The Coyote Holocaust

We lost a great many cats during the summer and fall of 1991: Blaise, Callie, Gregory, Scaredy Cat, Tigger, and Velvet. There had been a short, sharp drought, which wiped out most of the field mice that coyotes lived on, so in desperation the coyotes came down from the high hills to our area. We lost Blaise and Tigger before we realized what was happening. We couldn’t bring all the cats inside the house, so instead I tried to chase them away by planting scents all around our property; carpet cleaner was my favorite, but I also hung pairs of empty soda cans blocking trails the coyotes might use; I hoped that this would frighten them. I’m sure that my efforts had some effect, but it wasn’t enough.

Several times the coyotes were bold (or desperate) enough to come onto my land in broad daylight. On one occasion, I saw him stalking the ducks, so I pulled out my rifle and sent a shot over his head; that chased him away. On another occasion I was in my office talking with my friend Veronique when I saw one coming down the driveway. I tore open the window, leapt the five feet down to the ground, and took off running after the coyote. He didn’t see me until I was fairly close.

On another occasion, I was in the garage and I had let the ducks out: they were foraging in the soil next to the garage. I noticed that a few of the ducks were moving back in the direction of their pond, and they were clearly nervous. I sensed that a coyote invisible to me was stalking them. I crept to the corner of the garage where he couldn’t see me and waited. Suddenly the ducks broke into a run. I waited a carefully judged few seconds, then suddenly raised my arms and spun around the corner yelling. Sure enough, there was a coyote charging toward the ducks, not three feet in front of me; I scared the hell out of him and he took off. I figured that was one less coyote to worry about. 

We would lock the ducks up in the late afternoon in a strong cage. One afternoon I saw a bobcat reaching into the cage, having snagged one duck’s wing. It managed to tear the wing off before I got there. I rushed the duck to Dr. Boehringer, who patched up the duck and christened him “Lefty”. 

On another occasion, Kathy and I were awakened in the early hours of the morning by some odd bumping noises. I went over to the window and looked down (our bed was on the second story). I reassured Kathy that it was just a loose cow right in front of our front door; I would chase it off. I went downstairs and opened the front door. I ws about to yell at it when I realized that it wasn’t a small cow — it was a very large wild pig, easily weighing several hundred pounds. That pig turned and took off with astounding speed. He could just as easily have charged and killed me.