  Do they go after deer, too, because the deer have been really wound up.  I mean, we’re seeing them in places they don’t normally go.  Also, we used to have a lot of wild rabbits around here, and we haven’t seen hardly any in a while.

Trapper:  Oh, yeah, coyotes will definitely go after the deer, too.  A lot of times, people won’t even know they’ve got a coyote problem until pets start disappearing, but yeah, coyotes will go after both domestic and wild animals.  Wolves, too.  And badgers.

Caller:  Well, how would I know if it was a coyote?  I mean, other than those tracks, how can I tell?

Trapper:  Coyote droppings.  They look like dog droppings, only blacker, and a lot of times they’ll have the fur from cats or other disappeared pets they’ve eaten.

Caller:  I haven’t seen anything like that, but then, I really haven’t been looking.

Trapper:  A lot of times, dogs will actually attract the coyotes, too, because people will let them bark, and the coyotes take that as a challenge.  So, they attack and kill the dogs or maim them.  Or, people will let their cats out, or feral cats run around, and the coyotes just see that as a food source.

Caller:  So, what do I do?  Do you think my cat’s, just gone?  And, all the other pets that have disappeared?

Trapper:  Well, I can’t know for sure unless you want me to get out there and take a look for signs of a coyote problem, or wolves, or whatever.  A lot of times, when it affects an entire neighborhood or area, people will get together and chip in to pay for trapper services.  When you have pets disappearing like that, you might want to talk with your neighbors and give me a call back.

Caller:  Yeah, I think I better do that.  Thanks.  You’ll hear from me soon.