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Tuesday, March 8, 2011


K and I rolled out early into another frosty white day with a touch of blue sky.
While we were in the early part of our ride, we didn't know it but a pair of coyotes were visiting a wildlife camera. I pointed this camera at a bobcat scrape and scat marking. Yesterday, a lone coyote passed the bobcat marking and stopped to sniff and then urinate on it.

Today, a pair of coyotes passed the camera at almost exactly the same time as yesterday morning. The leader of the pair sniffed the scent post...
... and decided to trot onward through the hoar frost laden grass without adding a comment.
Then, the second coyote of the pair arrived on the scene, initially taking a route that wouldn't pass over the scent post.
But then the coyote caught a whiff of it and stopped.
The agile canine turned on a dime and homed in on the message center.
This coyote added a substantial comment and completely covered the bobcat's initial post.
Then, the coyote turned and followed his/her partner.
The question that I'm waiting to have answered is whether the bobcat will re-enter this scent-marking competition. Obviously, the coyotes feel the need to exert their authority over the territory, telling bobcat that they rule. Will the bobcat up the ante when he next passes this scent post?

K and I had no idea that these activities were underway. We were enjoying the glorious hoar-frost painted day.
Although the sun didn't rise in a glow of orange this morning, the light was sublime early.
K and I hung out enjoying the views for a few relaxing minutes.
Soon enough, we were rolling onward, checking wildlife cams and enjoying good riding conditions. It was so cold this morning (around 10°F when I left the house) that I could roll across the crust atop deep drifts without breaking through. I love my fat-tired snow bike!

As we were finishing our ride, we rolled through a meadow and faced something that we haven't encountered in years. At least two coyotes tried to lure K across a meadow. They have a choreographed routine where one coyote comes out and acts playful, trying to get a dog to chase the coyote into a trap where the rest of the pack is waiting. Back when K was an almost grown-up puppy, she fell for this luring routine on one occasion but, thankfully, the pack didn't catch her. Today, K surged about 15 yards toward the coyotes and stopped when I called her. She paused, staring at the coyotes, for a moment seemed to stretch on forever, before finally turning and running to my side.

A coyote watched from a distance. I'm sorry about the poor quality of the photo. My point-and-shoot doesn't have much zoom.
The visible pair of coyotes (perhaps the same ones as we saw on the wildlife camera earlier in this post) didn't disappear. They kept emerging from behind thickets and pine trees, always about 75 yards away, but tempting to K despite their distance. I gave K a stern order to "heel", and we exited the area.

We have spent innumerable hours preparing for a coyote luring ploy, and I was overjoyed that K passed with flying colors! I strongly believe that it's the responsibility of human dog owners to protect their dogs against coyotes either through training them or by leashing them... rather than blaming the coyotes and slaughtering the wild canines for their "sins".

DNA evidence suggests that our coyotes (western coyotes) are actually a different species from the eastern coyotes that many of you have in your forests. The genetic evidence shows that eastern coyotes are a hybrid between western coyotes and the endangered eastern wolves. Consequently, eastern coyotes outweigh western ones and behave more like wolves in terms of prey choice and pack behavior.

Fortunately, thanks to all of our training, K and I finished our ride safe and sound today!


  1. WOW!

    What a post!

    Great pics with the added drama of The Game -

    Of course, I will still marvel in their beauty AND commend K (and you) on her behaviour!

  2. Wow...glad K passed the test!

    I've seen the luring game from my front porch and watched a loose neighborhood dog be attacked. Luckily the coyotes all ran when I started yelling. Very stressful event to witness.

    Beautiful pictures of the coyotes...they are so pretty.

    We had a pair playing with Mama Moose the other day...very interesting display!

    Please give K an extra dollop of love and treats tonight for being such a good girl!

  3. Way to go K. I did not know the difference between western and eastern coyotes, but that is interesting.

  4. K, what a terrific girl you are! We are all proud of you.


  5. I am glad that K didn't fall for the trick! That's scary to think about!

    I didn't know that our coyotes were that much different from yours. Funny how they evolved so differently!

    Maybe it's just whoever pees last wins!

  6. Wow, that's fascinating. We live in the midwest. I wonder if our coyotes are eastern or western. I am so glad K didn't fall for their tricks. Of course, I completely agree about dog (and cat owners) being responsible for their animals. Coyotes are just trying to survive and doing what comes natural to them.

