October 12, 2005
I came down the driveway to see some turkeys eating out in the soybean field. As I get closer I notice what seems to be a coyote sitting in the road watching the turkeys. We know there are coyotes around --we hear them at night all the time-- they make a sort of high pitched ‘yip’ and it gets all the dogs in the neighborhood barking and howling with them. So we know they’re around but you just don’t see one very often. And when you do see them they are on the run somewhere else.
So to see this coyote sitting in the road watching the turkeys is unusual in itself, but then this critter just trots off to the tree line and stands there looking at me! It’s about the size of a large dog; maybe German Shepard size. I stopped the car and watched him for a good 30 seconds before he finally walked into the woods.
Later this day I’m getting that same field of soybeans combined. As I ride in the combine we see this coyote standing at the edge of the field just watching the combine go by. We probably get within about 40-50 feet of it before it walks into the cornfield. But every time we come back around it’s standing or laying there watching us. It doesn’t look sick or injured. In fact it looks to be in very good shape. Just not running away like a good coyote is supposed to!
When I go to town later I take the camera with me and it’s still just laying there. Preston and I spent several minutes taking pictures and I gotta tell you it was very freaky walking toward him to take these pictures! It eventually trotted away and I haven’t seen it since… very unusual!
I stopped at the local DNR office to ask about this and they said it’s becoming more common in urban areas for coyotes to become accustomed to people. And it seems to be a learned behavior that an entire coyote family will learn. They have documentation that show the animals following specific patterns; not afraid of people and being seen in the daytime to hanging around populated areas to killing family pets and threatening joggers and bikers. The recommendation from the DNR was to kill it – or at the very least scare it away before it starts hanging around the farmyard snatching chickens or cats.
Given that this animal was photographed half a mile from our house I think measures should be taken. I’m not a hunter as you all know, and I sure think it was pretty cool to see this animal, but at the risk of our kids I don’t want it hanging around the house.
I hope it has moved on to more unpopulated areas. Like the flood control reservoir area in Haverhill Township.
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