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Wednesday, February 6, 2013 • Posted February 8, 2013

The coyote situation has gotten completely out of hand in America. I base this statement on the headlines of three stories that have been sent to me recently by supposed readers of my column, which stories I’m considering actually reading, unless I can manage to get today’s column written just by using information gleaned from the headlines, supplemented with facts I can make up myself. A few more run-on sentences should do it.

The first headline, which comes from the online version of ‘Predator Xtreme’ magazine (motto: we don’t use unnecessary Es) is ‘Coyote sightings unsettling for some Ohio residents.’ I take this to mean a lot of urban Ohioans have been looking out their sliding glass doors and noticing coyotes hanging around on their patios, waiting for them to let their small pets loose in their backyards. And they’re unsettled.

The implication is that, if these folks weren’t seeing coyotes around, they would be settled, which is better than being unsettled. Although that point may be debatable, the fact is that the coyotes are a problem. I guess urban Ohioans don’t like nature encroaching into their lives.

Maybe, and I’m just throwing this out as a kind of ‘what if’ thing, maybe the Ohioans should do what the folks in Boulder, Colorado are doing, about the same kind of situation. Another headline from the same source as the first says ‘Coyote hazing program under way in Boulder.’ And, to be honest, I actually read that story. I was curious as to what was meant by ‘coyote hazing.’ When I read it I pictured a coyote bent over, holding its ankles, and a Boulder resident spanking it with a board, and the coyote shouting ‘Thank you sir may I have another?’ In coyotese, of course.

But that’s not what’s going on in Boulder, I’m happy to report, because it would be really weird. What’s going on there is that coyotes are being ‘retrained . . to be wary of humans by hazing them.’ The people are hazing the coyotes by blowing air horns and throwing tennis balls at them.

Now, the coyotes in Boulder are more of a problem than the ones in Ohio, because they’ve been acting aggressively toward humans, especially near the Boulder Creek Path, which is a path. Near a creek. The coyotes have been advancing toward humans, chiefly those with small pets on strings, and growling and snarling and behaving in a generally unsociable manner. In other words, aggressively.

I’m no coyote expert, but I’m thinking blowing horns and throwing tennis balls is probably not going to cause a major paradigm shift in coyote attitude, especially at lunchtime. I’m thinking throwing buckshot might be more effective. But that’s me.

The problem, as I see it, is that the Boulder folks consider themselves far too civilized to actually kill the coyotes. They want to live in harmony with nature, and be friends of the animals, and coexist, yada yada yada. But they also want nature to change its habits in order to nicely coexist with humans. Got news. Ain’t happening.

Nature does what nature was designed to do – namely survive, even if it has to kill other nature to do it. The people in Oklahoma understand this. As proof I submit a third ‘Predator Xtreme’ news story, entitled ‘2 teens hurt in failed chase of Oklahoma coyote.’

I also read this story, furrowing my brow in a concerned manner, until I got to the part that said the ‘youths were in stable condition.’ Which is not my impression of most youths, whether they’ve been hurt or not.

What happened was, these two 17-year-old boys were driving along on a recent Sunday night in a pickup, and a coyote ran across their path. Being teenaged boys, they didn’t stop and consider the pros and cons of leaving the roadway, careening across potentially dangerous terrain, and trying to run over an animal with a much sharper turning radius than their vehicle. The driver just did it. And I’m glad. If he hadn’t, my faith in the next generation of American guys would have been irreparably shattered.

Now, the story doesn’t ever, at any point, mention the gender of these two teenagers. I’m assuming they’re male because it’s unlikely two teenage girls would have driven off a road to chase a coyote down, even if it had been wearing a diamond necklace. I could be wrong, of course. After all, we’re talking about Oklahoma, here. But I’d be willing to bet that, if you check this story out, you’ll find the coyote chasers were both guys.

In their defense, the field in which the chase occurred was arable land, so there were no trees or rocks or other detriments to be expected. Nevertheless, being teenaged boys, our two protagonists managed to turn their pickup over in the field, without hitting anything. Not even a coyote.

Our conclusion, then, is that, concerning the coyote problem, the Ohioans are concerned. The Boulderians are naively proactive, but are liable to get eaten. And the Oklahomans, bless their hearts, have the right idea, but are sadly confused as to method.

All I can say is, I wonder if that pickup came from the Acme Motor Company . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who always rooted for the coyote to catch the roadrunner. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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