Thursday, May 05, 2022

They’re heeeere…

 I’ve seen them before, closer to town. I know they’re out here. But last night I heard the coyotes barking to each other close by. I couldn’t see them in the dark but I knew they were in my valley last night. Several of them. The dogs heard them too. Merida seemed curious at first but I think she picked up on the concern in my voice when I summoned her sharply and she made a bee-line for the trailer and leapt inside. Murphy was another matter. 

In his day I have no doubt that Murphy could have bested a coyote, probably even a pair of them. But this isn’t his day any more and he’s old and arthritic. And there was more than two of them out there  judging by the barking. Still, Murphy stood, like Horatius of old, staring down into the valley, ears back, hackles up, and letting out a long low growl as if he was ready to defend his home, his sister and me. It was all I could do to get that aged but magnificent warrior dog back to me and the safety of the trailer. His spirit was ready, of that I had no doubt. He knew they were a threat but he was game. 

And now the dogs stay in the trailer from duck until dawn, unless I’m out there with them standing overwatch with a flashlight and my Ted Stevens model Winchester 94 from Sears and Roebuck  

They were out there again tonight too, if anything even closer. I have no doubt that they know we’re here. Tonight I sat outside in the dark, beer in hand and the Winchester across my lap, and I listened to them. Primal. Awesome.  And this is their home, so I bear them no ill will. I just hope that they keep their distance for another week and a half, and if they do we’ll be gone, leaving this bit of desert to them.


  1. Yer gonna laugh, but use your urine to mark a perimeter as YOUR territory. They'll likely respect it and leave that area alone.

  2. B's totally right. I've seen it work. Coyotes would split and run around the yard and then re-form their pack on the other side.

  3. Interesting that they'd come in knowing there are large dogs there.

  4. You could perforate a couple with that model 94 and leave their carcasses hanging a distance out from the trailer as a warning. Used to see a lot of them hanging from fence posts up around where Old NFO lives. Glad Merida is becoming more watchful. Good dog!

  5. We have them in SE CT, too. I've seen their pups playing in the yard when they trigger the security lights.

  6. Co-worker retired to SE AZ. Liked to walk but because of tendency to skin cancer would go out early in the am. Once morning he stepped out of his house, locked the door, and turned around. To find a pack of coyotes quietly standing in the yard watching him. He turned back around, unlocked door, went back inside, and did not get his morning walk.

  7. "...Murphy stood, like Horatius of old, staring down into the valley, ears back, hackles up, and letting out a long low growl...that aged but magnificent warrior dog..."

    Indeed, a truly mystic gathering of adjectives !

  8. " Ted Stevens model Winchester 94 from Sears and Roebuck."

    Would that be a Winchester 94 private label variant marketed by Sears & Robuck as the Ted Williams Model 100?

    Back in the day, I helped an older gentleman, who had lost most of the vision in his right eye, set up a blued steel Weaver K2.5 scope in a side mount on a Ted Williams Mdl. 100. With that set up he was able to shoot from his right shoulder while aiming with his good left eye.

    Top ejection required rotating the scope and using the windage dial for elevation and the elevation dial for windage. That and the low comb on that little carbine made the system work - no hammer extension needed

  9. You might want to get a look at those coyotes, to better judge their threat value. Our local pack, here on the edge of Silicon Valley, has 4 leaders that are as big as Murphy. The rest run about medium dog size, generally. Those leaders are descended from German Shepherds, just with coyote tails and color, which makes for a weird looking dog. Odd that the color and big, bushy tail are a dominant trait. I suppose that defines them.

    Also, the smaller ones can climb tall wood fences like a cat.

  10. Here in the Coconino National Forest, well East of you but still in Arizona, we have wolves in addition to the coyotes. At least double the size of a coyote and running in generally larger packs. I saw them during this past winter a lot but not since then. I'm sure that they're still out there, but keeping further away from man perhaps?

    1. As a PS of sorts - the more immediate threat where I live is the mountain lions. We have a large number and they're present all year long. They're ambush predators rather than pack hunters but everyone I know here has had some sort of encounter with them. They're after your dogs more than you, but protein is protein and if you aren't armed, you are not at the top of the food chain.