Canine Chess, by Walkaboutlou

Hi Janet,

Fall continues on. And so does the canine chess on local ranches. It’s frustrating yet fascinating at same time. The ranches that don’t allow coyote hunts have some really interesting packs and dynamics. The spring pups are now foraging and moving about independent of parents. Sometimes you see them meeting other youngsters and you can tell by their excitement and inexperienced body moves they are still pups. But learning who is who and where is where. Some are too bold and vocal, in regards ranch dogs. But that will change in time.

On other ranches, the development of a new local hunt is underway. But incredibly, the local coyote are already responding with canine chess moves.

There are dogs of greyhound/staghound/deerhound/ wolfhound crosses who are being developed in packs to run down and dispatch coyote. These packs are young yet, but already proving they are good at this.

However, coyote response has been instant and shown new insights.

Coyote territorial integrity is a fluid thing. Normally highly rigid, territorial rights can vanish with certain situations.

For example, a dead deer, elk or cow will draw in many coyotes, no matter who holds the turf. The resident pair will contest, snarl, and sometimes fight and chase new arrivals. But they cannot hold entire groups off for long. All local coyote hone in on huge carcasses. Then feast over, they retreat to respective territory.

On the ranches where sighthounds are hunting, the coyote are developing strategies. They recognize a sighthound now, and even at a distance, hide. Or, they disperse and literally run for hills and woods. Open pastures and land is forfeited.

And finally, they run for the ranches where LGD live. They actually beeline for the Pyrenees/Anatolian and other livestock guard dogs. They pass the sheep and make for these huge rugged dogs. If the sighthounds cross into these lands in pursuit, the guard dogs engage them. No dog can stand before these guard dogs. And they normally are in groups of 2-5.

They scatter the sighthounds who now have to run for their life. And the coyote quickly disappears.

I don’t necessarily enjoy the dynamics of a pack of huge sighthounds closing in on a single coyote. But I and other locals are astounded by the ever changing ingenuity of these coyote. Ironically, the LGD don’t bother much with coyote. Because the coyote fear them and keep distance. In a sense, they submit to these massive powerful guards.

And apparently, they have no qualms about using LGD to ward off fast footed hunters.
Take care,

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Nov 10, 2019 @ 12:56:47

    Another amazing story of the natural world. So eloquently presented.
    Coyotes are incredible.
    Thank you for sharing the stories through your window on the world.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Nov 10, 2019 @ 13:35:30

      Hi Jo — I agree — from human entitlement and cruelty to coyote ingenuity in his struggle to survive, through one astute and caring individual’s ability to see this and convey it so well — it’s a fascinating story!

  2. MelindaH.
    Nov 10, 2019 @ 14:36:08

    Humans are endlessly cruel and psychopathic.


  3. Gail
    Nov 26, 2019 @ 04:36:00

    Sad to learn of the development of the various breed combos for the purpose of chasing down coyotes. LGDs are fine – they simply protect their herd and immediate area, but the sighthounds you describe sound like potentially problematic just like other breeds bred and trained to chase. Too often owners are not in complete control of them and they can wreak havoc.
    That said, I appreciate your post highlighting the continuously evolving ingenuity of coyotes. This reminds me of a poem I recently read. The last two lines bring it home:

    Poetry: Night Songs
    by Annette Pisano-Higley
    (Published in Adirondack Almanac)

    Night Songs

    I waken, alert,
    To the songs of the dark night,
    Hunkering shadow-shaped coyotes,
    Mimicking, throwing plaintive howls,
    Against the stark, crying vibrato
    Of sleek, red-eyed jurassic loons,
    They worship in tandem,
    Pledging love to the spectral moon,
    A timeless nocturnal duet.
    Tall conifers and sleeping mountains harken,
    Sheltering those calls, echoing, echoing,
    Magnified across still, silver water,
    Lonely sounds, proud, primitive, wild,
    Triumphant melodic affirmations of survival,
    Of life bravely continued,
    “We..are..still.. here…”, they sing,
    “After all!”


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Nov 26, 2019 @ 05:40:19

      Thank you, Gail, for accentuating the horror of these chase dogs — bred to “hunt down and kill”, and for sharing this beautifully evocative and incisive poem.

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