After I had harnessed and hooked the team to the bale wagon this morning, I took off across the yard, headed south to the bales across the road…3 dogs were with me, two Border collies and one a combination of several cow eating breeds… πŸ˜‰

Just as we got halfway across the driveway, my horses and I both looked to the south east at something running. It was a deer, a yearling or two year old doe, coming at a run, panic in it’s actions, and there was something chasing it that looked like a coyote, but bigger and fatter than I would think a coyote should be at this time of the year… so I was thinking a dog perhaps, as both it and the deer were intent on the chase and really paid no attention to our yard, my dogs, my team and wagon or me…I had my pistol with me and thought about getting it out and taking a shot, but the thought crossed my mind that it was going to be hard to get off a good shot while trying to drive fresh horses, one handed and what their reaction was going to be after the sound of the first shot, and also that I would be shooting between them or slightly off to the side….

I was kind of amazed that the dogs did not see any of the action and were intent on sniffing and dancing around, getting their edge off from being in the house or kenneled up all night. The wind was blowing somewhat towards us from the action so I wondered why they did not scent the deer or dog-like creature…

As they got closer, I could see the deer was running with it’s mouth open, showing that this chase had gone on for some time and I could even see the panic in the eyes of the deer, as they passed in front of us less than 50 yards away…it was a coyote, fat and furry, with a little hair shorter on the end of his tail, like perhaps he had gotten the mange and gotten over it.. or maybe was in the first stages of getting mange…. I am no mange expert!

As they passed right in front of us, neither looked our way or even acknowledged that we were there and I thought, “My, how bold!”

They continued on and so did we as tho’ neither part had even noticed the other, except that I kept looking off over my shoulder to see where they went and what they did, while wondering again if I should attempt a shot…they ran almost across the lawn and between driving the team and the tree’s behind the house, I lost sight of the deer. As soon as the coyote got across the road and some distance away from me and my party, he looked back and stopped and watched us… then resumed his hunt and headed over the hill behind the house. Unperturbed.

So… these thoughts crossed my mind…

A. I wonder why neither the deer or coyote showed any fear of me or the dogs? Was it because this is a coyote who had been around me before and showed contempt and disdain for my shooting abilities so really wasn’t worried in the least about running his prey that close to me?

B. How ballsy is a coyote to think he can run down and kill a deer? Why didn’t he call for backup?

C. Why did my dogs not notice the coyote or the deer? Tho’ to be fair, when Buck was running around he did seem to smell a track and started to search it out, but I called him back…

D. Why is it that in 55 years I have only had about 10 coyote sightings on this ranch, tho’ I am aware they are around? Do I have a stench that makes coyotes want to avoid me?

E. Why was the coyote so fat?

F. If I am going to pack a pistol with me at all times, why do i not use it? If it is because of fear of how my horses will react, why don’t I train them to be accustomed to the sound?

I am most partial to A., as there have been many times I have proven to all about, just what a poor shot I am! Sorry my sheep ranching neighbors, but he got away..

8 thoughts on “Observations…

  1. Wow! I don’t know the answers to any of your questions, but too bad you didn’t have a camera, since the situation wasn’t right for the gun. We have a lot of yotes around and they are outrageously brave. They come right in the house yard or walk right up to you when you are on the tractor. they have been shot at plenty too.

    1. Evidently not shot at while on the tractor or in the yard! πŸ™‚

      Or are you as poor a shot as I am and they are merely thumbing their nose at you? LOL

  2. A) I would guess the deer was already so focused / panicked that nothing mattered but what was chasing him. The coyote maybe likewise focused. The coyotes out here don’t have much fear of people at all I have almost run them over with a bike more than once. I pushed one up the trail in the park by where I used to keep my mare, with said mare like moving a cow.

    B & E) I wonder if the fact that this yote was fat indicated 1)frequently successful running down deer solo 2)crossbreed to a large dog? I’ve read that yotes crossbreeding dogs produces larger bolder offspring.

    1. Well, when it got closer I really don’t think it was any taller, just that it was fatter and /or fluffier, so doubt it was a hybrid.

      1. Also Mike, your are California coyotes so they are more mellow and laid back, as in, “Dude, don’t be harshing my mellow….”

  3. One of those happenings you come across in ranch life that doesn’t quite add up. As for our coyote population, they seem at least somewhat cognizant of the fact that the .22-.250 is always in the truck and is used with fair accuracy under 200 yards. Coyotes almost seem smart enough to know how far they need to be from me to make the shot just a little too far. We don’t call/hunt them though. Only use powder and lead if they’re close enough to the cows to be a problem. Thus, we see them quite often at a far distance if you’re looking for them. No idea about why the sucker was after a deer though.

    1. Amazing how they have the knack to know just how far away to be. I have a friend who calves in the rough breaks along the Belle Fourche river. Coyotes were bothering at calving time and he never had a gun, tho’ he’d act like he was shooting one and went so far as to pick up a stick and act like it was a rifle.. they would just stay back, hoping to get to a ow while she was down and calving…I seldom shoot at anything, but evidently I have witnesses to my skills and they are passing the info on! πŸ™‚

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