Coyote encounter

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No coyotes in this picture. This is an older picture of the Ratties hunting in the ‘dobies.

Took my crew out for a long walk out in the ‘dobies Thanksgiving morning and encountered several coyotes. I’ve only walked the crew in this particular area one other time, as it is less used with more trees, so new territory for us to explore with less chance of hearing and seeing dirt bikes. So far, I have never encountered any coyotes where I have walked for the many years that we’ve hiked this area but have occasionally seen coyote scat. So I wasn’t really expecting to see any in the area, especially not during the day. But as the crew ran up a steep hill to chase a bunny, I saw two of them a distance off. They were in a different area, so the dogs didn’t see them. They ran off away from us, thankfully, so I wasn’t too worried. But I was a bit more alert to possible coyotes. As I was at the end of the valley and had only hills to climb, I turned around and started heading back. The dogs were on one side of the small valley I was walking in, but ahead of me and hidden by a small cone-shaped hill that was in front and to the right of me. I couldn’t see any of the dogs except for Tucker and Sage, as they were at my heels. I heard Colt and Em start barking and I knew it wasn’t a bunny, as that is a totally different sound. That’s more of an excited, desperate, “he’s getting away!” whine/yelp. No, this was a bark. Lots of serious barks. I knew they had most likely scared up a coyote so I told Tucker and Sage to go. Sage took off, but Tucker didn’t do much of anything. (Interesting to note that if it had been a bunny, he would have run to catch up to them.) I started climbing up to go around the hill but realized that they were going down into the flat area, so I ran down, hollering at them and Tucker. Then I saw a full grown coyote running away from a bunch of angry bees, er Ratties, tail tucked and trying to make himself as small as possible. He would kind of try to defend himself, but was more focused on running than fighting. They were across a small arroyo so I couldn’t really get to them them easily without jumping down and clambering up the other edge. My hollering and screaming didn’t do much to dissuade them from chasing their prey, but they finally broke off and let him go when they reached the other side of the small valley and he started climbing up the hills there. Chance came half way back to me and started his coyote howl. Needless to say, they were pretty proud of themselves! I had no camera, so unfortunately no pictures. Not that I think I would have been able to think of getting a picture right then, as I was pretty concerned with my dogs being coyote snacks, and it happened so quickly. And I didn’t have my gun. That won’t happen again, at least not the gun part.

I don’t know what in the world Tucker was thinking, as he was still on the original side when the Ratties broke off, looking confused and unsure of himself. He doesn’t do well without direction, and with his “mom,” me, freaking out, that didn’t help. He came slinking over to me when I asked him what the heck. But those Ratties and Sage, they were going to eat that bad boy alive. If I didn’t have so darn many dogs, I would seriously consider bringing on another dog that would help me protect my Ratties. Tucker is just too sensitive and unsure of himself.  The Ratties and Sage are much more self-confidant. They are definitely hunters, even if the game is many times their size. They are gutsy for sure.  It worries me that now they think they are bigger and badder than a coyote, and if they are out in the fields alone hunting behind our house like they so love to do, a coyote is going to slip up and get them and they will learn their mistake too late. For now I’m just glad it turned out ok, no wounds or dead dogs. But I do need to figure out something to keep my kids safe at home too.

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