My neighbor called me last week to tell me there was a coyote headed toward my place. I thanked him politely for the heads-up, but didn’t have any inclination to go get the coyote gun out of the safe and try to give that critter a case of lead poisoning. I like having coyotes and foxes around. If I’m going to shoot one on my place, I usually prefer to shoot them with my camera.
But then the neighbor went on to tell me this particular animal had just teamed up with at least one other coyote to kill one of his calves. That’s a different story. When the coyotes get bold enough to start taking down livestock, it’s time to start thinning the population.
Coyotes in healthy populations tend to give humans and our critters a wide berth. When they start running out of natural food sources, though, or if they are diseased and have a harder time catching wild prey, they start turning to the relatively easier targets that live behind fences. Last week it was a calf that met a rather gruesome end. Next week it could be somebody’s cat or dog. So if I take a few of the extra coyotes out of the population, there will be fewer of them competing for the rabbits, grouse and other critters that live outside our fences.
One of those coyotes that helped kill that calf is still coming around, even though there are now five of us neighbors trying to get it. It’s a wily one. I swear it knows where the safe shooting lanes my neighbors and I have are, and it only shows itself when it’s not in those zones. And it just keeps coming back. It even ran the cows past Kevin and the game warden who came out to necropsy the calf that had been killed.
I have to admit I will feel bad if I actually get it. It’s a smart one, and I have to respect it. Maybe one of the other guys will get lucky and save me the guilt.