Coyote Watchdogs, By Walkaboutlou

Hi Janet,
I’ve shared with you how one ranch I visit has had a no hunting coyote policy for many years. This recently developed into a discovery on the ranch’s property.

The owner and patriarch of this ranch was born here. He knows literally every inch, tree, range and spot of this vast property. He knows the sounds and smells. Only very old age limits his patrols and work.

He has children and grandchildren who also help, as well as hired hands. So it’s well cared for.

I went for my monthly visit and patrol of some distant fencelines when he mentioned he hasn’t heard the coyotes for 2 weeks and felt something was wrong or going on along one area and border. He knows nature. He said this is “especially the noisy time of year for the pack, and if they aren’t hollerin, somethin’s up”.

He asked for me to be especially watchful in one area, and I’m glad he did. I approached the spot, and my dogs alerted in every way. They casted and scented, circled, growled, and looked all over.

Eventually, I found the cause. It was a poachers camp, with illegally killed deer, elk and bear meat and parts being processed. They camped literally just inside his ranch, hidden in gully that joins BLM land and forests.

There also was a “dump” where scraps were tossed. I discreetly took pics and hurried back to inform rancher and make calls to authorities. I must admit I was pretty enraged. And we had to almost hold the old rancher from literally saddling up with his favorite horse and guns.

What we determined was a group of poachers were there and by their actions disrupted the coyotes. They were moving and hunting at night, not moving like ranchers and workers. Also, the coyotes were scavenging the poachers dump but were silent due to being cautious of new humans, and or being stuffed unusually every day. And who knows, perhaps poachers tried to hunt them too. Either way, the suspicions of the rancher were raised because his normally vocal coyote neighbors suddenly went silent for a long time.

That is really tied to the land. He says he won’t feel better until he hears ‘his’ coyotes again.

(The camp was destroyed, game and snares confiscated and cameras utilized in tracking down poachers. They will soon be apprehended and charged.)

Another reason to let coyotes remain. They can tell us alot…if we listen.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail
    Dec 07, 2018 @ 15:07:29

    Thanks for sharing this! This story is especially heartening, especially in light of the fact that ranchers are too often the cause of irrational decisions to kill so many predators. Your friend sounds to be one of the more rare but highly-esteemed “Predator Friendly Ranchers”. Too, it’s great you were there to document the carnage and get law enforcement to end the problem.


  2. Kathy Lally
    Dec 07, 2018 @ 18:04:52

    Hope the lawbreakers are caught soon and dealt with.


  3. Linda Potter
    Dec 08, 2018 @ 00:03:17

    I love the last sentence… “Another reason to let coyotes remain. They can tell us a lot…if we listen.”


  4. Cindie White
    Dec 10, 2018 @ 06:59:58

    Beautiful and heartbreaking story. Thank you so much for sharing. So grateful to have another deeper, intimate look into the lives of coyotes. I feel closer to them when I can witness their lives and hope it somehow personally validates them to be seen, loved, helped and respected by Lou, the rancher, and the readers (me!).


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