Coyotes

May 22, 2017

My son recently shot a coyote with a BB gun. When he suggested it, I agreed that it was a good (sad, but necessary) idea and so he did it.

We live in an old horse neighborhood — no streetlights, no sidewalks — and we back up to a creek and an arroyo. In the almost 20 years we’ve lived here, this is the most aggressive the coyotes have ever been. They’ve taken a couple of neighborhood cats and dogs, roam the streets during the day, and in a couple of cases have even held their ground when we come across them while taking neighborhood walks.  Bottom line, they have become more than a nuisance, I now seem them as a danger to my dog, and even my family.

And still, I feel bad when my son frightens them off with a BB shot to the butt.

I understand that they were here first.  I understand that they’re hungry and are simply looking for food in the middle of a long draught. And I understand that some people have an aversion to any gun, for any reason.

In response, we’re here now and we’re not leaving. I do not want my small dog to become a meal and I do not have an aversion to guns. Note: it’s a low powered BB gun and doesn’t penetrate the coyotes skin, just surprises and stings them and they run off, at least for a few days.

But all that being said, it still bothers me. I can’t fault the coyotes or their actions, but I can’t condone or allow them either. Unfortunately, I have no way of communicating with them and I can’t think of a way to discourage them from coming back. And so, reluctantly, we shoot them in the butt and hope with each shot, they’ll be less likely to return to our backyard.

I think, in the end, the less than pleasant feelings — maybe it’s guilt — come from feeling that the only choice I seem to have to protect our pets is to shoot an innocent animal in the ass.

My two Brock Clemons novels (“Coyote Courage” and “Coyote Creek”) and the yet-to-be published “Coyote Canyon” all paint coyotes in a less than positive light, while highlighting wolves. The truth is, if you promise not to tell anyone, I like coyotes. Their ability to adjust to their environment and adapt to almost any change is truly remarkable, rivaling that of cockroaches and rats. And so while I wish them best and thank them for giving me a fun literary vehicle, I’m going to have to continue to make every effort to keep them off of the property.