As I pen this column today, I want to make sure that everyone is aware that I am using the coyote as the real animal, but also as a allegorical creature representing all Texas native wildlife.
Coyotes and other wild animals are being seen more today than in years past in the populated areas of Texas. They are becoming a nuisance to some folks. Or maybe some folks are becoming a nuisance to our coyote and other wild animal population. I vote for the second choice.
The fact is coyotes and the other wild creatures were in Montgomery County before people were in Montgomery County, therefore it seems that the coyote may have established precedence of prior residency. When I think about it, one could say the same thing about the American Indians, bison — also erroneously know as the buffalo — and other natives in the good old USA, but it did not seem to matter very much back in years past either. The arrogance and greed of the white man in history has always been a marvel to me.
The coyote like many others of God’s wild creatures, is being trespassed upon by urban sprawl. So people need to understand that just because they put their miniature dogs into their back yard, recently hewn from what is left of the Big Thicket of East Texas, that to the Texas native coyotes all they have done is possibly provided lunch. The coyote sees a hairy, yipping little critter in his, the coyotes, hunting area and says thanks for what has been supplied for his lunch and hauls the unknown, but tasty morsel to his dining area.
Now I know that God gave man dominion over the world. However, I am also pretty sure that man was suppose to use that license with great care, responsible thought and good stewardship instead of what history proves out to be severe cases of mankind senselessly destroying their way through the world.
So there are two problems facing us who care about Mother Nature’s critters as well as people and those are how to protect both from each other. I believe if we take a look at the coyote and understand a little more about it we could possibly deal with the problem to everyone’s satisfaction.
First, a coyote usually has six or seven whelps, so they come from a large family and possibly do not have all of the advantages of some other creatures in the wild. They reach about 40 or 50 pounds in weight and are carnivores and range from Alaska to South America. They will eat small rodents, offal, carrion, mice, birds, rabbits and almost any animal they can find.
They are faster than the average dog and are extremely intelligent and are adept at dodging traps and poison as many sheep and cattle raisers know. They are also known as the prairie wolf in the western part of Texas where there are a lot of jackrabbits. It is not unusual for three of them to race a jackrabbit in relays, conserve their own strength by periodic rests until the rabbit tires then close in for the kill.
The Coyote is a shy, cunning animal, but if there was no food available they would move on. We here in Texas have an abundance of rodents, snakes and other critters for the coyote to feed upon. If the coyote was to be exterminated we would be overrun by these nuisances, which I consider much more unpleasant than a coyote.
The best way to keep the coyotes away is to eliminate any easy food supply, such as leaving food outside for cats or dogs. If you live near the edge of some woods or fields and have a small dog or cat I would suggest you not leave it outside without checking on it periodically. A four-foot chain link fence is no hurdle for a coyote. A six-foot wooden fence can be broached in one way or the other if a coyote is set on lunch that may be on the other side of the fence. A cat walking along the top of such a fence can be reached by a coyote as they can jump extremely high for their size.
If you find that you have a coyote living near you and you can’t find it in your heart to just live and let live then call a professional to deal with it. They can be carriers of rabies and some of the population of coyotes will have the disease so do not mess with them. If you can get near a coyote there is something wrong with it, because they are extremely shy of people. Anyone who has been out hunting coyotes can verify that fact. Their senses of hearing, smell and eyesight are acute and shots at coyotes by hunters are not unusual to be at ranges of 300 yards plus.
So here again I suggest you not become paranoid concerning coyotes. They do not want to be near man so unless you entice a coyote with food you should have no problem with them; just remember what they consider food.