Thursday, April 20, 2006

Oh No, She's Coyote Blogging Again

I haven’t coyote blogged for some time now. Maybe now is the time, maybe not. But here goes anyway.

Coyotes are now found all over the country and thrive in suburban and even urban areas. Washington, D.C. was the last major urban holdout. Not any longer. Coyotes are now found in Rock Creek Park and other areas according to a recent Washington Post article and photo spread (a big hat tip to Zendo Deb at TFS Magnum).

Coyotes are predators. In time, they begin to think of humans as food; after all, most of us don't threaten them. Some of us even feed them on purpose or accidentally (when they eat our trash or dog food we leave out). Coyotes are not big animals and will rarely attack an adult, but might view a pet or occasionally a child as dinner.

The article mentions that coyotes circled a suburban town's police chief and his small children while they were enjoying a walk. The coyotes didn’t attack in this case, but one wonders what would happen if there had only been two children walking home from school (if people still do that anymore).

The reporter interviewed a woman who feels threatened by her neighborhood coyotes, “…we're like hostages! We bought here for the walking paths. Well, how am I going to deal with a coyote on the path when I'm out there with an infant in a stroller, a toddler and a dog on a leash?"

Good question. If a predator attacks you there is only one choice, fight. You can’t outrun them, it’s too late to try to scare them (they’re attacking now), you could call 911 on your cell phone and wait until police officers show up (I hope you can wrestle well). Fighting is your only choice and I’d rather fight with a gun than a stick, umbrella, rock, or bare hands. But, we’re too “civilized” to carry guns for self-defense now.

I’m not advocating killing off coyotes—for one thing it’s a fool’s errand. Coyotes adapt to hunting pressure by increasing their population. We share the land and nature needs predators for balance. On the other hand, killing a predator in self-defense is not killing one out of hand. Humans created tools to become equal to predators and eventually our tools got good enough that we rose to the top of the food chain. The best tool for that purpose is a gun.

We need to learn to live with our wild neighbors. They’re not going away, but let’s not be naïve about protecting ourselves, our children, and even our pets from a direct attack. There’s nothing wrong with self-defense and the tools needed to carry it out.

And, I always add that predators come in two-legged models as well.

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