You might have a similar reaction to mine, a soft chuckle and… come-on, really, a coyote? I visited my cousin a few weeks back, as we walked the property behind their house she mentioned the coyotes being aggressive, running towards them barking, acting aggressive when they ride horses through, etc. I acknowledged her but inwardly I was very doubtful and even dismissed the idea for something more realistic in my mind, such as a female coyote trying to bait a domestic dog into the pack. We have all heard of and or seen this happen.
However, a few days later I was reading through the IDFG news and what did I see? Headline news of a coyote attacking a skier in northern Idaho! Huh!? I laughed to myself and decided to search further and you guessed it…coyote attacks are legit and happening more and more on humans.
There are a pile of reasons, many people point towards rabid animals when they attack humans but research would argue this in regards to coyotes. The attacks are more likely a result of over interaction with humans and lack of management through hunting and trapping. Which results in less fear from the coyote towards humans. And sadly enough the first recorded (adult) human fatality, from a pack of coyotes was back in 2009 in Cape Brenton Highlands National Park, Canada.
Wow! A fatality from a pack of coyotes attacking is unthinkable for many of us. Investigation into this incident pointed towards coyotes adapting to hunt larger prey due to a lack of small game available. They even concluded that coyotes were effectively hunting and killing moose in this region! That is hard to imagine, but in recent years I have seen video of large groups of eagles killing mature elk in Montana, it is safe to assume there is power in numbers and that was the conclusion for the Cape Brenton victim.
Now let’s be real, none of us should walk around in fear of our lives due to coyotes attacking here and there. It is very rare and highly unlikely to happen. However, the skiers in north Idaho or the mother in Alta, Idaho who was bitten in her own front yard, likely have a different outlook. Nonetheless, we have a God given instinct to look out for our own. Using common sense, being watchful and continuing doing what we already do…managing predators. Will all prove to keep us sportsmen and sportswomen at the top of the food chain where God himself intended us to be.
Food for thought…If these issues arise with coyotes, imagine where we will head with wolves as time passes? What are your thoughts, do you have any interesting coyote or wolf encounters to share?