The Coyote and The Buffalo, by Walkaboutlou

Hello Janet!

Somewhere in times past I saw this pic somewhere on internet in regards the true nature of coyote among cattle. I kept it because it was so true. I’ve seen this many times. Coyote enjoy how cattle stir up rodents/grasshoppers etc for a snack.

I wanted to share a development witnessed by a rancher who has switched to bison. They range an enormous area now and are the core group that hopefully turn into large herds.

This area was where Bad Leg aka Gimpy went when he was ousted from his old territory. He has done well. Even white faced, old and limping, he has a loyal mate and has been raising a litter this year. The rancher has really enjoyed watching this ancient male defy the odds and still be a Pack leader. He also enjoys coyote because…they are no threat to his bison.

He has seen Bad Leg hunting, walking and napping all summer among the bison herd. And rolling in bison chips.

However, a true danger approached Bad Leg one day.

2 Anatolian LGD roamed onto the ranch. Sometimes in the growing territorial integrity they have, they seek more places. And they also seek predators. Likely the scent of Bad Leg and his family was discovered. And silently walking around, they found Bad Leg literally napping.

According to the rancher, Bad Leg’s mate actually raised the alarm, barking and calling frantically. Bad Leg awoke, and rallied. The pups were further away in a rendezvous, but the danger to his pack was real. These dogs can and do hunt down and decimate/scatter coyote.

Bad Leg’s mate seemed to make a run for the pups to lead them away. (they were later found a few miles away resting safe)

Bad Leg limped toward the 2 massive Anatolian, barking and challenging the giant dogs. The rancher yelled to no avail. He was too far to be effective.

But the bison were there. And responded. Likely the dogs annoyed them and stirred them in anger and defensive mode. Also, these bison have met and rebuffed wolves. They know the drill.

In addition, the rut is starting in bison. The males are surging with testosterone. And looking for a fight.

2 bulls came alive and charged the dogs. And Bad Leg stepped gladly aside. The rancher saw the Anatolian dodging and running while the bulls and whole group of 25 chased the dogs. Bad Leg ran behind the herd, barking and yipping the whole time down a valley. Then he swerved up a hill, his panting, white face alight in victory.

A bison herd can not only stomp up the mice. They can be great allies for an old, tired coyote.

Bad Leg triumphs again. Surely, there is magic in an old, surviving coyote. To Bad Leg. May the white fur on your face see many more days and moons.


Hi Janet, I have heard, and believe, that coyote and bison instinctively just meld. They have been coexisting untold thousands of years. All their behaviors and “vibes” meld naturally.

Incidentally, the rancher has reported a vast increase in wildlife since he removed sheep, created more acres of native grasses, and allowed the bison to range. Deer have increased. The ponds have deepened with wallowing-and frogs, fish and turtles have appeared where he never saw them. Elk are seen resting with calves near the bison. Wolves have visited, but quickly seem to leave. It seems bison are not in the menu, and often escort any large canine off quickly. White Faced Bad Leg, and other coyote, and finding such transformation welcoming. Bison create a very vibrant grassland ecosystem. The coyote find wonderful territory where buffalo range. There is over 5,000 acres here that will be range for growing, free ranging herds. Coyote heaven.

©linaizzie: the buffalo and coyote

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Aug 17, 2020 @ 12:30:37

    The illustration was done for a Native American story about how coyote sets free all the buffalo to run across the earth.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Aug 17, 2020 @ 16:49:54

      Thank you, Jo! I love the illustration and the story that inspired it: they capture “essences”, as does this story by Walkaboutlou. These two species indeed live in a mutually beneficial relationship: symbiosis. :))

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