One evening when I was about six years old my father woke me up to hear coyotes howl. We were living in Kingsville, Texas, out in the brush country near town. Dad told me that he grew up listening to coyotes. And he thought that development in the West meant the end of coyotes. He wanted me to hear them, before they were gone forever.
Boy, was he wrong! Coyotes are adapting to rural areas across America. You don’t have to go too far from Athens, Georgia to hear coyotes. At my Cabin on the Ridge we see signs. I haven’t heard them but my daughter has (I don’t hear so well). And I did see one, one afternoon, while sitting on my porch. It sat on its haunches, about 30 yards away, motionless, eyeing me. When it suddenly vanished I got a glimpse of its bang-tail.
True, there are dogs in the woods but this was no dog! I’ve heard that Coyotes are interbreeding with dogs.
In “The Voice of the Coyote,” Texas historian J. Frank Dobie brings together a bunch of tales about Coyote behavior, habits and interactions with people. Fun to read but with raised eyebrows. Old Texans are tellers of tales, tales that grow with repetition.
There’s a message here. Don’t be too soon to write off any group of animals. True, we’ve lost some, improbable losses of abundant species. Yet, given any chance at all, animals have this drive to survive. Think – well, Chernobyl, the radioactive zone in Russia where big mammals do quite well.
But please, no more Chernobyls!
February 12, 2017
“Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” – James Baldwin.