Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The other night my sleep was disturbed by the ferocious barking of the outside dog we got when we purchased our new home. I went to fuss at her to be quiet only to notice that, off in the distance, I could hear the mournful howls and yips of a coyote pack. The dog – Sidney – came with our house when we moved in. She’s a sweet girl and we couldn’t stand the thought of sending her to the pound, so she’s stayed. The same way we couldn’t stand the thought of sending her away, I couldn’t bring myself to quarrel at her for trying to keep the home safe from coyotes.
Before moving to the new house we lost two cats, and had a third injured, most likely we thought due to coyote attacks. When I was a youngster playing in the woods of Greenup County we never even thought of coyotes. But now it seems like they are everywhere.
I had one run down the road in front of me while heading home after dark a few weeks ago, not far from my house.
Monday night they were the closest I have ever heard them.
When I went to see what all the fuss was about with Sidney, I opened the door to hear yips that sounded like they were right in the backyard. They were probably as close as my garden plot, right on the edge of the woods at the far back of our yard, based on what I was hearing. They also sounded like they might have been in the woods downhill, off to the right, and uphill, to the left of the backyard.
Luckily the cats were already all in, but the coyotes sounded like they were close enough – and it sounded like there were enough of them – that I worried for Sidney. So, I went and got my deer rifle and placed it on the kitchen table, just in case they got bold enough to come for the big dog while I was still awake.
We made it through the night without incident, but the closeness of the critters has me feeling like I should be doing something.
I’ve heard hunting them down doesn’t actually do any good, though, as far as helping regulate their numbers. They’ll just redouble their breeding efforts and increase their numbers to match the available food supply, which we already know includes pets. Or at least that’s what the internet says.
Still it’s hard to sit by and do nothing when the coyotes are quite literally right in your backyard. Not quite the proverbial wolf at the door, but as close as we’re likely to experience. It’s hard to turn off that emotional reaction and follow the reason and facts that say not engaging is the best course of action. It’s hard, but it’s what I’m going to try to do, at least until I have to do otherwise.
Jeremy D Wells can be reached at