It was around 10 O’clock at night when we first heard what sounded like kids screaming in the wetlands behind our house. Intrigued, and knowing that couldn’t be the case, I managed to capture the sound on my phone and compared it to animal sounds on Youtube. As I suspected, the screams were not from kids, but rather a small pack of coyotes, probably four or five in size. Having lived in Falcon, Colorado since 2002, this was the first time we had ever heard coyotes. We did have a fox living in the area that would scream on occasion, but for the most part, the only animals in the area were rabbits, bullfrogs, and the seasonal ducks and geese.
While kind of cool, coyotes do present a problem, more so than balls of rabbit poop in the yard. Especially to household pets who mysteriously disappear in the night. And while somewhat rare, even adults and children have been attacked by coyotes, but I’m not too concerned about that. What I am concerned about is our beloved cattle dog. We have a rather large 1/2 acre backyard surrounded by a split-rail fence with chicken wire to keep her from getting out (and to a lesser extent, keep the kids in), but that can be easily circumvented by a determined and hungry pack of coyotes.
This begs the question: What can I do? The last thing I want to do is freak my kids out so they don’t want to play outside. It’s hard enough to drag them away from the Xbox (Mindcraft in particular, AKA: Mindcrack) so the last thing I need is for them to throw down the coyote excuse as a reason to stay inside. The dog needs to run outside otherwise every piece of furniture will turn into her chew toy.
My first idea was to wander into the backyard and make a ton of noise in the hopes of scaring them off. However, after doing so under a full moon, the slow walk back inside suddenly turned into a sprint as I conjured the mental imagery of a Stephen King book cover depicting a dark silhouette (me) being chased by a pack of blood thirty coyotes.
So, the next time I went heavily armed, but then I read I can be fined and even jailed for shooting a coyote unless provoked, and I’m certainly not looking to provoke a fight. It seems as though the coyote has diplomatic immunity of sorts in El Paso County, unless you happen to be a rancher who can shoot them on site, which I’m not.
Animal control isn’t an option, because there is no such thing outside city limits. There is the Department of Wildlife, but they won’t do anything until someone has been attacked. They won’t even respond for missing pets suspected of being killed by wild animals.
I think I’ll lay low for awhile and just keep an eye on things. It’s kind of cool hearing the coyote victory cry on a rabbit kill, and the neighborhood is much quieter in the evenings. Let’s just hope it’s because responsible pet owners are keeping their dogs inside at night, and not that they’ve gone missing.
UPDATE: I haven’t heard the Coyotes for about two weeks. I suspect they may have exhausted their food source and moved on to more bountiful lands.