Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Cate and the Coyote
Two or three times a week, I run Cate in the woods along a creek that wends through a park near my home. I can't carry a gun, of course, but the woods are full of fox squirrels, and Cate is starting to tree. We're violating the local leash law, but no else walks in the woods. There are no trails there - other than old game trails - and real woods, with briars and deadfalls, are just too untidy for most suburbanites. They stick to the paved trails that run through open, mowed areas of the park.
A large male coyote lives along the creek. We see him on nearly every outing. On cool days, we'll sometimes find him lazing in the sun along the edge of the woods. As far as I know, he causes no trouble. The first time Cate encountered him, back in early October, she weighed all of 18 pounds. But in her currish little mind, this was something to be chased, caught, and whipped to a frazzle. She took off after the coyote, baying bloody murder. The coyote loped away, probably wondering about this crazy little blond dog. Nowadays, after a few scoldings, Cate pays the coyote little attention. Usually, he stops and watches us at a distance, obviously waiting for us to pass so that he can go on about his business.
Unfortunately, he terrifies folks who walk their small dogs through the park, even though he never bothers anyone. Someone has complained to the local animal control people. Lately, I've been finding wire snares along the game trails. I suppose I ought to start packing wire cutters in case Cate runs into a noose.
Of course no one worries that dogs might get caught in these snares. After all, no one actually goes into the woods. There are wild animals in there.
I wonder. Just how tame do our woods have to be to satisfy safety-obsessed suburbanites? Can we not tolerate one beleaguered coyote?