  7. Beautiful. We see some coyotes around here trying to get backto the forest. At times its sad to see them walking through aparking lot or running across a street. Have a great day
    Benny & Lily

  8. What beautiful creatures they are and rather connving. Love your recall with K.

    Those coyotes do look a little like wolves. They are definelty bigger than our coyotes. Thanks for the info.

    Glad everyone made it safe and sound.

  9. Interesting to watch the Coyotes pass along their "mail" to other creatures.

    And, what a good dog K is for paying attention and listening to you! Very smart indeed!


  10. I was on the edge if my seat reading this! That is wonderful that K is so in tuned to you!
    I think that coyotes are beautiful creatures, but I would not want my dogs or I to be face to face with one. The work that you have put into training the duo is awesome.

  11. It is incredible how well trained you have K! It is easy to forget (at least for us) that the beautiful wilderness you capture is fraught with real life life-and-death drama that is played out a hundred times every day. Glad all returned home safe and sound.

  12. Great post KB. I know we have some big ones in my area. One I got on camera had to weigh between 50 and 60 lbs.

  13. Dis was incredibly facsinating to read...I didn't knows da difference in da coyotes NOR did I knows dat they will play tricks on us! I am blown aways ans super proud of da training you has accomplished withs K! Ya'll deserve a great big pat on da back.

    And I agree...da coyotes is only trying to survive and it's up to da peeps to keeps us safe. I am ALWAYS on a leash.


  14. Unfortunately, I am very familiar with our Eastern coyotes in SC. They are beautiful but I have a really hard time liking them like you do. My best friend let her doxie outside for the last potty break of the night. He wasn't 6 feet from the front door. Her kids were upstairs playing pool with the stereo blasting. All the lights were on in the house and outside. In less than 2 minutes, the coyote had the doxie in his mouth and Bailey was dead. Fortunately, the coyote got scared and dropped Bailey so his family could bury him properly. You are right about the playful coyote. This same story happens everyday in our area. Calves, cats, small dogs, even larger dogs fall prey. As time goes by, the coyotes are getting braver. They are coming into schoolyards. One coon dog was attacked by 3 coyotes while on leash with his owner. He barely survived after being pieced back together by his vet. I recently saw a coyote dead on the interstate. It's really a bad situation because I am an animal lover. I don't want to hate the coyotes but it seems they are becoming more dangerous. Have ya'll seen them become more brazen over time?

    Mamma Heartbeat

  15. Phew! I'm glad that K listened to your recall. I know lots of people who have lost barn cats to the coyotes, but I have never known anyone who has lost a dog. They are beautiful animals, but, like the legends say, tricksters.

    That said, that's a gorgeous set of pictures of the frost covered world. We never see that here, and it fascinates me.

  16. Wonderful post and pictures! We are very happy that K passed the test!! Lots of love, Holly and mom

  17. That coyote game would make me so nervous - you are so fortunate you have trained K and R so very well. Do you keep them away from that scent post or have they also added their scent? Just curious.

    Love the photos - you have a wonderful way of making the cold and the snow look good when all I want is green grass and no mud:)

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  19. A true testament to your training, KB! It's interesting to hear about the luring game that you and some of your readers have seen. We run into coyotes frequently and I've never witnessed this trickster behavior. Seen other interesting things, like the deer-coyote battle and the coyote that jumped out of bushes in front of me and Kona, but never a lure.

    I wonder if it's a learned behavior that you might not see everywhere...? Do you think it's a territorial thing? It seems odd for coyote to see a large dog as prey.

  20. Coyote vs Bobcat...maybe you could make some gambling bucks on this scenario! An eastern coyotes(coywolves)....a pack of 7 were discovered in a suburban community not far from where I live. Authorities are keeping an eye on them but will not do anything unless aggression is witnessed. Some people act like vigilantes in some cases and that just adds to the hysteria.CBC article

  21. So glad K listened to you and didn't fall for the lure of the coyotes.

  22. I was on pins and needles as I read about the coyotes trying to play the luring game with K.
    I was so relieved that she listened to your command and not theirs. I bet she got a SPECIAL treat.

  23. Scary stuff!! I'm so glad K didn't fall for this trick. Kudos to you for preparing her so well!!!

  24. I'm so proud of K! What a mighty accomplishment!

    Your winter-dusted photos make me wish I could have been outside taking pictures instead of at a desk...


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