Elsa and I head out to the park this morning; it's our favorite park where we meet a lot of friends. She hasn't had a lot of exercise recently with her mouth thing so she needed to stretch her legs. But...lately we've been dealing with coyotes at the park; or at least the threat of coyotes. They've always been here, since we moved to SoCal we have seen them around different areas often. But these guys are coming into the park in the daytime and coming close, too close. So I'm armed.
I have a new BIG gel pepper spray and rocks. It's a funny thing when people first start talking about what to do about the coyotes. "We don't want to hurt them," says everyone, including me. I truly don't want to hurt them; I love wildlife and think they deserve to be here as much as we do. That is as long as they don't bother us; and we won't bother them, right?
Then I got to thinking. These coyotes have moved in and are having kids. The pack is growing and will eventually branch off to make another and another. There are definitely more coyotes around. Several people have been chased right across the park by a coyote following close behind. Not cool. Very unnerving. Obviously the ones being chased have had small, old or slow dogs; something a coyote might consider a meal. I know several people who have had their dogs taken or seriously injured by coyotes. And I can't imagine how many cats they've gotten; but the number of "missing cat" signs around is telling.
I'm not too worried about Elsa; she comes across as strong and agile, not an easy mark. But that still does not mean that I'm cool with a coyote coming up to us. They are losing their fear of people so I think we need to instill it back again. Like they do with bears that wander into neighborhoods; they set the Karelian bear dogs after them to let them know that they should not come into the area.
If a coyote is coming to eat my dog then yep, he's going to get hurt. If they are getting too curious, then yep, time for a little pain. If the coyotes are becoming a problem; it is because nothing bad has happened to them. They may have taken down many cats and some dogs in the area so it's a good hunting territory. Hanging out at the park is great because it's safe. So I think they need a little scare.
These guys need to learn that the park is ours. We do not appreciate having to look over our shoulder every time we round a corner. A coyote with no fear of humans is a danger to us and themselves. They need to be afraid and they need to stay away from populated areas. The area I live in is surrounded by canyons and open space; loads of great places for coyotes to live and hunt. There are literally thousands of rabbits for them to eat.
The first coyote I saw up close and personal was actually a gift. I was shooting a couple of beautiful Kuvasz and looking for an intense look on their face for a magazine cover shot. As the owner and I worked on getting "the look" a coyote appeared over the hill. I immediately got the shot and the owner unhooked her older dog for a chase. He went over the hill after the coyote and returned shortly. He'd done his job and run the coyote off. It was a cool moment of seeing wildlife and these amazing dogs in action.
As far as being in our park, not so much.