Try as I might I have been unable to shake my obsession with the coyote family I photographed through the summer.

On a few occasions, as I wrote back in July,  I saw three pups appear on a gravel road and then run into a corn field no doubt to join their parents on an evening hunt. Sadly, over the few weeks, I would find two of the pups dead at the side of the road probably the result of auto collisions.

During the first week of August I spotted the remaining pup once. It came out of a corn field, stopped to look at me briefly before crossing the road and vanishing into some bushes.

 

The following week I had one sighting. My mind was wandering at the time and I wasn’t concentrating on a possible coyote sighting.  What must I pick up from the store on the way home?  How could I improve the feature story I was working on?  Then, a hundred metres ahead, I saw the pup run across the road and into some woods.

It limped ever so slightly. It was too far away and it had crossed so quickly there was no opportunity for a photograph. But I was delighted to see the pup had not left the area and was alive.

What followed was six weeks of nothing. Not one photo, not even a sighting. Then Sunday evening my anticipation was raised once again.

As I drove slowly along my usual route where I have seen the coyotes in the past I approached a cyclist who had stopped to take refreshment and enjoy the scenery. We talked about cycling for a few minutes and then I told him I was out looking for coyotes. “I saw one ten minutes ago,” he said.

He had been coming down a hill when this coyote pup stepped out onto the road. Noting the time it suddenly dawned on me I had failed to account for the fact the days are quickly getting shorter and so this coyote’s activity has adjusted accordingly.

Last night I drove very slowly down the road near where I believe the den to be and, through the open car window, peered through a clearing behind some bushes. There was a coyote staring back at me. I figured it had heard my car and was waiting to cross the road. So I continued down the road a ways before pulling a U-turn.

I stopped at the side of the road and waited to see if it might come into view. A few cars passed by. I have taken the time to introduce myself to many of the farmers in the area so that when they see my car they know I am without criminal intent. Some waved as they passed the nutter with the camera. 

I hoped the sound of their cars vanishing might trick the coyote into thinking I was also gone. The wind seemed to be a cross wind so I wasn’t sure if my scent was blowing towards the pup or not. I stood by my car for about thirty minutes continually looking down the road in both directions. When I turned at one point this is what I saw.

The coyote ducked into a corn field and was gone. I got back in my car and slowly continued along my route stopping where I have seen coyotes over the past year.

The corn is growing tall offering the coyotes lots of cover. I have joked with a couple of farmers asking if they might cut their corn earlier this year so I might see the coyotes better but there have been none willing.

For the most part the farmers say they see coyotes but they are not bothered too much. One fellow told me he likes them out there because they have taken care of the ground hogs in his fields. Another saw a pair at the edge of his field recently while he cut the grass with a tractor. Of course there are others who will hunt them.

I am hopeful that this coyote pup survives. Getting through the first year is a real test for most wildlife. 

 


On Thursday October 26 I will be presenting “When Wildlife Needs Our Help” at Idea Exchange (12 Water St. S, Cambridge) from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. I will be talking about both wildlife conservation and rehabilitation using dozens of photographs to illustrate my points.

Admission is free but registration is necessary in order to set up adequate seating. Please copy and paste this link to your browser:

https://ideaexchange.libnet.info/event/9118251

I hope to see many of you there.

4 Comments

  1. Patricia Bruce

    Thanks again Paul for another one of great stories, the Coyote’s that you have been photographing is been a great story ,thankfully one of pub has survived. We hear Coyote’s ever night in our farm area haven’t heard any complaints about them been a nusince in our area. So that is good news. See October 26, we are looking forward to your presentation. Pat Bruce.

    1. Paul E Gains

      I have enjoyed my encounters with these animals and also with the folks I meet while out there. Today one fellow I know stopped to tell me he saw three coyotes early this morning on his way to work. Then immediately after he had driven off another local resident also stopped to tell me he had seen a large adult further up the road – three hours before. It’s always encouraging to share these experiences. See you on October 26

  2. Barclay Frost

    Thanks for sending this. I see some coyotes as I drive the roads around where I live (country). Even see an odd cross breed, coyote and wolf combination.I saw a black bear the other day so lots of wildlife around. Trouble is unlike Paul I never have a camera with me to record the event. Great pictures as usual.

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